#23 Oklahoma State Cowboys (8-4) vs. Texas A&M Aggies (7-5)
NCAA Football: Friday, December 27th, 2019 at 6:45 pm ET (NRG Stadium)
Line and Odds: Texas A&M -5.5 Over/Under: 53
Free ESPN NCAA Football Picks Texas A&M Aggies vs. Oklahoma State Cowboys
It will be interesting to see the Oklahoma State players’ frame of mind as they head into the bowl game. The Cowboys are coming off of their best stretch of the season, winning 4 of their last 5 games. However, Oklahoma State lost its last game against the Oklahoma Sooners 34-16. Will the Cowboys be laser-focused to defeat the Aggies after having a blown a chance at beating their hated rivals and losing on Senior Day? In general, Oklahoma State has performed at a high level in bowl games under head coach Mike Gundy. In their last 9 bowl games, Oklahoma State has gone 7-2 straight up. The Cowboys have gone to bowl games in 14 straight seasons, going 9-4 SU in the previous 13.
Unlike the last two games of the season, Oklahoma State will have their freshman starting QB Spencer Sanders in the lineup. Sanders missed the West Virginia and Oklahoma games because of thumb surgery. Senior QB Dru Brown took the reins of the Oklahoma State offense in both games. Brown actually has a better QBR in limited action than Sanders, so the drop-off between the two is negligible. Coach Gundy says with Sanders healthy, he expects both Sanders and Brown to see time in the game. No matter who plays QB for the Cowboys, it is imperative for the offensive coaching staff to give the ball the RB Chuba Hubbard. The Canadian sensation leads the entire FBS in rushing yards and rushing yards per game. Hubbard has totaled 1,936 rushing yards, averaging 161.3 rush yards per game. He also ranks 3rd in rushing touchdowns, finding the end zone 21 times by way of the ground.
OK State averages 6.44 yards per play on offense, ranking 20th in the FBS in yards per play. They rank 16th in total offense, averaging 463.9 yards per game. The Cowboys average 33.6 points per game, which places them 27th in scoring offense. Oklahoma State ranks 81st in yards per play allowed, giving up 5.79 ypp. They rank 87th in total defense, giving up 418.1 yards per game. OK State ranks 61st in the FBS in terms of scoring defense, allowing 27.0 points per game.
Based solely on this year’s results, it’s difficult to know if the Texas A&M program is making progress or not. The Aggie fanbase is expecting big results after making expensive investments in the football program. Aggieland is so starved for big time football success, that the A&M administrators gave Jimbo Fisher a 10-year, $75 million contract in 2017. The previous coach, Kevin Sumlin, was essentially fired for going 8-5 every year. After going 9-4 in the previous year, Fisher is currently 7-5 in his 2nd season as Aggie head coach. A few more 5-loss seasons, and I could see Texas A&M getting anxious and impatient. Having said that, their 7-5 record is forgivable when you consider who they had to face on their schedule.
Texas A&M had to play at Clemson, at Georgia, and at LSU, and also had to face Alabama and Auburn at home. These were the teams that comprised their 5 losses and each of them finished with a top 15 ranking in the final College Football Playoff rankings. For the most part, the Aggies had respectable showings in these games. However, that view cannot be applied to their season finale when the lost at LSU 50-7. It was the first time under Jimbo Fisher that the Aggies put up such a humiliating scoreline. I look forward to seeing how they manage to bounce back from this defeat in the bowl game.
The leader of the Texas A&M offense is QB Kellen Mond. The junior QB has thrown for 2,802 passing yards, 19 touchdowns, 9 interceptions, and a QBR of 73.1. He will be looking to redeem himself after his performance against LSU in which he went 10 of 30 for 92 yards, 0 touchdowns, and 3 interceptions. Mond also happens to be their 2nd leading rusher, carrying the ball for 383 yards on the year. Their leading rusher, Isaiah Spiller, has compiled 869 yards and a 5.6 yards per carry average along with 9 rushing touchdowns. Mond’s two favorite targets are WRs Jhamon Ausbon and Quartney Davis. Ausbon ranks 8th in the SEC with 71.8 receiving yards per game, while Davis ranks 11th with 56.8 receiving yards per game.
Texas A&M ranks 66th in the FBS in yards per play, averaging 5.83 ypp. They rank 77th in total offense, averaging 398.8 yards per game. The Aggies average 30.0 points per game, ranking 60th in scoring offense on the year. Texas A&M’s defense gives up 5.22 yards per play, ranking 35th in the FBS in yards per play allowed. They rank 31st in total defense, allowing 340.8 yards per game. The Texas A&M Aggies rank 35th in scoring defense, giving up 22.4 points per game.
Cover The Spread 365 Betting Trends
The total has gone UNDER in 4 of Oklahoma State’s last 5 games.
Oklahoma State is 4-1 SU in their last 5 games.
Oklahoma State is 9-3 ATS in their last 12 games.
Texas A&M is 4-2 ATS in their last 6 games.
The total has gone UNDER in 4 of Texas A&M’s last 6 games.
Texas A&M is 11-5 SU in their last 16 games.
ESPN NCAA Football Scores Oklahoma State Cowboys vs. Texas A&M Aggies
I’m taking the Oklahoma State Cowboys +5.5 in this matchup. Oklahoma State’s strong recent history in bowl games under Mike Gundy makes me confident that his Cowboys will be ready to play. I’m not sure how Texas A&M will respond after that drubbing at the hands of LSU. Based on watching that LSU game, it looked like the previous week’s 19-13 loss to Georgia took a lot out of them. The Aggies had a shot to finally get a signature win under Jimbo Fisher, but they fell just shy. I’m not worried about the QB shuffling between Spencer Sanders and Dru Brown, because I’m confident both guys can run the offense effectively. Oklahoma State’s raw defensive statistics look very poor, but when you factor in strength of schedule, their numbers are respectable. The Cowboys actually rank 38th in defensive efficiency, according to ESPN. Oklahoma State’s defense should be able make life difficult for the Aggies’ offense. I believe Oklahoma State can at least keep this one close, so give me the underdog and the points.