HOUSTON, Texas -- I just made the drive back from TDESCU Stadium and the University of Houston campus and the final practice of the season. Now it is time to narrow this thing down and make some predictions and find some key match-ups for the Academy Sports and Outdoors Texas Bowl. The Aggies have sold out their allotment of tickets for the game and unfortunately, at last report, those tickets were selling just moderately out of the Oklahoma State ticket office. That's okay, the heavy lifting will all be left on football to reach for higher bowl plateaus. I think many Cowboy fans feel that's the way it should be. They will show up now for a CFP game or a New Year's Six game. To those that will be making the trek down to Houston, I know the Cowboy players are prepared to play hard in representing you and giving you a reason to be proud with a fourth straight and 10th bowl win under Mike Gundy.
This will be similar to what we've always done with a few new wrinkles. How about the match-up and some statistical predictions for that match-up. Then we can go back and see how close we truly were.
This game matches old Big 12 foes and while the Aggies have the overall series lead at 17-10, Oklahoma State was riding a four-game win streak over the Ags when they hightailed it for the SEC. Oklahoma State is also 2-1 in bowl games against former Big 12 teams that departed as the Cowboys beat Missouri in the AutoZone LIberty Bowl last December 38-33 and downed Colorado 38-8 in the Valero Alamo Bowl in 2016. The lone loss was a 41-31 defeat at the hands of Missouri in the 2014 Cotton Bowl.
This game, as it is with most bowl games, will hinge on who is ready and wants to play. Oklahoma State has been very motivated in bowl games. I also think it will ride on which offense can establish themselves. I think the Cowboys must run the ball and I think the Aggies need to have some success through the air.
|Oklahoma State Cowboys ||vs.||Texas A&M Aggies|
Linebackers Amen Ogbongbemiga and Malcolm Rodriguez
Quarterback Kellen Mond
The Cowboys top two tacklers with 182 tackles combined. They were involved in five turnovers.
Averaged 265.5-yards of offense a game
We predict that Mond will get right at his average, but no more. The tandem of Ogbongbemiga and Rodriguez will finish with a combined 19 tackles, two tackles for loss, a sack and a fumble either forced or recovered, preferably both. This match-up swings to the Cowboys.
|Oklahoma State Cowboys||vs. ||Texas A&M Aggies|
cornerback A.J. Green
wide receiver Jhamon Ausbon
Green earned All-Big 12 honors with 48 tackles, a pick-six, and five passes defended
Back home in Houston, Ausbon this season had 65 rec. for 862-yards and four touchdowns
Green will be looking for one final time to impress NFL scouts and he is playing the Senior Bowl coming up. I look at Green, who will draw Ausbon to play well. I'm going to predict an interception. However, Ausbon has some success too. He finishes with six catches for 112-yards and a touchdown as the Aggies leading receiver in the game.
|Oklahoma State Cowboys ||vs.||Texas A&M Aggies|
Chuba Hubbard, running back and nation's leading rusher
Linebackers Anthony Hines III and Buddy Richardson
Hubbard was a monster this season 309 carries for 1,998-yards and 21 touchdowns
Aggies top two tacklers combining for 141 stops, 19.5 tackles for loss, and two turnovers
A&M has a lot of pride defensively and opponents only averaged 129.1-yards rushing this season, but they didn't deal with Chuba. Hubbard is now rested and ready. He and his offensive line are determined for 2,000-yards, which won't take much, but they won't stop there. Hubbard gets his fifth 200-yards plus game with 211-yards and two touchdowns as Oklahoma State has plenty of offensive success.
Our Prediction: Cowboys come out fast and jump on the Aggies and then as A&M fights back they stay ahead on the scoreboard and win an entertaining game at 38-34. If it sounds familiar, last year in Mempis it was 38-33 over Missouri.
Big 12 Bowl Predictions
For the fifth straight season we finished on the positive side in our picks against the spread. For professional reasons, we won't go back and republish out last picks and standings, but we finished six games over .500 against the spread. Not our best season by far, but still with head above water. Here are out Big 12 bowl picks.
Friday, December 27
Academy Sports + Outdoors Texas Bowl, Houston, Texas
No. 25 Oklahoma State vs. Texas A&M (-6.5) (ESPN) 5:45 p.m.
Pokes Report Says: 38-34 Oklahoma State
Saturday, December 28
Camping World Bowl, Orlando, Fla.
Iowa State vs. No. 15 Notre Dame (-3.5) (ABC) 11:00 a.m.
Pokes Report Says: 28-27 Notre Dame
CFP Semifinal at the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl
No. 4 Oklahoma vs. No. 1 LSU (-13.5) (ESPN) 3:00 p.m.
Pokes Report Says: 45-28 LSU
Tuesday, December 31
AutoZone Liberty Bowl, Memphis, Tenn.
Kansas State vs. No. 23 Navy (-2.5) (ESPN) 2:45 p.m.
Pokes Report Says: 24-21 Navy
Valero Alamo Bowl, San Antonio, Texas
Texas vs. No. 11 Utah (-7) (ESPN) 6:30 p.m.
Pokes Report Says: 31-14 Utah
Wednesday, January 1
Allstate Sugar Bowl, New Orleans
No. 7 Baylor vs. No. 5 Georgia (-6) (ESPN) 7:45 p.m.
Pokes Report Says: 31-21 Baylor