The No.10 LSU Tigers were a win away at the end of the season from playing in a BCS Bowl game. But after the loss to Arkansas in the final week of the regular season, perhaps the Tigers and head coach Les Miles can take solace in the fact that they get the stage to themselves on Friday night in the Cotton Bowl against a No.17 Texas A&M Team hungry to prove themselves against the SEC conference.
LSU (10-2) played in arguably the toughest division in all of College Football this season in the SEC West, as evidence by Auburn in the National Title game and Arkansas in the Sugar Bowl, not to mention Alabama also playing on New Year’s day and waxing the floor with a one-loss Michigan State team. The Tigers lost to Auburn and LSU this season, though both contests could really have gone either way.
“We are very excited about going to Dallas for the AT&T Cotton Bowl Classic,” said LSU Athletic Director Joe Alleva by way of LSU’s official website. “Once it looked like we were out of the running for a BCS bowl game, we turned our attention to Dallas and getting into the Cotton Bowl.”
“This is the bowl that our players and coaches wanted to play in.”
The Tigers haven’t played in the Cotton Bowl since back in 2003, losing to the Texas Longhorns. All-time LSU sports a 2-1-1 Cotton Bowl record.
“The atmosphere is no different than if you were playing in the national championship game. … Texas A&M has an outstanding program and we are looking forward to renewing our long-standing rivalry with them,” LSU head coach Les Miles said.
On the other side of the ball the Aggies (9-3) tied for first in the Big XII South Division but missed out on the conference championship game by virtue of their BCS Standing, thus send Oklahoma to the game.
Texas A&M closed out the regular season as winner’s of six-straight.
“We have played one of the toughest schedules in the country and it is appropriate we will face a great challenge from a quality LSU program,” Aggies’ Athletics Director Bill Byrne. “It should make for one of the best matchups in the bowl season.”
Ryan Tennehill came in an replaced Jerod Taylor halfway through the season, and completed 65 percent of his passes for 1,409 yards and 11 touchdowns to just three interceptions. Running back Cyrus Gray has stormed onto the scene as well after replacing Christine Michael who was out with a broken leg.
Gray ran for 100 yards or more in each of the final six games during the win-streak, including a 223-yard performance against Texas in the final game of the year.
The Aggies will get a challenge up against the Tiger defense though, which ranks eighth in the nation in total defense and ninth in scoring defense. They are anchored by defensive back Patrick Peterson, who won the Chuck Bednardik award as the nation’s most outstanding defensive player.
LSU is appearing in their 11th Bowl Game in a row, and are 21-19-1 overall.
College Football betting odds have set LSU as a two-point favorite over Texas A&M in this Cotton Bowl match up, with the over/under set at 49 points on most online sportsbooks. The Tigers are 5-7 ATS this season while the Aggies are 8-4 ATS.
Texas A&M is 6-0 ATS in their last six games overall. LSU comes in at 4-1 ATS in their last four games representing the Southeastern conference. The Aggies have had trouble against the spread versus the SEC, as they are 0-5-1 ATS in their last six against the conference.