MANHATTAN, Kan. – On the heels of the program’s best season in almost a decade and its eighth 10-win season under head coach Bill Snyder, Kansas State Athletics Director John Currie announced today that the Wildcats have accepted an invitation to play No. 6 Arkansas in the 2012 AT&T Cotton Bowl Classic on January 6 in Arlington, Texas.
The game, which will be one of just three bowl matchups along with the BCS National Championship to feature two Top 10 teams, will be played at Cowboys Stadium, one of the premiere sports facilities in the world, at 7 p.m. CT, with a nationwide television audience watching on FOX. The Rose Bowl and Fiesta Bowl are the other two bowls this season to include Top 10 matchups.
“With the excitement and integrity of the AT&T Cotton Bowl Classic at an all-time high, we couldn’t be more proud to represent the Big 12 Conference in Dallas following a terrific and memorable season for our football program, fans and university community, and I am pleased to accept the invitation on behalf of President Kirk Schulz, Coach Bill Snyder and our entire institution,” said Currie. “Showcasing our football program and university on a primetime national stage in one of the nation’s most tradition-rich bowl games is a tremendous opportunity, and the experience our student-athletes, band members, cheerleaders and fans will have in Dallas will certainly be world-class.”
K-State’s trip to the Cotton Bowl will be its third in program history with the last appearance being in 2001 in a win over Tennessee. The Wildcats (10-2) will be playing in their 15th bowl game in school history and 13th under Bill Snyder as the Cats are 6-6 all-time in bowls under the legendary head coach. Following 11 straight bowls from 1993-2003 under Snyder, the Cats have now gone bowling in each of the last two seasons following last year’s berth in the inaugural New Era Pinstripe Bowl.
“On behalf of the Kansas State University community, we are extremely proud of Coach Snyder and our football team on a terrific 2011 season,” said Schulz. “We could not be more excited to head to the Dallas area, one of our top out-of-state alumni markets, and play in such a historic bowl as the AT&T Cotton Bowl Classic. We appreciate President Rick Baker, Chairman Tommy Bain and the entire Cotton Bowl staff for annually putting on one of the best bowls in the country, and we are looking forward to a wonderful week in Dallas.”
The Wildcats’ 10 regular season victories in 2011, the most since 2003 and one shy of the school record, included home wins over No. 15 Baylor, Missouri and Texas A&M and road victories at Miami, No. 23 Texas and Texas Tech. K-State also kept the Governor’s Cup trophy in Manhattan for the third straight season under Snyder with a 59-21 win over in-state rival Kansas.
In addition to sporting the Big 12’s No. 1 football graduation rate in four of the last five seasons, excitement in Wildcat football was also evidenced by three sell-out crowds at Bill Snyder Family Stadium this season and a No. 29 national ranking in percent of capacity.
“We are so very proud of the young men in our program and the courage they have shown this year, and we are very pleased to represent the Big 12 Conference in the Cotton Bowl,” said Snyder. “The Cotton Bowl is a first-class bowl organization and we appreciate Rick Baker and the entire bowl staff for their efforts and support of college football.”
The Razorbacks (10-2) finished the season ranked sixth in the BCS standings with both losses coming at the hands of No. 1 LSU and No. 2 Alabama.
K-State has faced Arkansas four times in its history and will square off in a bowl game for the first time. The Wildcats hold a 3-1 advantage in the series with the last meeting between the two schools coming back in 1967.
K-State’s 2012 AT&T Cotton Bowl allotment of 12,500 tickets has been sold out through pre-orders. Ticket locations for pre-orders will be assigned in order of the K-State Athletics Priority Point System and follow post-season priority limits. Ticket shipments are expected to be mailed by priority delivery at least two weeks prior to the game. Fans who did not pre-order tickets who wish to attend the Cotton Bowl should purchase tickets through the official ticket exchange on the AT&T Cotton Bowl website at www.attcottonbowl.com.
A student ticket allotment of 2,500 tickets is available with 500 reserved seats priced at $125 each and 2,000 standing room end-zone Spirit Passes at $50 each. These tickets will be available to current ICAT pass-holders beginning Wednesday, December 7 at 8:30 a.m. at the K-State Ticket Office located on the southwest corner of Bramlage Coliseum. In order to ensure fair access to tickets for K-State students and to maintain a students-only section, K-State Athletics consulted with the Student Governing Association to determine that students must bring their own student pass card and Wildcat ID and are limited to one ticket. Reserved ticket purchasers will be provided a voucher which, with a valid student ID, can be picked up at Cowboys Stadium on the day of the game. Any remaining reserved ticket vouchers will be made available to all K-State students on Thursday, December 8 at 8:30 a.m.
All unsold Spirit Passes will be made available to the public at 8:30 a.m. on Monday, December 12.
The K-State Alumni Association will also provide official travel packages to the bowl game. Visit the Alumni Association’s official bowl travel page – www.k-statesportstravel.com – for travel package information.
K-State player quotes on the Cats’ bowl selection
Quarterback Collin Klein
“We are very excited for the opportunity and grateful to be selected to play in such a prestigious bowl. I’m excited for the opportunity to play a very good team in Arkansas, and we will need to prepare well over the next month.”
Linebacker Emmanuel Lamur
“We are excited about the season that we have had but we also know that we have one more game to play against a really good Arkansas team. We are excited to head to the Cotton Bowl and play on national television, and most importantly, work to get our 11th win of the season.”
Defensive Back Tysyn Hartman
“The opportunity to play in one of the top stadiums in the world and the best bowls in the country is a great reward for our hard work this season. But, we know that we have one more game to play and are looking forward to working hard this month to play a great Arkansas team.”
AT&T Cotton Bowl Quotes
Tommy Bain, Chairman
“We are so excited with our lineup of teams for the 76th Classic. This is our first Top 10 matchup in 18 years and it’s the first time Arkansas and Kansas State have faced one another since 1967. Coach Petrino and Coach Snyder are remarkable coaches. Their track records prove that and more. The Razorbacks and Wildcats have been permanent fixtures in the BCS rankings all season long and that in itself is a wonderful tribute to the hard work of their players and coaching staff and the tremendous support of their fans. It’s going to be a fun month as we count down their arrival in North Texas.”
Fin Ewing, Team Selection Chairman
“When you stop and think about our matchup for the 2012 Classic, you can’t help but break into a huge smile. Arkansas is No. 6 and Kansas State is No. 8. What does this mean? It means two awesome teams that are evenly matched, and that should translate into a heck of a football game. The Razorbacks and Wildcats have enjoyed many great moments in the AT&T Cotton Bowl Classic through the years. Getting them together under the roof at Cowboys Stadium in primetime on FOX is going to be special and fun for everybody.”
Rick Baker, President
“We have had a lot of terrific games in recent years, but it’s been a long time since the AT&T Cotton Bowl has hosted a pair of Top 10 teams. You have to go all the way back to 1994. Kansas State vs. Arkansas is a blockbuster matchup for us. This is exciting. Few bowls have a matchup that is as intriguing as our game. It’s going to be a special night at Cowboys Stadium when the Hogs and Wildcats get together. We can’t wait. Anyone who has a ticket for this game is in for a treat.”