Posts Tagged ‘Alamo Bowl free picks’

Alamo Bowl Picks: Arizona Wildcats vs. Oklahoma State Cowboys

December 29th, 2010 by Adam Markowitz (Bankroll Sports Columnist) | Posted in College Football   Comments Off on Alamo Bowl Picks: Arizona Wildcats vs. Oklahoma State Cowboys
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The Alamo Bowl is always one of the more interesting bowl games of the season, and this year should be no exception. Down in the Lone Star State, we’ll have our second bowl game of the day. Right at the conclusion of the Texas Bowl, the eyes on those making college football picks will turn to San Antonio, where the Oklahoma State Cowboys will look to wrap up a successful campaign against the struggling Arizona Wildcats. We have three very crucial keys to the game that must be analyzed in order to make your Alamo Bowl picks in this shootout in San Antonio.

Key #1: One of these two defenses really needs to find a way to improve its game
At the beginning of the season, the Wildcats had one of the most feared defenses in the entire country. They essentially shut out the Toledo Rockets and kept the Citadel Bulldogs to just two field goals. Sure, the Iowa Hawkeyes managed 27 points, but the Cal Golden Bears and Washington State Cougars didn’t reach double digits in points, and the Washington Huskies and UCLA Bruins were held to 14 and 21 points respectively. That’s when the wheels really fell off, though. The Stanford Cardinal and Oregon Ducks, both teams which run very similar offenses to that of Okie State, put 42 and 48 points on the board respectively, and in the interim, allowing 30 to an Arizona State Sun Devils squad that really never got much going this year against the Pac-10 was a bit embarrassing. For Oklahoma State, there was no doubt that this was a year for struggling, though it almost seems palatable when you consider how strong this offense was. The Pokes are coming off of a bad game against the Oklahoma Sooners in Bedlam in which they allowed 47 points, one of the worst games of their season. If you just take bowl teams this year, Okie State allowed an average of 32.3 points per game. In fairness, this was a brutal schedule that featured eight bowl teams and three other road games, with the only reprieve being a home opener against Wazzu. If the Cowboys can figure out how to keep Arizona under their averages of 413.5 yards and 27.8 points per game allowed, there won’t be any stopping them in the Alamo Bowl.

Alamo Bowl Odds at JustBet
Arizona Wildcats +4.5
Oklahoma State Cowboys -4.5
Over/Under 66.5
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Key #2: Nick Foles needs to get the winning touch again
We really do feel bad for Foles in this one. We know that the young man out of Austin would have had an absolutely tremendous year if not for the fact that he basically missed three full games with a knee injury that has plagued him ever since. If you had prorated his numbers over the entire season, Foles would be coming into this game with roughly 340 completions, nearly 4,000 yards, and 25 scores, and he would have been looked at as a passer that can keep up with the offense of the Cowboys. However, due to the injury, he is still shy of both the 3,000 yard and 20 TD barriers, though he should reach both of those fairly early on in the Alamo Bowl. Since coming back to the lineup, Foles has averaged 327.8 passing yards per game, but his team is 0-4 to show for it. He hasn’t won a game in which he both started and finished since September 25th against the Cal Golden Bears in spite of the fact that he has thrown three TD passes in four of the five losses. It’s not getting into the passing groove that we’re worried about with Foles. It’s the fact that we aren’t so sure that he really knows how to win anymore.

Key #3: The Pokes need to stay well rounded with their offense
No problem. Okie State nearly averaged 350+ yards per game through the air and 200+ yards per game on the ground this year. The Cowboys only rank behind the mighty Oregon Ducks this year in terms of total offense, as they are at 540.5 yards per game. However, this is the only team in the country that can profess to having a 1,500+ yard rusher and a 1,500+ yard passer. RB Kendall Hunter rushed the ball 261 times this year for 1,516 yards and 16 scores. However, if you think that makes this a running team, you’re crazy. QB Brandon Weeden threw for 4,037 yards and 32 TDs thanks to the fact that this is one of the quickest offenses in the nation in terms of running plays. The Cowboys averaged taking 75.8 snaps per game this year, and you can bet that they are going to try to reach at least 80, if not 90 in this game to really keep the pressure on the Wildcat defense. For as great as both Weeden and Hunter were this year, it is pretty clear that the best NFL prospect of the bunch is WR Justin Blackmon, who caught 102 passes for 1,665 yards and 18 TDs this year, and had he not been suspended for that DUI back in November, he would have really been a serious threat to reach the 2,000 yard mark in this, just his sophomore campaign.