ARLINGTON, TX - As much as things change, they remain the same. The Missouri Tigers will meet their old Big 12 conference foe, the Oklahoma State Cowboys, in the 78th AT&T Cotton Bowl Classic on Friday, January 3rd at 8:00 EST. The game will be televised nationally on Fox.
">We are thrilled to have two of the top-ranked teams in the country with Oklahoma State and Missouri, and needless to say, Coach Gundy and Coach Pinkel have put together two great teams that deserved to be honored at the AT&T Cotton Bowl Classic," Tommy Bain, Chairman of the AT&T Cotton Bowl Classic said. "I can guarantee you, with OSU and Mizzou’s strong fan base, it’s going to be a great atmosphere at AT&T Stadium come January 3rd."
Missouri, the SEC East Division Champion, will be making its third appearance in the Classic and first since 2008 when the Tigers dismantled Arkansas, 38-7. OSU is making its fourth trip to the Cotton Bowl. The Cowboys, 10-2 and 7-2 in conference play, last played in the Classic in 2010, falling to Ole Miss, 21-7.
The Tigers, 11-2 and 7-2 in conference, are coming off a trip to the SEC Championship Game in only their second season as a SEC member. Despite standout performances from running back Henry Josey and wide receiver Dorial Green-Beckham, Auburn was able to outlast Missouri for a 59-42 win and a trip to the BCS National Championship.
Oklahoma State hosted Oklahoma Saturday in bitter-cold conditions in Stillwater in another bedlam game that went down to the wire. The Pokes went toe-to-toe with the Sooners before OU scored in the final minute to steal the victory, 33-24.
The Cowboys have the top-ranked scoring defense in the Big 12, and going into the Oklahoma game, OSU had the 13th best defense in the country, led by Jim Thorpe Award Finalist Justin Gilbert, who finished No. 1 in the Big 12 with six interceptions. The Pokes’ offense ranked second in the Big 12 behind Baylor, averaging 39 points a game.
Missouri brings in a prolific offense with a balanced attack averaging 252 yards through the air and 236 yards on the ground. The Tigers averaged close to 40 points a game this year. OSU had racked up seven straight wins going into Saturday’s game, including wins over three ranked teams in Texas Tech, Texas and Baylor, all in November.
Missouri is led by senior dual-threat quarterback James Franklin, who will be coming home to play his final college game at the Classic. Franklin is a graduate of Lake Dallas High School. The Tigers have 36 players on their roster from Texas while OSU has 71 players coming back to their home state to play in the Cotton Bowl.
"This is our final Classic with our formal matchup between the Big 12 and SEC before joining the College Football Playoff next year," Fin Ewing, Team Selection Chairman of the AT&T Cotton Bowl said. "We’ve had some incredible matchups over the years with these two conferences, and I expect Oklahoma State and Missouri will be another great Classic with plenty of fireworks."
Missouri and Oklahoma State will face off for the 53rd time, with the Tigers holding a 29-23 edge in the series. The Cowboys won the last meeting, defeating Mizzou, 45-24 at Columbia in 2011.
The Congrove Computer Rankings at CollegeFootballPoll.com give Oklahoma State a 7.29-point advantage.