Oklahoma Sooners (8-4 SU, 5-7 ATS) vs. Clemson Tigers (9-3 SU, 5-7 ATS)
College Football Bowl Game
Date and Time: Monday, December 29, 5:30pm EST
Where:Florida Citrus Bowl – Orlando, FL
by Bob, Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: OKL -3/CLEM +3
Over/Under Total: 53
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Monday, December 29th, tune into ESPN at 5:30pm to take a look at the 24th playing of the Russell Athletic Bowl. Originated in 1990, this game has also been known as the CarQuest Bowl, the Blockbuster Bowl, and the MicronPC Bowl. This year, we will see the 8-4 Oklahoma Sooners taking on the 9-3 Clemson Tigers. Both of these teams came into the 2014 season with high expectations, and both ended up falling below the standards they had set for themselves. This is one last shot to end the 2015 season on the winning track and prepare for 2015.
This should be a great match-up between two very evenly matched teams. I know it sounds cliche, but I can see this game going either way. Yes, the Sooners are favored by three, but in my opinion this game is a complete toss up. The total points are set at 53. Against the spread this season, both teams come in at 5-7 and as we speak, the public is heavily leaning towards Oklahoma to cover the three point spread.
There was one point in 2014, where I really believed that Oklahoma was one of the top four teams in the nation and would be a contestant in the final four playoffs this year. Well, I was wrong, in a big way. Oklahoma played three teams that ended ranked all season, and lost to each of them. Not only that, but they also dropped an overtime game to their in-state rival, Oklahoma State in overtime. So now, at 8-4, the Sooners find themselves in the Russell Athletic Bowl. The downfall to Oklahoma this season was that they did not play great defense, and they also did not pass the ball well enough to win those Big 12 type shootouts. When you are allowing nearly 30 points per game, you must have a passing attack ranked better than 82nd in the nation. In order to not just beat Clemson, but cover the three point spread, the Sooners offensive line will be the key. Oklahoma will need to stop the Clemson pass rush led by Vic Beasley and will need to keep the QB on his feet. If Oklahoma can sustain long drives and make the Clemson offense score with them, I see the Sooners being very happy come 8:00pm.
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The Clemson Tigers opened the 2014 season with very high hopes. They were derailed QUICKLY. They went into Athens, Georgia in the first week of the season and were run out of Sanford Stadium by the Georgia Bulldogs 45-21. Clemson just never seemed to get their swagger back. One coaching mistake that I , as well as many Clemson fans think Dabo Swinney made was the fact that he did not let true freshman, DeSean Watson start at QB from day one. The Tigers went with Cole Stoudt who did okay, but Watson just seemed to be that boost they needed in big games. One loss that was unacceptable for Clemson was the loss to the Florida State Seminoles. FSU was without Jameis Winston, and they could not move the ball at all on the Clemson defense…somehow, someway, Clemson found a way to lose the game in overtime. A game that Clemson was running out the clock in regulation to win. If Clemson has any desire to take down Oklahoma, they just need to do what they’ve done well all season….play defense. The Clemson Tigers defense is ranked 6th in the nation, allowing just under 18 points per game to their opponents. If Clemson can stop Samaje Perine and the Sooners run game, I believe the Tigers escape with a win.
I have never had much faith in Bob Stoops, but then again, I never have much faith in the Clemson coaching staff either. Stoops did get a win last year against Alabama, but let’s be honest… Bama did not care. If Alabama plays Oklahoma for a national title, Bama wins by 14+, but just a regular bowl game…the Tide do not care. With that said, I see this game being a complete toss up. I would not be stunned with any result between Oklahoma and Clemson. That is why I am taking Clemson. In a game where I see a total toss up for the winner, I always take the program getting the points.
Bob’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: PICK THE CLEMSON TIGERS +3