Cotton Bowl Handicapping Picks: #13 Oklahoma State Cowboys vs #8 Missouri Tigers
2014 AT&T Cotton Bowl Classic
#13 Oklahoma State Cowboys vs #8 Missouri Tigers
AT&T Stadium – Arlington, Texas
Friday, January 3, 2014, 8:00 pm Eastern, TV: Fox
Opening Line: Missouri pick
Current Line: Oklahoma State -1 1/2
Opening Total: 60 1/2
Current Total: 61
Opening Money Line: Missouri -115 / Oklahoma State -105
Current Money Line: Oklahoma State -120 / Missouri +100
Although both the 10-2 Oklahoma State Cowboys and 11-2 Missouri Tigers were one win away from conference titles, they will have to settle for a berth in the 2014 AT&T Cotton Bowl in Arlington, Texas. The #13 Cowboys, coached by Mike Gundy, went 7-2 in the Big 12 and tied with Oklahoma and Texas for second behind 8-1 Baylor. OSU lost to rival Oklahoma 33-24 in the last game of the season, and it cost the Cowboys the Big 12 title and a berth in a BCS game.
The #8 Missouri Tigers, coached by Gary Pinkel, won the SEC East title with a 7-1 record over 6-2 South Carolina. Missouri lost to Auburn 59-42 in the SEC Championship game. Missouri likely would have played Florida State in the BCS Championship game with a win.
Missouri and Oklahoma State were longtime rivals in the Big 8 and Big 12 before Missouri moved to the SEC in 2012. The Tigers lead the series 28-23 against the Cowboys but OSU has won the last 3 meetings, including 45-24 in Columbia in 2011.
Oklahoma State is 15-8 all-time in bowl games. The Cowboys are making their 8th straight bowl appearance and have won 3 straight bowl games. Oklahoma State dismantled Purdue 58-14 in the Heart of Dallas Bowl last year. The Cowboys are 1-2 in the Cotton Bowl in history, including 2 losses to Mississippi in 2003 and 2009.
Missouri is 13-16 all-time in bowl games. Missouri missed going to bowl last year for the first time in 7 seasons. The Tigers beat North Carolina 41-24 in the 2011 Independence Bowl in the last bowl appearance for Missouri. Missouri is 1-1 all time in the Cotton Bowl, including a 38-7 win over Arkansas in 2007.
Oklahoma State has a road loss to West Virginia 30-21 in addition to the home loss to Oklahoma. The Cowboys have a win over Mississippi State 21-3 in Houston, along with home wins over Lamar 59-3, Kansas State 33-29, TCU 24-10, Kansas 42-6, and Baylor 49-17. OSU has road wins over UTSA 56-35, Iowa State 58-27, Texas Tech 52-34, and Texas 38-13. Before the Oklahoma loss, the Cowboys had won 7 straight games. Oklahoma State is 8-4 ATS and the total is 4-7-1 this season. The Cowboys were 10 point favorites against the Sooners and the total was 57.
Oklahoma State is outscoring teams 40-20 this season. The Cowboys are #12 in both points allowed and in scoring out of 125 FBS teams. OSU is averaging 440.9 total yards (#40 nationally) per game on offense, including 268.5 passing (#29 nationally) and 172.4 yards. On defense, the Cowboys are allowing 378.5 total yards per game on defense, including 245.6 passing (#86 nationally) and 132.9 rushing (#22 nationally) yards. Oklahoma St is +15 in turnovers with 30 takeaways. The Cowboys are averaging 57 penalty yards per game and opponents are averaging 58. The Cowboys are 71/184 on third and fourth down conversions, and opponents are 80/239. OSU has forced 23 sacks and allowed 10. The Pokes are 53/60 scoring in the red zone with 46 touchdowns, and their opponents are 28/41 with 17 touchdowns. The Cowboys have 7 defensive/special teams touchdowns and have allowed 5 this season.
Oklahoma State has used two quarterbacks this season. Clint Chelf has completed 56% of his passes for 1,792 yards with 15 touchdowns and 6 picks, along with 53 carries for 321 yards and 6 touchdowns. He has started the last 7 games, and will start the Cotton Bowl. J.W. Walsh has completed 59.5% of his passes for 1,333 yards with 9 touchdowns and 5 interceptions, along with with 58 carries for 294 yards and 3 touchdowns. Walsh hasn’t played in three games. He might see some snaps against Missouri if Chelf struggles but it is unlikely.
Running back Desmond Roland has 160 carries, 745 yards and 12 touchdowns, along with 8 catches for 80 yards and 3 touchdowns. Jeremy Smith has 115 carries, 442 yards and 9 touchdowns, along with 11 catches. Rennie Childs has 38 carries for 177 yards and a touchdown, along with 3 catches for 45 yards. Kye Staley has 2 rushing touchdowns.
