The Razorbacks are 3-7-1 all-time in Cotton Bowl games and will tie Texas A&M with the second-most appearances at the Classic with 12. The Hogs last matchup at the Classic came in the 2007 season, a crushing 38-7 loss to Missouri.
"From top to bottom, the SEC and Big 12 are arguably the two best football conferences in the country," Fin Ewing, AT&T Cotton Bowl Team Selection Chairman said. "The 2012 Classic should garner some significant attention since it’s the only bowl matchup between the Big 12 and SEC."
Kansas State, 10-2 and 7-2 in the Big 12, is led by legendary coach Bill Snyder who is 6-6 as a head coach in bowl games.
Arkansas is making its third bowl appearance (1-1) under head coach Bobby Petrino. The Hogs finished the regular season 10-2 and 6-2 in the SEC.
Each team’s offense have found success in different ways this season - the Razorbacks have excelled in the passing game (ranked 13th in the nation among Football Bowl Subdivision schools at 307.8 yards per game) while the Wildcats have done it with their ground game (ranked 27th in the nation at 193.7 ypg).
The Razorbacks come into the Classic as one of the most explosive offenses in the nation this season leading the Southeastern Conference in passing offense (307.8 ypg), total offense (445.8 ypg) and first downs (22.2 per game). The Hogs are ranked second in the SEC and 15th in the FBS in scoring offense (37.4 points per game).
Senior WR Jarius Wright noted that much of the team’s success on offense have come from being on the same page with the coaches’ offensive game plan all season.
"We’ve had the same goals," commented Wright. "We work and strive for the same things. Being on the same page and all 11 guys doing their job at one time has just helped our offense just that much more and have made it that much easier."
Kansas State's running game is led by QB Collin Klein who rushed for 1,099 yards and 26 touchdowns. He also threw for 1,745 yards with 12 TD's and 5 INT's. RB John Hubert has 933 yards while averaging nearly 5 yards per carry. Tyler Lockett has a pair of kickoff returns for scores.
Statistically, Arkansas has the advantage on defense. The Hogs rank 52nd in yards allowed per game and 37th in points permitted. Kansas State ranks No. 74 and 68th, respectively, in those categories. But the Wildcats have feasted on turnovers, gaining 26 takeaways to just 13 giveaways to rank 5th in the nation. Arkansas has committed 19 and forced 19.
The Congrove Computer Rankings at CollegeFootballPoll.com project Arkansas as the winner by a convincing margin of 9.04 points.