|1986 Cotton Bowl Classic|
|Date||January 1, 1986|
|MVP||SS Domingo Bryant (Texas A&M)|
RB Bo Jackson (Auburn)
|United States TV coverage|
|Announcers||Brent Musburger and Ara Parseghian|
The 1986 Cotton Bowl Classic was an American college football bowl game played on January 1, 1986 at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas, Texas. It was the 50th Cotton Bowl Classic held. The game featured the Texas A&M Aggies and the Auburn Tigers.
Sherill was in his fourth year with A&M, his previous three years finishing with a combined 16-16-1. They won the Southwest Conference championship for the first time since 1976 and played in the Cotton Bowl for the first time since 1968.
Auburn was highlighted by Bo Jackson, who rushed for 1,786 yards and won the Heisman Trophy for a team that had at one point was ranked #1 before losing to Tennessee. They finished 8-3, but that was only good for 6th in the Southeastern Conference, finishing behind the three teams that had beaten them (Tennessee, Florida and Alabama).
Bo Jackson started the scoring for Auburn with a touchdown run early in the game after a fumble recovery. But A&M responded with their own touchdown run by Harry Johnson, and they scored just three minutes later, but it was only 12-6 A&M due to a missed extra point and a failed conversion attempt. Jackson stuck back for Auburn by catching a 73-yard touchdown pass from Pat Washington to give Auburn the lead again, though they missed the conversion attempt. But Scott Slater kicked a 26-yard field goal to give A&M the lead again at halftime, 15-13.
Anthony Toney increased A&M's lead with a 2-yard touchdown run early in the third quarter, but another failed conversion attempt meant it was still a one possession lead at 21-13. Auburn mustered a field goal by Chris Johnson to make it 21-16 entering the fourth quarter. Auburn drove to the A&M 6-yard line as the fourth quarter began, but they were stuffed four times. Auburn was given another chance when A&M punted, but Jackson was stuffed again at A&M's 27. From that point on, A&M took control. With 2:22 to go, Keith Woodside caught a touchdown pass, as they also succeeded in gaining the two-point conversion. After an interception seconds later, Anthony Toney added on with his second rushing touchdown of the day to make it 36-16 as time expired. 
Texas A&M went on to play in the next two Cotton Bowls, losing in 1987 and winning in 1988. Auburn would go on to five more consecutive bowl games under Dye before he resigned after the 1992 season. They would reach the Cotton Bowl 21 years later, beating Nebraska 17-14.