College Bowl Predictions for Cotton Bowl: Texas A&M vs. LSU

Doc Moseman@DocsSportsCorrespondent IJanuary 6, 2011

AUSTIN, TX - NOVEMBER 25:  Quarterback Ryan Tannehill #17 of Texas A&M during the game against University of Texas in the first half at Darrell K. Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium on November 25, 2010 in Austin, Texas. (Photo by Darren Carroll/Getty Images)
Darren Carroll/Getty Images

The Cotton Bowl isn’t a BCS game, but it is played after all but one of them, and the match-up of Texas A&M (9-3) and LSU (10-2) is more interesting and exciting than a couple of games that are in the BCS.

It takes place at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas on Friday, Jan. 7 at 8 p.m. EST.

Neither of these teams are a stranger to this game—The Aggies are playing for the 12th time, and the Tigers for their fifth. The teams haven’t played each other since 1995, but the Aggies have a five-game winning streak going in head-to-head action.

Both of these teams probably feel at least a little bit frustrated to be here.

Texas A&M tied for first place in their division, but they missed out on the conference championship game due to tie-breaking rules.

LSU had a good look at an at-large bid, but they blew it by losing to Arkansas in the season finale.

Of the two the Aggies might find it easier to get up for the game—it’s a virtual home game for them since fans only have to travel three hours form College Station to get to the game.

Baton Rouge is more than twice as far away.

The story for the Aggies this year was supposed to be all about QB Jarrod Johnson, the explosive talent that came into the season with some Heisman Trophy buzz.

It really didn’t work out that way.

Johnson struggled early, and he was benched after a 3-3 start in favor of Ryan Tannehill, the backup QB that had been playing receiver—and playing it well—while waiting for his chance.

Tannehill was very impressive down the stretch, and combined with running back Cyrus Gray—a running back that got a chance to start thanks to injuries and finished the season with six straight 100-yard games—he piloted a very nice offense.

Tannehill will have to keep his eyes open wide, though—he’ll be throwing at LSU corner Patrick Patterson, the best corner in the country, many times during the game.

The Aggies have their own star on defense -- Von Miller was named the top linebacker in the country. The Tigers will have to work hard to make some progress against the Aggies’ defense, and it won’t be easy for them as LSU has just the 107th-ranked passing game in the country, and are 92nd best in total offense. If LSU is going to win this game they are going to do it thanks to a stellar defense, not because of their offense.


Cotton Bowl Odds

LSU is favored by a single point, according to college football spreads. The game started as a ‘pick ‘em,’ but nearly three-quarters of bets have been placed on the Tigers, so the moves make sense. The total opened at 49 and has been static.


Texas A&M vs. LSU Betting Trends

The Aggies have gone ‘under’ in four of their last five bowl games, and four of their last five against the SEC. LSU has gone ‘under’ in eight of their last 11 overall.

The Aggies have covered their last six games, but are just 1-4 ATS in their last five nonconference games.

LSU is 1-4 ATS in their last five games as favorites, and have the same record in their last five non-conference games.


Cotton Bowl Predictions and College Football Picks

They say that defense wins championships, and the Tigers have a defensive edge here. I’m going with the Aggies, though.

I have very little respect for the Tigers on offense, and I think that Texas A&M will be able to score enough points that LSU won’t be able to keep the pace. I also don’t really trust Les Miles and his ability to keep this team on task right now.