Cotton Bowl went with high-ranked teams

December, 4, 2011
12/04/11
8:39
PM CT
As Cotton Bowl president Rick Baker and his staff met on Sunday afternoon to make their selections for the 2012 Cotton Bowl, they felt like they had three Big 12 choices: Kansas State, Baylor and Oklahoma.

"It was determined early on that our first choice would be Kansas State," Baker said. "We knew they were going to be the highest ranked team, they beat Baylor head-to-head and while they lost to Oklahoma, the Sooners did not have a good last part of the season and has been devastated by injuries. We decided if Kansas State was available, we were going to take them. We felt like they were the most deserving."

Baker said that if the Wildcats were taken by a BCS bowl, it would have been a difficult choice between Baylor and Oklahoma.

"We decided not to go through deciding who that would be unless Kansas State wasn't available," Baker said. "But they were both good choices."

As for the SEC team, the Cotton Bowl essentially shares the No. 3 choice with the Outback Bowl. But the Outback has first shot at an SEC East team and the Cotton Bowl at an SEC West team. So if the Cotton Bowl wanted an East team, they would have to let the Outback pick first. But as normally happens, each team stayed with his geographical area. The Capital One Bowl, which has first choice after the BCS, took South Carolina. So the Outback scooped up Georgia, leaving the highest-ranked team to the Cotton Bowl in Arkansas.

"It's the first time we've had two top-10 teams in our game since 1994," said Baker, alluding to Notre Dame vs. Texas A&M that year.

The Cotton Bowl doesn't worry about selling tickets. They were sold out in August and each school gets 12,500 tickets. Baker said any school the Cotton Bowl considered this year would sell out its allotment. So the bowl went with what they felt was the best matchup.

"We're thrilled," Baker said.
Richard Durrett joined ESPNDallas.com in September 2009. He writes about colleges, the Dallas Stars and the Texas Rangers. Richard spent nine years at The Dallas Morning News covering the Rangers, Stars, colleges, motorsports and high schools.

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