Receiver Tracy Moore has 44 catches for 638 yards and 6 touchdowns. Josh Stewart has 52 catches for 623 yards with 2 touchdowns, along with 42 rushing yards and two punt returns for touchdowns. Jhajuan Seales has 36 catches, 529 yards and 2 touchdowns. Charlie Moore has 31 catches, 415 yards and 5 touchdowns. Blake Jackson has 6 catches, 98 yards and 2 touchdowns. Cornerback Justin Gilbert has a kick return for a touchdown. Receiver Austin Hays is questionable for undisclosed reasons and Blake Webb is out for the season.
Missouri’s only other loss came at home to South Carolina 27-24 in double overtime. In that game the Tigers led 17-0 going into the fourth quarter, but the Gamecocks mounted a furious comeback to send the game into overtime. Missouri has home wins over Murray State 58-14, Toledo 38-23, Arkansas State 41-19, Florida 36-17, Tennessee 31-3, and Texas A&M 28-21. The Tigers also have road wins at Indiana 45-28, Vanderbilt 51-28, Georgia 41-26, Kentucky 48-17, and Ole Miss 24-10. Missouri is 10-2-1 ATS and the total is 7-6 this season. Missouri was a 2 point favorite against Auburn in Atlanta and the total was 59.5.
Missouri is outscoring teams 39-23 this season. The Tigers are #15 in scoring and #29 in points allowed nationally. Missouri is averaging 482.9 total yards a game on offense including 256.5 passing and 236.5 rushing yards. The Tigers are #16 in total offense and #16 in rushing nationally. Missouri is #39 in passing. On defense, Missouri is allowing 407.1 yards per game including 255.2 passing and 151.8 rushing yards. The Tigers are #101 in pass defense nationally. Missouri is +16 in turnovers with 29 takeaways. The Tigers average 39 penalty yards per game and opponents average 51. Missouri is 88/190 on third and fourth down conversions and opponents are 88/225. The Tigers have forced 38 sacks and allowed 25. Missouri is 52/60 scoring in the red zone with 42 touchdowns and opponents and opponents are 37/44 with 26 touchdowns. The Tigers have 4 defensive touchdowns this season and have allowed a kick return for a touchdown.
Missouri quarterback James Franklin missed several games with a shoulder injury. Franklin has played the last three games. He was replaced by freshman quarterback Maty Mauk four four games. Franklin has completed 65.6% of his passes for 2,255 yards with 19 touchdowns and 5 interceptions, along with 106 carries for 474 yards and 4 touchdowns. Mauk has completed 51.2% of his passes for 1,039 yards with 10 touchdowns and 2 interceptions, along with 38 catches, 156 yards and a touchdown.
Running back Henry Josey has 162 carries for 1,074 yards and 13 touchdowns, along with 9 catches for 55 yards and a touchdown reception. Russell Hansbrough has 105 carries for 660 yards and 4 touchdowns, plus a catch. Marcus Murphy has 85 carries for 571 yards and 9 touchdowns, plus 10 catches for 71 yards and a touchdown.
Receiver L’Damian Washington has 47 catches for 853 yards and 10 touchdowns. He is probable with a toe injury. Dorial Green-Beckham has 55 catches for 830 yards and 12 touchdowns. He is probable with a shoulder injury. Marcus Lucas has 55 catches for 646 yards and 2 touchdowns. He is probable with a hand injury. Bud Sasser has 23 catches for 326 yards and a touchdown, and also threw a touchdown pass. He is probable with an ankle injury. Jimmie Hunt has 21 catches for 245 yards and a touchdown.
Oklahoma State is 12-2 ATS after failing to cover, 6-1 overall, 4-1 in non-conference games, and 38-18 on fieldturf. The Cowboys are 4-1 ATS in the last five against the Tigers, and the under is 4-1 in those games.
Missouri is 7-0 ATS after gaining 450 total yards or more, 5-0-1 after scoring 40 points or more, 4-0 in Friday games, 3-0-1 in non-conference games, 25-4 after allowing 40 points or more, 10-2-1 overall, 8-2 after a straight up loss, 8-2-1 on fieldturf, 7-2-1 after allowing more than 450 total yards, 10-3 after failing to cover, 6-2-1 after rushing for 200 yards or more, 6-2 against teams with winning records, 5-2 after allowing less than 170 passing yards, and 4-9 in neutral site games.
Both of these teams have explosive offenses but have terrible pass defenses. They both force a lot of turnovers and which ever team can force the most might make the difference. Missouri’s top four receivers are expected to play, but are all battling injuries. I think there will be a ton of points scored in this game, and I think it will come down to a late field goal.