Colorado vs. Oklahoma State, 12/29/16 – Prediction & Preview
Written by: Nikhil Kalro
Oklahoma State Cowboys (9-3, 7-5 ATS) at Colorado Buffaloes (10-3, 10-3 ATS)
Valero Alamo Bowl: Thursday, December 29 at 9.00 PM ET, Alamodome, San Antonio, Texas
The Line: Colorado -3
Between 1920 and 2009, both these teams met on 46 occasions, the Buffaloes won 26 of them. Both will meet again in the Valero Alamo Bowl on Thursday night in a matchup between two strong offenses. The Cowboys finished their season 9-3, while the Colorado Buffaloes lost their Pac-12 championship game to Washington 41-10, finishing 10-3.
MacIntyre leads Buffaloes to another bowl
The Colorado Buffaloes enjoyed a breakout season, one that saw them lift their performances, spirits and morale. Over their last five seasons, the Buffaloes finished 5-40 in Pac-12 conference play. They bounce back from that with a 10-2 season to finish first in the Pac-12 South.
They did, however, get hammered in the Pac-12 championship game to No.4 Washington 41-10. “What’s been so awesome about this team is they’ve looked adversity right in the face for a few years and didn’t let it break them, they let it make them,” fourth-year coach Mike MacIntyre said earlier this month. “That’s why we’ve achieved.” The season helped MacIntyre win the Associated Press, Home Depot and Walter Camp national coach of the year awards.
In terms of offense, the Buffaloes were led by QB Sefo Liufau who threw for 2171 yards with 11 touchdowns. He was helped along the way by RB Phillip Lindsay who rushed for 1189 yards on 230 carries with 16 touchdowns. The Buffaloes rank in the top 20 nationally, with 328.3 yards allowed and just 20.5 points per game. Defensive coordinator Jim Leavitt may not be involved in this game with a job at Oregon looming.
Rudolph, Hill, Washington lead Cowboys to 9-3
QB Mason Rudolph had an outstanding season, passing for 3777 yards with 25 touchdowns to lead the No. 12 Oklahoma State Cowboys to second in the Big 12 with a 9-3 season. The Cowboys began the season 2-2, but pulled off seven wins on the bounce thereon, setting up a championship game with the Sooners, a game that was won on a stellar second-half performance from Oklahoma.
After the game, this is what 12-year Cowboys coach Mike Gundy said: “We want to win them all. But I get over the games really fast because I believe if we think one second about the past, that keeps us from thinking about being positive in the future, then that’s one second that doesn’t give us an opportunity to be successful the next day.”
RB Justice Hill has gained 1042 yards on 187 carries, while WR James Washington has managed 1209 receiving yards with nine touchdowns. They’ve all combined to help the Cowboys muster 38.7 points per game, 19th in the country.
Colorado Buffaloes are:
- 6-1 ATS in their last 7 games after allowing less than 170 yards passing in their previous game.
- 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games following a straight up loss
- 4-1-1 ATS in their last 6 non-conference games.
Oklahoma State Cowboys are:
- 3-7 ATS in their last 10 games after allowing more than 200 yards rushing in their previous game.
I’m taking the Buffaloes to win and cover the spread because of their more all-round offense, and with a defense that makes opponents work for scoring possessions. Rudolph, Hill and Washington are a formidable trio that will help the Buffaloes put up points. The only question lingering is whether the Buffaloes can choke the Cowboys offense. My answer is yes.
The Pick: Colorado Buffaloes -3
Nikhil has been working with ESPN since the age of 18 and covers cricket for their website ESPNcricinfo. When not writing or editing news, game reports, commentary and analysis stories, he is following American sports. A love for stats and patterns, research and results and plain simple learning with a few years of handicapping experience makes him almost 0.500 reliable. A degree in business administration and a keen eye for volatile industries like the stock market help too.
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