2008 Holiday Bowl Preview and Pick – Oregon Ducks vs. Oklahoma State Cowboys

No. 15 Oregon Ducks +3, 76.5 O/U (9-3) 6-6 ATS, 7-5 O/U vs. No. 13 Oklahoma State Cowboys -3, 76.5 O/U (9-3) 8-3 ATS, 6-5 O/U Tuesday, December 30, 2008 Qualcomm Stadium (70,561) San Diego, California 8:00 p.m. EST, TV: ESPN- Holiday Bowl
By Wilson of Predictem.com

San Diego will host its second bowl game of the season by welcoming two of college football’s most explosive offensive teams. The Holiday Bowl at Qualcomm Stadium should be a high flying, high scoring matchup as the Pac-10 and the Big 12 collide.

The Oregon Ducks have an exceptional backfield in running backs Jeremiah Johnson and LeGarrette Blount. Both backs split time carrying the ball and will likely finish with over 1000 yards each rushing. The Ducks have scored 40-plus points in 6 games this year, and put up 65 in their last regular season game versus Oregon State.

Oklahoma State finished fourth in perhaps the toughest conference in the country. The Cowboys also have a superior running attack behind RB, Kendall Hunter, who rushed for 1500 yards and 14 touchdowns this season. Cowboy’s QB, Zac Robinson, is a huge threat with the pass and the run as he tossed 24 touchdowns and only 8 picks. Robinson is also quick on his feet which forces defenses to gamble less often.

The Cowboys are hoping to get a 10th win this season, which they have not done in 20 years. In fact, the last time they had 10 wins was in 1988 when head coach Mike Gundy was starting behind center. The only losses for the Cowboys this year were to three teams that finished 11-1.

Both teams are averaging nearly 42 points per game, and they also allow about 28 points per contest to their opponents. However, Oklahoma State is tough against the run and they have a great defensive front line which should take away the Oregon running threat. But both defenses give up a lot through the air, almost 260-yards a game.

Oklahoma State has definitely played a more vigorous schedule and that will prove to be a blessing for them as they have seen high caliber teams consistently. On the other hand, Oregon may not have the strength of schedule in their favor, but they are a program that has dominated most Pac-10 teams outside of USC.

The Ducks bowl-game record is 8-13 with their first bowl victory dating back to a 14-0 win over Pennsylvania in the 1917 Rose Bowl. Oregon’s last bowl game was a 56-21 win over South Florida in the 2007 Sun Bowl. Oregon is 1-2 this season as the under-dog.

Oklahoma State’s bowl-game record is 10-7 with their first bowl game win in the 1944 Cotton Bowl when they defeated TCU 34-0. The Cowboys beat Indiana 49-33 in last year’s Insight Bowl. Oklahoma State is 7-0 as the favorite this season.

Most bookies are expecting a high scoring game as both squads can light up the scoreboard. Oregon will need to establish some kind of passing game in order to get their backfield involved, but OSU’s defense will be hard to fool as they pride themselves on stuffing the run. The Cowboys will have the advantage at QB with Robinson and his duel threat through the air and on the ground.

Both teams travel well, and should have plenty of die-hard fans making the trip to San Diego. For what it’s worth, Oregon fans are relentless believers in their team but I just don’t see the Ducks beating the Cowboys on either side of the ball. Sorry QUACKERS!

Wilson’s Pick: Oklahoma State wins the Holiday Bowl and covers the points; OSU 49, OU 35. Luck to ya.