Cotton Bowl 2012: Is Arkansas or Kansas State Closer to a BCS Next Season?

Johnathan CaceCorrespondent IJanuary 5, 2012

STILLWATER, OK - NOVEMBER 5:  Quarterback Collin Klein #7 of the Kansas State Wildcats scrambles in the first half against the Oklahoma State Cowboys on November 5, 2011 at Boone Pickens Stadium in Stillwater, Oklahoma.  Oklahoma State defeated Kansas State 52-45.  (Photo by Brett Deering/Getty Images)
Brett Deering/Getty Images

After a sloppy Sugar Bowl and a blowout in the Orange Bowl, college football fans everywhere are anxious to see some quality football in the Cotton Bowl between Arkansas and Kansas State.

Both teams are ranked in the Top 10 and the teams match up well with each other.

But obviously the goal for 2012 won’t be to return to the Cotton Bowl, both teams will be shooting for the BCS. So who is better prepared to get there?

Almost without question it should be Kansas State.

The Wildcats were the biggest surprise team of the 2011 season and got to the Cotton Bowl because they were able to win close games. The team will lose three offensive linemen and five defenders, but the real playmaker, quarterback Colin Klein, will be sticking around.

In the Big 12 where everyone passes, Klein has thrived on being a dual-threat and all of the skill players surrounding him will be returning. He should continue to tear up opposing defenses next season.

The defense could certainly use some work, but it has been made abundantly clear this year that defense is far from the most important thing when it comes to the BCS Bowls.

Arkansas will be returning the same amount of talent as well as running back Knile Davis which will certainly be a boost offensively, but the defensive playmakers for the Hogs will all be gone.

Jake Bequette, Jerry Franklin and Tramain Thomas will all graduate at the end of this year and the defense with them was nothing spectacular.

In order to be successful in the SEC, you need to have a good defense and while the Razorbacks have a favorable home schedule with Alabama and LSU, they don’t appear to have enough on defense to make it to a BCS game over the Tigers, Tide, Georgia or even a team like South Carolina or possibly Auburn.

If Arkansas were playing in the Big 12, this would be another story, but based on the playmakers coming back for both teams and the state of their respective conferences, Kansas State is more likely to be playing in the BCS next January.