WHO: 11-2 Missouri (SEC) vs. 10-2 Oklahoma State (Big 12)
WHAT: Cotton Bowl Classic (78th Year)
WHERE: AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas
WHEN: Jan. 3 at 7:30 p.m. ET
WHY: We may not get a more balanced bowl game in terms of competition. Oklahoma State and Missouri, statistically, are about as even as can be, and each should be capable of putting up some points in this one. Oklahoma State averages 39.8 points per game, just above the 39.0 ppg being put up by the Tigers.
In a clash of almost-conference champions, Missouri will hope to get more good play out of quarterback James Franklin while the defense looks for ways to lock down on defense after being run over by Auburn. Outside of the SEC Championship Game, Missouri’s defense has generally been pretty good this season. The Tigers held seven of their opponents to 21 points or fewer this season. It starts up front with defensive lineman Michael Sam and continues in the back-field with E.J. Gaines. Both earned First Team All-SEC honors this season.
That defense will look to slow down an Oklahoma State offense that has scored no fewer than 21 points in any game this season. The Cowboys will have to utilize an up-tempo style at times to keep Missouri guessing. Oklahoma State will not pound the running game the way Auburn did, but they should not stray away from it despite mediocre results this season. Look for quarterback Clint Chelf to try to take advantage of short, quick and accurate passes to keep the offense moving.
Of course, these are two former Big 12 foes as well, so the familiarity level with the programs should be pretty solid. the all-time series has a slight edge in favor of Missouri too, with a 28-23 mark dating back to 1915.
PREDICTION: Oklahoma State 38, Missouri 33