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We hope you're a fan of football from the Lone Star State! If so, this is the day for you! After making your NCAA football picks on the Texas Bowl, kick back and soak in the game just a few miles up the road in San Antonio, where the Oklahoma State Cowboys and Arizona Wildcats will have at it in Alamo Bowl betting action.
Alamo Bowl Matchup: Arizona Wildcats vs. Oklahoma State Cowboys
Date: Wednesday, December 29th, 9:15 ET
Location: Alamodome, San Antonio, TX
Alamo Bowl Line: Oklahoma State -4.5
Wildcats Notes: The most alarming stat about Arizona this year is that QB Nick Foles hasn't won a game in which he was the starting quarterback and didn't leave injured since Week 4 of the season against the California Golden Bears. That's right. You have to go all the way back to September to find the last time that he was credit for the win in a game. Don't blame Foles, as he has averaged over 340 passing yards per game in that stretch and has thrown for exactly three TDs in that run four times in five games, but his defense and the rest of his team just haven't found ways to get the job done. For the season, Foles did end up with 2,911 yards and 19 TDs against just seven picks, but we have to remember that he missed two full games and essentially all of a third game with a knee injury in the middle of the season. Though not the most fluid offense in the world at times, the U of A knows how to put the stats together. Averaging 447.4 yards and 29.8 points per game was above average in the Pac-10, though that's not saying much since it is one of the four teams that were bowl eligible this year in this conference. WR Juron Criner is going to be in for a big day in all likelihood. He led the team this year in receiver with 74 grabs for 1,197 yards and ten scores. However, Head Coach Mike Stoops knows that the running game is going to be key. RB Keola Antolin and RB Nick Grigsby combined to rush for just 1,141 yards this year, but they did visit the end zone 15 times between them. A defense which allowed just 14.4 points per game in the first eight games of the season ended the year with four games in which it allowed 36.0 points per game, and matters could be made worse, not better, by the time the Alamo Bowl is over with tonight.
Cowboys Notes: If you love high flying teams that just damn playing defense on a regular basis and want to snap the ball 80 times per night, Okie State is the team for you. Head Coach Mike Gundy is going full speed ahead 100% of the time, even if his team is leading late in games. Sure, this quick fire offense has ultimately put the defense in some compromising positions this year, as it allowed 413.5 yards and 27.8 points per game this year, but when your offense in this good, you get a few passes. We also have to remember that the Cowboys did play one of the most difficult schedules in the nation. They didn't end up playing Iowa State and Colorado in the Big XII North, and they had both the Troy Trojans and Tulsa Golden Hurricane, both of which had great years and are bowling this season, out of conference. That gives even more credibility to this offense, which was really supposed to struggle at times this year with the departures of WR Dez Bryant and QB Zac Robinson. Unfortunately for the Big XII, no such luck. QB Brandon Weeden was the man that made the machine go. He threw for 4,037 yards and 32 TDs this year, and Gundy is already eyeing him for a 5,000 yard year next season. His top receiver was sophomore WR Justin Blackmon, who came out of nowhere to catch 102 passes for 1,665 yards and 18 TDs in 2010. On the ground, RB Kendall Hunter was great, rushing 261 times for 1,516 yards and 16 scores. To make matters worse for the rest of the country, all of these guys are still young and have at least one, and if some cases, multiple years in Stillwater. This unit was already averaging over 540 yards per game this year, second behind just the Oregon Ducks nationally, and we can only imagine what another year of training is going to do for these guys.
The Final Word: Even though this has lately become a bowl season of upsets and unexpected results, we think that we should finally expect the expected instead of the unexpected on Wednesday night. The Cowboys overachieved all season long, while Arizona, once a Top 10 team in the country in its own right, really has just fallen off the face of the earth. There should be a ton of points in this one, but when push really comes to shove, the game will belong to Okie State, as there will be celebrating in the streets of Stillwater on Wednesday.
Alamo Bowl Free Pick: Oklahoma State -4.5
Alamo Bowl Prediction: Oklahoma State 51 – Arizona 38