The 10-2 LSU Tigers will stage their 50th meeting with 9-3 Texas A&M Aggies in the 75th Cotton Bowl at the 92,000-seat Cotton Bowl Stadium in Dallas on Friday, January 7th. Fox will broadcast the game beginning at 8 p.m. ET.
Both of these teams outperformed the computer's preseason forecast. CollegeFootballPoll.com's Congrove Computer Rankings (a.k.a. CCR Top 120) projected LSU to finish 7-5 overall, 4-4 in the SEC West, but the Tigers won 10 games overall and 6 in the conference. The Aggies, meanwhile, were forecasted to go 5-7 overall and 2-6 in the conference. Instead, Texas A&M won 9 games and went 6-2 in the division to tie Oklahoma and Oklahoma State in the Big 12 South.
Now the Aggies will try to do something that they've only accomplished once since 1997 - win a bowl game. Texas&M has lost four straight and is 1-8 since 1997. In fact, the Aggies are a lowly 2-11 in bowl games going back to 1991. Prior to that, they were 11-7. Mike Sherman will be coaching in just his second bowl game after losing 44-20 in last year's contest with Georgia in the Independence Bowl.
LSU has had much better success, going 10-3 since 1995. Last year's loss to Penn State in the Capital One Bowl snapped a 4-bowl winning streak for the Tigers. Les Miles is 5-3 in bowl game appearances with Oklahoma State (1-2) and LSU (4-1).
Texas A&M brings a six-game winning streak to Dallas, including victories over both of the Big 12 Championship game participants, Nebraska and Oklahoma. The Aggies opened the year with three wins over a weak nonconference group that featured Stephen F. Austin (FCS), Louisiana Tech and FIU. Three consecutive losses followed to Oklahoma State, Arkansas and Missouri. The Aggies have had just one other 9-win season (2006) in the last 12 years.
LSU won its first seven games before falling 24-17 at Auburn. The Bayou Bengals bounced right back to down Alabama in their very next game and didn't drop another contest until the season finale against Arkansas in Little Rock. It is LSU's first double-digit win season since 2007.
LSU holds a 26-20-3 advantage in the series which is being renewed for the first time since 1995. The Aggies won five consecutive games over the Tigers from 1991-1995.
In the past, these teams often opened the season against each other. They did so annually from 1992-1995, 1986-1989, 1968-1970 and 1962-1965.
This is the first meeting between LSU and Texas A&M in a bowl game since the 1944 Orange Bowl which was won 19-14 by the Tigers.
LSU is 2-1-1 in previous Cotton Bowl appearances, the first of which was a scoreless tie with Arkansas to end the 1946 season and the last of which resulted in a 30-20 loss to Texas at the end of the 2002 season.
Texas A&M has made 11 previous appearances in this game, compiling a 4-7 record that includes 5 straight losses. The last win for the Aggies in the Cotton Bowl came at the end of the 1987 season when they pounded Notre Dame 35-10 to conclude a 10-2 season under Jackie Sherrill.
The computer favors LSU by 2.42 points in this contest. It is 9-3 in forecasting the winner of LSU games this season and 77-17 since 2003. It is 9-3 straight up with A&M this year and 72-22 over the last eight seasons. The computer has rarely done well against the spread with the Aggies and is 40-50 since 2003 with four consecutive losing seasons, including a 2-9 record this year. It is 5-6 ATS with LSU this season. (Such information is tracked for the sole purpose of recording the computer's accuracy in picking games and ranking teams. It is not intended for gambling purposes).