Missouri Tigers vs. Oklahoma State Cowboys Cotton Bowl Pick-Odds-Prediction 1/3/14
Oklahoma State Cowboys (10-2) at Missouri Tigers (11-2)
College Football: Friday, January 3, 2014 at 8:00 pm (AT&T Stadium)
The Line: Missouri Tigers +1 -- Over/Under: 62 See the Latest Odds
The Oklahoma State Cowboys play the Missouri Tigers in the Cotton Bowl on Friday night.
Oklahoma State finished 10-2 overall and 7-2 in Big 12 competition during the regular season. The Cowboys rotated quarterbacks early in the season but have settled on senior QB Clint Chelf as their man, and with good reason. Chelf has passed for 1,792 yards with 15 touchdowns and six interceptions while adding 321 yards and six TDs on the ground at a clip of 6.1 yards per carry. The Cowboys are tough against the run, tied for 22nd nationally at 132.9 yards allowed per game, and have a lockdown cornerback in All-American Justin Gilbert. Oklahoma State averages 39.8 points with a well balanced offense that averages 440.9 yards per game. The Cowboys have forced 30 turnovers this year and are plus-15 in that department thru twelve games.
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The Missouri Tigers finished the regular season 11-2 overall and 7-1 in the SEC. The Tigers were quietly one of the best running teams in the SEC thanks to three running backs who each have more than 500 yards on the ground and QB James Franklin, who finished with 474 rushing yards and 4 rushing touchdowns. RB Henry Josey had 1,074 rushing yards and 13 scores, RB Russell Hansbrough finished with 660 rushing yards and 4 touchdowns, while RB Marcus Murphy finished with 571 rushing yards and 9 touchdowns. Missouri also has a bevy of talented and tall receivers led by Dorial Green-Beckham, 55 catches for 830 yards and 12 touchdowns, and L'Damian Washington, who finished with 47 catches for 853 yards and 10 touchdowns. Missouri's defense had a great season with All-America DE Michael Sam leading the way, but the Tigers were gashed for 677 total yards, 545 on the ground, in their 59-42 loss to Auburn in the SEC Championship game.
This is definitely the best non-BCS matchup of the bowl season. Both teams were one win away from BCS berths, and for the Tigers they were perhaps one win away from the national title game. The Cowboys won the last three meetings when the teams were Big 12 foes after Missouri had won four of the previous five. Even though both defenses are good, I expect a shootout with two balanced offenses. The over seems like a good play in what should be a close game down to the final possession.