Less than Two Weeks to Texas Bowl
STILLWATER – Preparation is just beginning as Saturday was just the second day that the Cowboys had scout teams sporting the maroon colors and prominent numbers of Academy Sports and Outdoors Texas Bowl opponent Texas A&M.
The Cowboys will practice much of the next week before letting the players go home a couple of days, then everybody meeting back up in Houston on Dec. 21 for the week of preparation in H-Town for the game.
It made news on Friday as Pokes Report, here on the Sports Illustrated Network, was the first to report that All-American running back, and the nation’s leading rusher, Chuba Hubbard was practicing fresh off the trip to Atlanta for the College Football Awards Show. Hubbard sent out an Instagram message to everybody after the awards show that had a hand showing the number one and it read simply “one more.”
Feeding off Mike Gundy’s comments from the bowl announcement teleconference about Texas A&M being the best 7-5 team in college football history because their losses came to three number one-ranked teams when they played them in Clemson, Alabama, and LSU, along with number four-ranked at the time Georgia, and top 25 foe Auburn, The “Bear” Chris Fallica had the Texas Bowl on his board during ESPN College Game Day from the Army-Navy Game in Philadelphia. Fallica picked A&M, who is giving seven points, because of the tough schedule.
While the Aggies losses came against good teams, so did all but one of Oklahoma State’s four defeats. Three of Oklahoma State’s losses came to top 15 ranked teams in Oklahoma, Baylor, and, at the time, Texas. The other loss was to Texas Tech on a day where the Cowboys coughed out five turnovers, enough to get any team beat.
It should be a good game, but while it seems certain that Chuba Hubbard is going to play for the Pokes, A&M found out on Friday that perhaps their best defensive player, defensive tackle Justin Madubuike, declared for the NFL Draft and stated he would not be playing in the bowl game. Madubuike had 45 tackles for the Aggies defense this season and led the defense in tackles for losses with 11.5 and in sacks with 5.5 times putting down opposing quarterbacks.
The Cowboys have not had any players declare they won’t play in the bowl game, in fact, quarterback Spencer Sanders, who had thumb surgery after the Kansas win, is out at practice and hoping to be cleared next week to play in the game.
The ESPN GameDay crew did make their early bowl picks and that included the Cowboys game with Texas A&M. It started with Desmond Howard siding with the “Bear.”
“I agree with Bear and I think Jimbo Fisher and the Aggies will get it done. I’m going Texas A&M,” declared Howard picking first.
The guest picker was Charles Barkley, who may have made some controversial comments in the past about Oklahoma City, but he likes the head coach at Oklahoma State.
“One of my favorite coaches, Coach Gundy, I’m going with Oklahoma State,” Charles Barkley said with a big smile.
This might make Cowboys fans feel better as former Indiana head coach Lee Corso topped everyone on the set this season in “Superdog” picks.
Lee Corso: 35 points/8 winners; Reese Davis: 21 points/4 winners; Desmond Howard: 18 points/3 winners; Kirk Herbstreit: 14 points/2 winners.
“That’s a great pick, about time you picked one Charles,” responded Corso right after Barkley picked the Pokes. “Run, run, Oklahoma State.”
“I’m going with Texas A&M,” said Kirk Herbstreit. “I think Jimbo Fisher and Kellen Mond has a chance to have a big game against that defense. I think it could be a shoot out, but I think Mond and A&M get it done.”
With the Bear, A&M has the edge on ESPN three-to-two, but I’d rather have the edge of top players being committed to playing in the game.