Sports Illustrated's Ben Glicksman previews the Cotton Bowl between the Baylor Bears and Michigan State Spartans.


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No. 8 Michigan State Spartans will face the No. 5 Baylor Bears at 11:45 a.m. at AT&T Stadium in a battle of top teams from the Big Ten and Big 12.

The Spartans (10-2, 7-1 in Big Ten) will be making its first appearance in the Cotton Bowl. Michigan State is only the second Big Ten team to play in the Classic (Ohio State - 1987).

Baylor (11-1, 8-1 in conference) finished their second consecutive season atop the Big 12. This season, the Bears were conference co-champions with TCU and will be making their first Classic appearance since 1981 against Alabama.

"Michigan State and Baylor deserve to be rewarded for a fantastic season and rest assured, we will put on a great show for everyone involved," said Dan Novakov, Chairman of the Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic. "Both the Spartans and Bears have much to be proud of this season. Our goal is to make their Cotton Bowl experience a memory of a lifetime."

The Spartans finished as runners-up in the Big Ten East Division with their only losses coming to College Football Playoff semifinalists Ohio State and Oregon. Baylor's lone blemish came at West Virginia. The Bears enter the Classic with their highest ranking ever at No. 5 in the final College Football Playoff rankings (No. 12 in 1975 and No. 6 in 1981).

Baylor's Art Briles becomes the third head coach to have played in the Classic as a player and lead his team to the Cotton Bowl as head coach, joining Ken Hatfield (Arkansas) and David McWilliams (Texas). Briles was on the Houston squad that defeated Maryland in the 1977 Classic, 30-21.

Eighth-year Spartan head coach Mark Dantonio will be making his eighth bowl appearance at MSU, setting a school record for most bowl appearances by a head coach (previous record: George Perles with seven from 1983-94).

The Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic kicks off at 11:45 a.m. CST on ESPN and will be the lead-in game to both College Football Playoff Semifinals, The Rose Bowl presented by Northwestern Mutual and the Allstate Sugar Bowl. For Cotton Bowl game tickets, fans are encouraged to contact Baylor and Michigan State directly.


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Article: Copyright © 2014, Tribune Content Agency

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