Texas A&M vs. Oklahoma State: Academy Sports + Outdoors Texas Bowl fearless prediction and game preview.
Texas A&M vs. Oklahoma State: Academy Sports + Outdoors Texas Bowl Broadcast
Texas A&M (7-5) vs. Oklahoma State (8-4) Game Preview
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Three Reasons Why You Should Watch The Academy Sports + Outdoors Texas Bowl
– Nah, it’s not the Texas vs. Texas A&M matchup that would’ve been a whole lot of fun, but it’s still a Big 12 vs. former Big 12 matchup. The two last played when they were Big 12 South brothers, with Oklahoma State winning to close out a run of four straight victories in the series after losing four straight.
The Cowboys have been fantastic in bowl games under Mike Gundy, winning three straight and seven of their last nine. There might not be a chance at ten wins this season to make it four ten-win victory campaigns in the last five, but going 9-4 with a win over an SEC team would be strong after coming up with just seven wins last year.
– Jimbo Fisher is pretty good at this whole bowl thing, too. His Florida State team lost the first ever College Football Playoff game – a loss Oregon in the 2015 Rose – and his team lost the following season in the 2015 Peach to Tom Herman’s Houston squad. That’s been it. Overall, Fisher is 6-2 in bowls including last year’s 52-13 blasting of NC State in the Gator.
– Can we get a repeat of last year’s Academy Sports + Outdoors Texas Bowl? Baylor’s 45-38 win over Vanderbilt was arguably the best game of the last bowl season – a back-and-forth battle with both teams trading haymakers – to make it three straight wins for the Big 12 over the SEC.
And now it’s on.
Michigan State and Wake Forest will play in the New Era Pinstripe earlier in the day, but Texas A&M vs. Oklahoma State on a Friday night in Houston will bring the fans and a whole lot of energy. With the College Football Playoff the next day, this is when the bowl season kicks into high gear.
CFN Podcast: Texas Bowl discussion, picks
Why Texas A&M Will Win
– Kellen Mond, your table is ready. He was hardly awful overall, but he struggled against the big boys, was miserable against LSU, and wasn’t the differentiating factor he should’ve been considering his experience and the good receivers he had to work with. Now it’s time to have some fun.
Oklahoma State’s secondary wasn’t totally destroyed – it gave up four touchdown passes in three games, and two in two others – but it allowed a ton of yards, a ton of big plays, and was getting hammered on late in the season. A&M is 6-1 when Mond connected on at least 60% of his passes with the only loss coming in the fight against Auburn. Oklahoma State’s pass defense? It allows quarterbacks to connect on 60% of their passes.
– Oklahoma State doesn’t have all of its offensive parts. It lost star receiver Tylan Wallace with a month to go, Dru Brown has been fine in place of Spencer Sanders at quarterback, but Sanders is back – is he ready and up to speed? And then there’s Chuba Hubbard.
The nation’s leading running back has been practicing with the team and appears to be ready to go for the bowl game, but … the solid A&M run defense should be able to keep him from going off if he really does go. Only two teams – Ole Miss and Mississippi State – ran for over 200 yards on the Aggie D, and A&M won both games.
– Texas A&M beat all the teams at its level or lower, and went 0-5 against the big boys. Yeah, A&M is supposed to be good enough to be one of those star teams, but give just about anyone else this schedule and the results wouldn’t have been a whole lot better.
At Clemson, Auburn, Alabama, at Georgia, at LSU – A&M has been great against everyone else. However, Mississippi State is the only team the Aggies beat that’s going bowling. Dominate Oklahoma State, and the team will likely be remembered for its brutal slate – which is a bit easier next year, by the way.
Why Oklahoma State Will Win
– It’s possible to throw on the Texas A&M secondary. It allowed over 200 yards six times, was ripped to shreds by Justin Burrow and Tua Tagovailoa, and struggled overall against the better passing teams. The Aggies were 0-4 when allowing more than seven yards per pass.
In his short time, Oklahoma State QB Dru Brown is averaging close to eight yards per throw.
Worst of all for A&M, there wasn’t much of a pass rush to begin with, and now it’ll be without top sacker Justin Madubuike, who’s leaving early to get ready for the NFL. Brown is a baller who doesn’t necessarily need the extra time to work, but he’ll get it.
– Oklahoma State isn’t great when it comes to turnover margin – it gave the ball away two more times than A&M did – but the Aggies have bigger issues when it comes to winning the battle.
When the Cowboys lost the turnover fight, they really lost it – like going -5 against Texas Tech. However, they were in the negative five times. A&M lost the turnover battle in seven games, only won it twice – against Texas State and Mississippi State – and were a -6 in the five losses.
– The Texas A&M offensive line was okay for the ground game – not great, but okay – but it was awful in pass protection allowing an SEC-worst 33 sacks. The Oklahoma State pass rush isn’t special, but it was consistently decent over the second half of the year.
The Cowboys don’t have to come up with a ton of sacks on Kellen Mond, but they have to keep the pressure on. They have a huge advantage if the Aggies – who are stunningly thin at running back – have to rely on their ground game to pull this off.