Say what you will about the prestige of the BCS Bowl games, and certainly the payouts associated with those bowls are prestigious, but the Cotton Bowl remains one of the most relevant games in every post season. A yearly post season match up between teams that contend for conference titles in the SEC and Big 12 usually features highly ranked teams. Last season was the first in five years that didn’t involve a top 10 team facing a ranked opponent. An LSU victory will make it five out of six years. Added to the relevance of the game is the renewal of the LSU/Texas A&M rivalry. This will be the 50th meeting between the two schools.

3 Keys from the scout

1. Patrick Peterson and Morris Claiborne vs. Jeff Fuller and Ryan Swope is a strength versus strength match up. LSU is ranked 9th nationally in pass defense. Texas A&M is 18th in passing offense. The game will be determined based on how well the Aggies move the ball in the air. A mid-season switch at quarterback cut down on the Aggies turnovers and that will be key since Claiborne and Peterson combined for 9 interceptions.

2. LSU must control Von Miller. Miller is among the biggest defensive impact players in the country. He is known for sacking the quarterback but he is also adept in pass coverage and in pursuit as well.

3. What surprises does LSU have in store? The Tigers have used fake kicks, 4th down tight end reverses, and touchdowns in the return game to win this year. Without knowing who will play the most snaps at quarterback for LSU, and how either will play, it’s tough to see LSU consistently move the ball against the Aggies rushing defense. With over a month to prepare Les Myles and company will have had ample opportunity to find some weaknesses to exploit.

Bold Prediction: LSU was among the most disappointing teams in the nation this year. The Aggies finished strong and put together a season that is 2-3 wins better than what anyone expected of them. Both teams will be physical and there’s no reason to believe that the Tigers can eliminate the mistakes that have plagued them all year. Texas A&M 31 LSU 23

LSU

Round Full Name Pos Num Yr Comments
1st Patrick Peterson CB 7 3Jr Talented athlete that’s growing as a cornerback besides showing dynamic skills as a punt returner. Will enter the draft and is an early choice.
2nd Drake Nevis DT 92 4Sr Explosive lineman coming off a sensational senior season. Quick, athletic and intense. Makes plays all over the field but has size limitations which will knock down his draft grade.
2-3 Kelvin Sheppard ILB 11 5Sr Underrated middle linebacker prospect that is a three down defender.
4th Terrance Toliver WR 87 5Sr Well sized receiver who never took his game to another level.
5-6 Joseph Barksdale T 78 4Sr Big, strong lineman who engulfs opponents at the point of attack. Gets movement run blocking and plays with good fundamentals. Turned in an improved senior season.
6-7 Lazarius Levingston DE 95 5Sr Somewhat underrated defensive lineman that did not improve as we thought possible.
FA Jai Eugene CB 4 5Sr Inconsistent cover corner who flashes skills.
FA Brandon Taylor CB 15 3Jr
FA Stefoin Francois S 23 4Jr
FA Richard Murphy RB 18 5Sr

Texas A&M

Round Full Name Pos Num Yr Comments
1st Von Miller OLB 40 4Sr Pass rusher moving up draft boards. Projects to OLB in a 3-4 yet also has the growth potential to stay at defensive end. Makes a lot of plays behind the line of scrimmage and explosive in the defensive front seven.
3rd Jeff Fuller WR 8 3Jr Tall possession wide out that’s shown an improved game.
4-5 Jerrod Johnson QB 1 5Sr Strong armed passer in the midst of a disappointing campaign. Went from potential first round pick to probably late round pick.

Game Preview: Brent Foshee

Prospect Preview:  Tony Pauline