The 2013 Cotton Bowl features an excellent matchup of two storied, and successful programs in the 9th ranked Texas A&M Aggies (10-2) now of the SEC and the 11th ranked Oklahoma Sooners (10-2) of the Big 12 in a primetime (8:00pm ET) game at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, TX. The Aggies, led by first year Head Coach Kevin Sumlin and Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Johnny Manziel, are 7-5 ATS this season. The Sooners, led by longtime Head Coach Bob Stoops and quarterback Landry Jones in his final collegiate game, are 6-6 ATS this season.
The Texas A&M offense, as one might expect of a unit that features a Heisman-caliber quarterback, ranks among the country’s best in terms of production with an average of 44.8 points per game (3rd best among FBS teams) and 552.3 yards per contest (also 3rd best among FBS teams). Manziel set an SEC record with 4,600 total yards this season, passing for 3,419 yards and 24 TDS while running for 1,181 yards and 19 TDs. The Aggie defense ranks 29th nationally in points allowed with an average of 22.5 per game and 58th in total defense with 389.3 YPG allowed.
The Oklahoma offense is a also a prolific unit with a top-10 passing game that under the direction of a 4-year starter who holds all of the major school records in Jones (3,975 yards passing, 29 TDs, 10 INTs), has averaged 340.5 YPG through the air to rank 5th in the nation in passing offense. The Sooners rank 11th in scoring with 40.2 PPG and 10 thin total offense with 505.2 YPG. Defensively OU ranks 40th in points allowed with 24.2 per game and 45th in total defense with 378.8 YPG allowed.
Texas A&M vs. Oklahoma Spread, Line and Betting Odds:
Texas A&M Aggies -3
@ Oklahoma Sooners +3
Over 72 (-110)
Under 72 (-110)
Betting odds taken from Bovada.lv
Texas A&M vs. Oklahoma Pick:
Texas A&M is 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games overall, 3-12 ATS in their last 15 games against teams with a winning record and 1-5 ATS in their last 6 bowl games. The Sooners are 6-2 ATS in their last 8 non-conference games, but 1-5 ATS in their last 6 January games and 0-4 ATS in their last 4 games against teams from the SEC. The under is 6-1 in A&M’s last 7 games against teams with a winning record and 5-2 in their last 7neutral site games. The over is 5-1 in the Sooners’ last 5 games overall, 502 in their last 7 neutral site games and 5-2 in their last 7 games against teams with a winning record. In head-to-head play, the favorite is 4-1 ATS in their last 5 meetings and the Aggies are 1-4 ATS in their last 5 meetings.
These appear to be two teams headed in decidedly different directions, the Aggies appear to be a rising force both nationally and in the SEC with their new dynamic duo of Sumlin and Manziel poised to lead them to new heights, while the Sooners under the direction of Stoops and Jones appear to have been on a downward trajectory since the end of last season. This is one of the most highly anticipated bowl games because of the presence of the two elite QBs and Manziel in particular, with most observers expecting plenty of offensive fireworks. The obvious play is to take the over, but Sumlin and Stoops are very familiar with each other with the former having served on the latter’s staff at OU from 2003-2007, so Oklahoma may be able to slow down Manziwel more than most. The call here is that the Aggies’ freshman QB will avoid the Heisman jinx in bowl games and get his 2013 campaign started with a decisive win over the Sooners in front of his home state crowd. Take A&M to cover in this game.
PICK = Texas A&M -3