Oklahoma State Cowboys (10-2 SU, 8-4 ATS) vs. Missouri Tigers (11-2 SU, 11-2 ATS)
Cotton Bowl Preview
Date and Time: Friday January 3, 2014 7:30pm EST
Where: AT&T Stadium, Arlington TX
by Tim, Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: OSU +1/MO -1
Over/Under Total: 61
The 2014 Cotton Bowl will be played in Cowboys Stadium with an AT&T nametag while the Cotton Bowl (the stadium)—just down the road in Dallas—hosts the Red River Rivalry and not the Cotton Bowl. Confused? Well, thats how deals are made in Texas! Missouri takes a southwest turn sauntering into this game after getting stoned 59-42 against Auburn in the SEC Championship game. Oklahoma State rides down I-35 still smarting from a season-ending Sooner blitzkrieg 33-24. Both teams are ready for this storied Bowl Game but we can have only one winner! Lets take a look at the Tigers and Pokes and pick us a winner.
Is 11-2 Mizzou for real? Perhapsbut Missouris schedule offered the Tigers an in-season siesta from SEC powerhouses Alabama, LSU, and Auburn during the regular season. Sure, Missouri was 11-2 against the spread playing, horrid Kentucky, milk toast Tennessee, Summa Cum Laude Vandy, and a surgery bound Georgia team missing leading receivers Malcolm Mitchell, Justin Wesley-Scott, Michael Bennett, tailback Keith Marshall, and leading Georgia rusher Todd Gurley seeing Georgia turn the ball over 4 times in the game! Frankly, the Tigers played an extremely weak SEC schedule including a 27-24 double overtime loss to South Carolina in Columbia (Missouri) from a Gamecock squad void of fire and brimstone (ala; Bama, War Eagle, and LSU). The punishment Auburn inflicted upon Missouri with Junior Trey Mason of Auburn running for 304 yards on 46 carries with 4 TDs while Auburn racked up 677 total offensive yards ought to put to rest the image of a Missouri defense that, coming into the Auburn game, was ranked 14th in the nation against the run allowing only 119 yards rushing per game. Missouri was E-X-P-O-S-E-D! Remember this when holding Missouri in the balance; 46 Carries for 304FORTY-SIX CARRIES and cant fix it!
Oklahoma State doesnt jam the ball in your Patootie on the ground like Auburn at 64th in the nation in rushing. The Pokes are more balanced offensively (like South Carolina) sitting 32nd in passing offense and 41st in total offense. But what the Cowboys dothey do very well standing tall at number 14 in the nation in scoring. Defensively, Oklahoma State is also 14th in the nation in scoring defense allowing just 20 points per game in 2013. Oklahoma States defense is 5th nationally in Red Zone scoring but in the 2nd half, Oklahoma State goes on Operation Shutdown against opponents as the 27th best team against points scored at only 11 points in 2nd half play. On the flip side, Missouri sits virtually in the middle at number 62with Michigan—in 2nd half points allowed. Truly, with a 1 point spread (+ or -), the 2nd half is usually where games are won or lost!
Missouri and Oklahoma State are virtually tied for most points scored in the first half at number 13 and 14 respectively. After a halftime speech by Head Coach Mike Gundy, the Pokes really take off as the 13th best offensive team in 3rd quarter points. The 3rd quarterstatistically—is the most relevant clash between these two teams and where—statistically—these two teams part company. Missouri is 95th nationally in 3rd quarter points against defense while Oklahoma State is 4th in the nation giving up points in the third quarter at 2.7 points allowed in the 3rd stanza. Oklahoma State adjust much better at halftime than Missouri on both the offensive and defensive side of the ball.
If I believed Missouri and Oklahoma State were evenly matched I would gamble a close first half followed by a second half explosion by Oklahoma State; according to the numbers. I dont believe these teams are evenly matched, though. I believe Missouri got rolled-up by Auburn because they really didnt play anybody all year. Oklahoma State lost their rivalry game so lets toss that one out the window (rivalry games are different!) and look at the big picture. Missouri is a lot like Kansas State and Texas and the Pokes OWN a distinct advantage in coaching staffs. Gundy is a BEAST coach—much like Auburns Gus Malzahn—and the players respond to Gundy with almost a Bo Schembechler-like love and resulting performance. Oklahoma State is probably a TD better than Missouri in this game and the Stillwater Prairie Prowlers would like nothing more than to go back to Texas on I-35, get on I-30 East for about 2 miles, get off at S. Haskell Drive, make your way to Cotton Bowl Circle, take a look at the Cotton Bowl (the house that Doak Walker built!), scratch their heads, get back on I-30 heading west, drive about 30 miles to Arlington, get off at Ballpark Way, and make your way to AT&T Stadium/Cowboys Stadium/Moneymaker Stadium and collect the Cotton Bowl Trophy and the subsequent trophy presentation tradition of the winning coach being put on hold by a non-English as a 1st language AT&T Tech Support Rep. for 937 minutes! AMERICA!!!! YOU just gotta absolutely LOVE Free Speech! Cowboys by a TD in Arlington! Not the Jerry Jones kindthe winning Oklahoma State kind!
Tims Pick to Cover the Point Spread: Oklahoma State Cowboys +1 and SU
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