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College Football Bowl Projections: Cotton Bowl

Texas A&M, which officially accepted a bid on Tuesday evening, will wait to see which SEC team it will play in the 75th Cotton Bowl Classic Jan. 7 in Dallas.
Texas A&M, which officially accepted a bid on Tuesday evening, will wait to see which SEC team it will play in the 75th Cotton Bowl Classic Jan. 7 in Dallas.Darren Carroll/Getty Images
Ryan FallerAnalyst IDecember 1, 2010

Consider one-half of the AT&T Cotton Bowl Classic equation solved.

Because the Dallas Morning News told us early Wednesday morning, we know that Texas A&M has accepted a bid to fill the Big 12’s slot in the 75th anniversary of the game.

But, who will join the Aggies in prime time at Cowboys Stadium on January 7?

With Auburn and Arkansas likely headed to the BCS National Championship and Sugar Bowl, respectively, LSU and Alabama appear to be the most likely choices.

Those of us with at least half a brain know that bowl scenarios, outside of the BCS title game, are constructed with conference tie-ins and money in mind and not much else.

That being said, the Cotton Bowl may not have a choice when it comes time to select an SEC member, since its selection it appears will be the team that is not chosen by the Capital One Bowl, which is higher in the SEC bowl pecking order.

For the sake of mitigating (or igniting) debate, let’s assume the Capital One Bowl decides on the defending national champions. Besides the regional significance of a game between two teams from neighboring states, a matchup between LSU and Texas A&M would renew a rivalry that has been fueled by 49 meetings, with the sides last facing each other in 1995.

In addition to the game’s annual pomp and pageantry, not to mention its favorable TV slot and national audience via FOX, intriguing storylines abound.

LSU’s ultra-athletic defense against the understated proficiency of A&M quarterback Ryan Tannehill and running back Cyrus Gray. For that matter, who wouldn’t pay to see the tussle between Aggie receiver Jeff Fuller and Tiger cornerback Patrick Peterson, two sure-fire early-round selections in next year’s draft? Jordan Jefferson utilizing his arm and legs against coordinator Tim DeRuyter and his retooled A&M 3-4 defense.

And then there’s Mike Sherman and Les Miles, two men who have spent a good portion of the 2010 season getting raked over the coals, only to rise from the ashes to lead their respective teams to wildly successful seasons and a premiere bowl game.

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