1. Justin Gilbert, Oklahoma State, Sr., CB
The Thorpe Award finalist will be involved in the game's premier individual matchup, going up against Missouri star receiver Dorial Green-Beckham. And with nearly a month to rest that injured shoulder, Gilbert should be fully healthy at kickoff.
2. Michael Sam, Missouri, Sr., DE
Sam had a breakout senior season, racking up 10.5 sacks and 18 tackles for loss en route to the SEC Defensive Player of the Year Award. He'll be hunting Cowboy quarterback Clint Chelf all game long, while going up against an OSU offensive line that has allowed just 10 sacks in 12 games.
3. Desmond Roland, Oklahoma State, Jr., RB
Missouri's defense appears to be susceptible to the run after Auburn rolled up 545 yards on the ground in the SEC title game. Roland is coming off a strong Bedlam performance, showing sharp cutting ability and underrated speed while picking up 144 yards and two touchdowns on 21 carries.
4. James Franklin, Missouri, Sr., QB
Franklin was still a young pup when the Cowboys last faced the Tigers in Columbia, Mo., in 2011. But now the dual-threat quarterback has developed into a solid starter, completing 65.6 percent of his passes for 2,255 yards, 19 touchdowns and five interceptions in 10 games while adding 474 rushing yards and four scores.
5. Clint Chelf, Oklahoma State, Sr., QB
This is the final stop for the resilient signal-caller and choo-choo folk hero. He'll arrive at the Cotton Bowl as a second-team All-Big 12 quarterback. But will we see the Chelf who zipped completion after completion against Baylor and ran all over the Texas defense? Or the one who struggled in Bedlam until the Cowboys' final drive?