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2011 Bowl Predictions: Who Has the Edge in Kansas State-Arkansas Cotton Bowl?

STILLWATER, OK - NOVEMBER 5:  Quarterback Collin Klein #7 of the Kansas State Wildcats looks to throw in the second 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
Johnathan CaceCorrespondent IDecember 13, 2011

In what is widely considered to be the best non-BCS bowl game this season, No. 8 Kansas State will take on No. 6 Arkansas in the Cotton Bowl.

Tickets for this game are through the roof and it should be one of the most hotly contested matchups in the bowl season.

So who has the advantage in this game? If you ask Vegas, Arkansas by a hefty margin.

The Razorbacks started as an 8.5-point favorite, but the line has since dropped to 7.5. They have the most explosive offense in a ridiculously competitive SEC and their only losses are to the two teams playing for the National Championship.

Tyler Wilson has been one of the best quarterbacks in the league and is surrounded by a bunch of future NFL players like Cobi Hamilton, Jarius Wright and Joe Adams who is a punt-return machine.

But the program for the team all season has been stopping the run. The return of Jake Bequette at defensive end was supposed to help, but he is more of a pass rusher, registering seven sacks in the past six games.

Kansas State has made a living out of running the ball this season which poses a serious problem for Arkansas. They rank 29th in rushing yards per game and most of it comes through quarterback Colin Klein who has been absolutely sensational in his first year at quarterback, averaging just under 100 yards per game on the ground.

The Wildcats have also made a habit of winning close games, having eight of their 10 wins come by seven or less points. The problem for them has been play on both sides of the line with regard to the pass rush.

Teams are sacking Klein three times per game while State is only getting 1.5 sacks per game on the opponent. Luckily for them, Arkansas has only been average at defending and rushing the quarterback.

Their defense hasn’t been particularly good this year either, but makes up for it in turnovers, forcing 26 on the year.

This game has all the makings of a close game because each team’s strength seems to be the other’s weakness. And if that is the case, the advantage in this game has to go to Kansas State because of their record in close games.

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