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Cotton Bowl: Our Picks

SI Sooners staff picks a close game, a comfortable game and a blowout
SI Sooners Staff - Estes-Hoover-Chapman

John Hoover

With two starting defensive backs and a starting linebacker out for the Cotton Bowl, expect Spencer Rattler to have a big day. The Sooners will finish a season without a 1,000-yard rusher or receiver for the first time since 2013, and, because of a COVID-shortened schedule, they’ll likely finish without someone getting 1,000 all-purpose yards for the first time since 1994 (Marvin Mims leads the team with 781). All that to say this Oklahoma offense is hungry. If Florida’s offense can’t sustain drives with its top four receivers out, the Sooners will have a lot of opportunities to score. Expect a big game from Rhamondre Stevenson, too. Florida’s run defense ranks 110th in the nation, so he needs to be very busy. The Gators opened as a 3-point favorite, but after Florida lost seven starters, the Sooners are now a 3-point favorite. That's not enough. An Oklahoma team starved for a bowl win (Lincoln Riley is 0-3) against a Florida team stripped of so many players is a recipe for a blowout.

FINAL: Oklahoma 42, Florida 21

Ryan Chapman

The 2020 Sooners have a pretty solid blueprint. Jump out to an early lead, enter halftime feeling like they could be up by more, and then hold on for dear life in the second half. I expect the final game of the season to be no different. Lincoln Riley is as good as any coach in the country with an extra few days to game-plan, and I’m not 100 percent sure the Gators even want to be in this game, dating back to Dan Mullen’s comments after the SEC Championship that it was likely the last game the team would play together. In the heat of battle, Florida should wake up and make the adjustments to start the comeback, but Ronnie Perkins and the Sooners defensive line will step up and deliver Riley a trademark win to enter 2021.

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FINAL: Oklahoma 37, Florida 34

Caroline Grace Estes

It’s pretty obvious that Florida being out of a handful of big name players will affect them tremendously. I think Florida really had the upper hand with Kyle Trask’s passing game against the OU secondary. But without those top receivers, there isn’t going to be anyone reliable to throw to. All Spencer Rattler has to do is stay calm and execute and they should be able to have a consistent lead against Florida the entire contest.

FINAL: Oklahoma 31, Florida 21