Mississippi (9-3) vs Oklahoma State (10-2)
When: Friday, January 1st 2016
Where: Mercedes-Benz Superdome, New Orleans, LA
Time: 8:30 ET | TV: ESPN
Two high-flying offenses will meet in this year’s Sugar Bowl when the Mississippi Rebels take on the Oklahoma State Cowboys in New Orleans. Oklahoma State had dreams of reaching the College Football Playoffs and were undefeated at 10-0 when they suffered back-to-back home losses to Oklahoma and Baylor. Quarterback Mason Rudolph was in a walking boot last week, but is expected to play today against Ole Miss. Rudolph put up some big numbers this season passing for 3,591 yards, 21 touchdowns, and 9 interceptions. He shard some time with J.W. Walsh who threw 13 touchdowns to just one interception, so the Cowboys have a capable backup in case Rudolph isn’t 100%. While the passing game ranked 7th in the nation, the running game was dreadful ranking 109th in FBS. As a team, they average only 3.7 yard a carry and Chris Carson (504 yards) was the only back to gain more than 300 yards this season. Sophomore James Washington is the Cowboys best wideout catching 52 passes for 1,077 yards and 10 touchdowns. The defense was a problem this season especially in the last two losses when they gave up 103 points to Baylor and Oklahoma. They ended up 95th in yards allowed (429.5) and 85th in points allowed (29.0).
Ole Miss will try and do better than last year’s Peach Bowl when they were destroyed by another Big 12 team TCU 42-3. The season started out strong for Ole Miss who were 4-0 including a signature win at Alabama, but then they dropped two of three to begin October. They rebounded and ended the season winning four of five with the only loss coming to Arkansas 53-52. They should feel very fortunate to be playing in the Sugar Bowl with three losses. They have the 10th best passing attack in the country led by Junior QB Chad Kelly. He threw 27 touchdowns this season and has 7 TDs and zero interceptions in his last three games. Laquon Treadwell was far and away the Rebels best playmaker catching 76 passes for 1,082 yards and eight touchdowns. He had six 100+ yard games, but was limited to just 22 yards in the season finale against rival Mississippi State. Ole Miss junior defensive lineman Robert Nkemdiche – the team’s best defensive player – will not play in the Sugar Bowl after he was charged with misdemeanor marijuana possession following an incident in which he fell 15 feet from a window. He announced he will enter the NFL draft and will likely be a top-10 pick. They will miss him up front, but Oklahoma State isn’t a good running team anyway. The problem will be stopping the Cowboys passing game. Ole Miss ranked 100th in FBS allowing 255.1 passing yards a game.
I really should take Ole Miss here as Oklahoma State is coming in on a down note, but I just can’t lay the 7.5 against a team that can score points. This was a tough one for me to pick, but I’m taking the Cowboys for a small play.
Pick: Oklahoma State +7.5