Oklahoma State (9-3) vs Colorado (10-3)
When: Thursday, December 29th 2016
Where: Alamodome, San Antonio, TX
Time: 9:00 ET | TV: ESPN
Former Big 8/12 foes the Oklahoma State Cowboys and Colorado Buffaloes will meet in this year’s Alamo Bowl on December 29th from San Antonio, Texas. Colorado is coming off one of the more remarkable turnarounds in FBS history and it gave head coach Mike MacIntyre the Associated Press, Home Depot and Walter Camp national coach of the year awards. The Buffaloes were 5-40 in its first five seasons of Pac-12 play, but turned that around to an 8-1 (10-3 overall) record and won the Pac-12 South. The Buffaloes were dominated by College Football Playoff-bound Washington 41-10 in the Pac-12 championship game December 2nd to end the season on a down note, but will have a chance to win their first Bowl game since the 2004 Houston Bowl. The Buffaloes are trying to become the fourth team in program history to win 11 games, and keeping record-setting senior quarterback Sefo Liufau (2,171 passing yards, 496 rushing, 18 total TDs) healthy will be a key as injuries kept him unable to play or finish each of the team’s three losses this season, including the Pac-12 title game. Running back Phillip Lindsay (230 carries, 1,189 yards, 16 TDs) and wide receiver Shay Fields (52 receptions, 845 yards, nine TDs) are Liufau’s top weapons to work with. Colorado is averaging 32.8 points (tied for 43rd FBS) and 446.3 yards (43rd) per contest. Led by linebacker Kenneth Olugbode (105 total tackles), linebacker Jimmie Gilbert (10.5 sacks) and safety Tedric Thompson (seven interceptions), Colorado ranks in the top 20 nationally in total defense (328.3 yards allowed), scoring (20.5 points) and passing defense (182.5) while also recording 26 takeaways (tied for seventh nationally). While watching this game, you can play the best casino games at UK-K8 and not even get off your couch.
The Cowboys also ended their season on a down-note after reeling of nine straight wins to be in position for a de facto Championship with Oklahoma for the Big 12 crown. The game was tied at 17 at halftime, but the No. 7 Sooners owned the second half, outscoring the Cowboys 21-3 to cap their undefeated run through the Big 12 and send Oklahoma State to San Antonio. This will be the Cowboys’ 11th straight bowl appearance under Gundy, the former Oklahoma State quarterback, and it is also the program’s fourth overall appearance in the Alamo Bowl with the last one coming in 2010 (a 36-10 victory over Arizona). In quarterback Mason Rudolph (3,777 yards, 25 touchdown passes), running back Justice Hill (187 carries, 1,042 yards, five TDs) and wide receiver James Washington (62 catches, 1,209 yards, nine TDs), the Cowboys are one of six FBS teams with a 3,500-yard passer, 1,000-yard rusher and 1,000-yard receiver, and are averaging 492.1 yards (17th nationally) and 38.7 points (19th) per game. Free safety Jordan Sterns (team-most 96 total tackles) and defensive tackle Vincent Taylor (12 tackles for loss, six sacks) are the leaders for the Cowboys’ defense, which is surrendering 457.0 yards (108th FBS) and 28.1 points (tied for 65th) per outing but has forced 24 turnovers and ranks ninth nationally with a +10 turnover differential.
I think the underrated Colorado defense will do enough to slow down the Cowboys and give the offense a chance to scorch this dreadful Oklahoma State defense. Expect a lot of scoring, but Colorado will pull it out.
Pick: Colorado -3