5 Thoughts - Cotton Bowl
... Arkansas 7
- 2008 CFN Cotton Bowl Preview
2008 Cotton Bowl History, Each Team's Best Bowl Moments, & More
Arkansas might have undergone a coaching change, but it’s not like
Reggie Herring, the interim head man, was unfamiliar with the team
and the personnel. It’s not like Darren McFadden and the running
game were going to not play as hard just because Houston Nutt was
off wearing an Ole Miss sweater. 38-7. This was a sheer pasting by a
Tiger team with something to prove, and with the Hogs playing
unfocused and uneven game with five turnovers, this wasn’t pretty.
Nothing looked quite in sync, but the vaunted ground attack never
quite seemed right in last year’s Capital One Bowl loss to
Wisconsin, either. 38-7. Missouri might be really good, but this
wasn’t exactly the SEC’s finest hour.
2. Arizona State got dissed (sorry, I hate that term too, but it
applies here) by the BCS, but it proved it didn’t belong in the big
show with the Holiday Bowl loss to Texas. Missouri showed exactly
what a team is supposed to do if it feels like it doesn’t get the
proper respect: it goes out and wins in a blowout. Now there’s no
question that Missouri deserved to be in one of the big money games.
Now it’ll be up to Kansas to prove it deserved the Orange Bowl spot
against Virginia Tech. Now it appears Missouri really might have
been a worthy national title team and not just a flash-in-the-pan
fluke. Now the expectations are going to be jacked through the roof
in Columbia going into 2008, and that’s not a bad thing. A win like
this will give the Tigers the respect in the polls, and the benefit
of the doubt down the stretch if they have another big year.
3. Think about all the great players in the history of the Cotton
Bowl, and all the great runners from the Southwest Conference, SEC,
and Big 12. Tony Temple beat them all. All the focus was on the
Heisman stars, Chase Daniel and Darren McFadden, but it was Temple
who stole the show with four touchdown runs and 281 yards, 117 more
than the Arkansas rushing attack. Oklahoma did a great job of taking
Temple away in the Big 12 Championship, and he wasn’t around in the
first meeting, and the Tigers all talked about his absence being the
difference. As this game proved, they might have been right. Daniel
didn’t need to be a superstar, and he wasn’t. This was Temple’s
game, and while he won’t be around next year, his performance showed
that the Mizzou offense can be about more than the passing game.
4. The Missouri defensive line beat the Arkansas offensive line.
It’s that simple. The Hogs controlled the time of possession and
were able to go on a few marches, but they couldn’t convert on
enough third downs, QB Casey Dick wasn’t special under intense
pressure, and the running game wasn’t the normal running game. Blame
the Tiger defense for that. This is a Hog offense that needs the
star backs to be explosive, and when they’re bottled up or not
cranking out yards in chunks, there’s nothing to fall back on. The
Tiger defensive line never let McFadden or Felix Jones get in the
open and controlled the game early on.
5. The Cotton Bowl might have the big name and might have a great
history, but it hasn’t been the best of the bowl games over the last
few years. Many of the games have been close, but they’ve hardly
been scintillating showdowns. The matchups have looked good on
paper, but they just haven’t been compelling compared to the Big Ten
vs. SEC showdowns in the Outback and Capital One. Arkansas vs.
Missouri should’ve been far better, but the Heisman were mediocre,
Arkansas couldn’t stop making mistakes, and with so many good games
going on elsewhere, this was the dud of the day.