AT&T Cotton Bowl: No. 19 Oklahoma State Cowboys (9-3)(5-5-1 ATS) v. Mississippi Rebels (8-4)(6-6 ATS), Jan. 2, 2010, 2pm ET, Dallas Cowboys Stadium, Arlington, TX, FOX
by Evergreen of Predictem.com
Point Spread: Oklahoma State +3/ Ole Miss -3
Over/Under Total: 50.5
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There will be a lot of stories involving familiarity surrounding this years Cotton Bowl as both programs involved share ties to each other or the bowl itself. Oklahoma State looks to take out Ole Miss in a matchup between the Big 12 and SEC and coaches Mike Gundy and Houston Nutt will have plenty of stories to share leading up to gametime. Nutt, an OK State alum and assistant coach when Gundy was a QB with the Cowboys will be looking for his second straight Cotton win after taking out Texas Tech last year. The Rebs beat the Cowboys in a 2004 Bowl meeting when Eli Manning was under center and look to keep Oklahoma State from reaching a 10th win which would tie a school record.
Most online bookies have Ole Miss as a three point favorite, but lines of -1 to -4 are out there depending on where you bet. The Rebels are on the money line in the -160 range with the Cowboys in the +140 to +150 range and the over/under for the game is typically 50.5 or 51.
Oklahoma State finished the season 2nd in the Big 12 South, but likely played their worst game in the finale, falling 27-0 to Oklahoma. They will look to rebound against a Mississippi team that went 4-4 in the SEC and also lost their last game of the regular season when Mississippi State handed them a 41-27 loss.
Oklahoma State matches up well with just about anyone as they run the ball well (23rd in NCAA) and also know how to stop the run, giving up only 87 yards per game on average. The Cowboys can handle a shootout, averaging 30.2 points per game, but their achilles heel lies in pass defense, where they allow over 240 yards per game.
Ole Miss sports a solid run game as well, averaging 182 rush yards but brings a better passing complement than the Cowboys, good for 222 yards per game during the season. The Rebels average an identical 30.2 points for mark, but give up only 18.6 to the opposition, good for 17th in the country.
Oklahoma State QB Zac Robinson is a versatile signal caller, throwing for 1,780 yards and 14 touchdowns on the year, adding 268 yards and three scores on the ground. Keith Toston is responsible for a lot of offensive firepower, rushing for nearly 1,200 yards while grabbing 24 receptions on the way to 11 touchdowns. Hubert Anyiam leads the team in catches and yards, but suspended wideout Dez Bryant still leads with 4 touchdown receptions. The Cowboys haven’t founda true replacement for the talented Bryant, opting for a committee approach that has seen eight players catch at least 10 balls.
Jevan Snead takes the snaps for Ole Miss and while the QB is a playmaker, he has been hit or miss at times. Snead completed just over 54% of his passes for 2,464 yards and 20 touchdowns, but had 17 interceptions as well. Dexter McCluster and Brandon Bolden provide a nice one-two in the Rebel backfield with the duo combining for nearly 1,600 rushing yards while finding paydirt on 9 occasions. Shay Hodge is Snead’s favorite target with 63 receptions for 1,023 yards and 8 touchdowns.
Oklahoma State is reporting QB Zac Robinson and LB Donald Baker as probable with ankle injuries with S Victor Johnson as questionablewith CB Andrew McGee listed as doubtful for undisclosed reasons. Ole Miss reportsno significant injuries.
Coming into the game,Mississippi is riding a nice streak out of conference, winning seven straight against the spread outside the SEC and have gone 4-1-1 ATS in their last six bowl games. Oklahoma State likes the turf, going 11-5over the last couple of years on that surface, but is0for the last 5 against the spread as an underdog.
Evergreen’s Pick: Ole Misswould probably finish ahead of Oklahoma State in most years if they played in the Big 12, but I’ll take the Cowboysoutright and especiall withthe three in this one. The edge in quarterback consistency goes to Oklahoma State andOle Miss can’t afford Snead turning it over. This one should go quick with both teams run-oriented, but the Cowboys pull one outwhere the NFL Cowboys play.Oklahoma State 24 Ole Miss 23.