The Cotton Bowl on Friday, January 7th has the Texas A&M Aggies playing in their home state as they take on the LSU Tigers at Dallas Cowboys Stadium. This is actually the second time that the Aggies have faced an SEC team in this stadium this year, as they lost 24-17 to Arkansas here during the regular season.
This assignment seems easier considering that the LSU offense is not nearly as potent as the Razorbacks, and Texas A&M was playing its best football at the end of the year. LSU is a slight 1½-point favorite.
Key #1: Will the Texas A&M offense continue its late season surge vs. a quality SEC defense?
The Texas A&M season was composed of three streaks, as it started the year 3-0, then lost three straight games vs. good competition, and then suddenly caught fire to close out the year with six straight wins. The Aggies scored at least 33 points in four of those six games and 24 in another. The only defense to keep them in check over the second half was Nebraska, who A&M still beat 9-6. The Cornhuskers also had the best defense among those last six teams, so it remains to be seen if the Aggies can score on an LSU defense that allowed just 17.8 points per game.
LSU vs. Texas A&M 2011 Cotton Bowl Game Betting:
– LSU vs. Texas A&M Point Spread: LSU -1.5 points
– LSU vs. Texas A&M State Over-Under: 49 points
– LSU vs. Texas A&M Expert Picks: CLICK HERE
– LSU vs. Texas A&M Player Prop Bets: CLICK HERE
Key #2: Can the LSU quarterbacks do put enough points on the scoreboard to win a pseudo road game?
Poor quarterback play has held the Tigers back the last couple of years, and this season was no exception. They have resorted to a two quarterback system, but neither quarterback has been productive. Jordan Jefferson has gotten the most playing time, but he has completed only 57.4 percent of his passes while averaging a low 6.7 yards per attempt with nine interceptions vs. just four touchdown passes. Meanwhile, Jarrett Lee is averaging just 6.3 yards per attempt while completing 59.3 percent of his passes.
Key #3: Which of these teams will be less disappointed about not going to a BCS Bowl?
As bad as the LSU quarterbacks have been, they still had a chance at a BCS bowl with just one loss to top ranked Auburn entering their season finale, but they then lost 31-23 to Arkansas. Texas A&M may have a bigger gripe, as they were co-champions of the Big 12 South, but didn’t get to go to the Big 12 Championship Game. That said, I feel that Texas A&M will be the more motivated team, as they are near home and would love to knock off an SEC team.
I think Texas A&M will take advantage of this second chance to beat the SEC in this stadium this year. Yes, LSU has a great defense, but I question how much intensity the Tigers will play with in a non-BCS Bowl. On the other side of the ball, if A&M can hold Ryan Mallett and Arkansas to 24 points, they should be able to contain this Tigers’ offense. Finally, the overwhelming support of the crowd certainly does not hurt.
Texas A&M 24 – LSU 20