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2011 Cotton Bowl, LSU Vs. Texas A&M: Close Battle Expected In Texas

On paper, LSU would seem like a heavy favorite as they hit the field for the Cotton Bowl on Friday. After all, head coach Les Miles is a mad scientist, or mad hatter, that always manages to pull rabbits out of his hat and wins out of the grass. The Tigers survived the brutal SEC, making it out with only losses to Arkansas and Auburn.

Over at SB Nation's LSU blog, And The Valley Shook, the authors are happily tempering expectations, reminding fans Texas A&M is dangerous. The Tigers, they say, are in for a dogfight.

With A&M having been going through some rebuilding the last few years, there seems to be the perception that this will be some sort of stroll through the FieldTurf. Make no mistake, this is a solid football team LSU is facing. They stop the run and rush the passer on defense, and what they lack in gaudy offensive stats they make up for in efficiency, as I detailed earlier this week. In some ways, the Aggies mirror LSU, with a stout run defense that still had a few rough games against spread running teams like Baylor and Nebraska.

On the other side of the ball, SB Nation's I Am The 12th Man is busy looking at how the Texas A&M offense will divide all the touches and what it will take for the Aggies to pull-out a win.

You will also notice if the minimum number of pass receptions I have projected are completed, Tannehill will have 34 pass completions in the game, a number I'm not sure we'll even end up attempting. I am just trying to project how we will divide up the offensive load in the game based on how we have done it so far this season. If we are able to get 30 efficient touches by Cyrus Gray, and 30 good touches between Fuller, Swope, McNeal, Nwachukwu, and Hicks/Prioleau, we will win the ballgame.

Stay tuned to this StoryStream right up through game time, as we review key unit matchups, odds, bowl history and more, and connect with LSU fans at SB Nation's And The Valley Shook and Texas A&M fans at I Am The 12th Man. For a complete list of bowl games, browse our 2010 college football postseason schedule.