We have a good one in the early evening, as the Virginia Tech Hokies and Oklahoma State Cowboys meet in the Camping World Bowl. The bowl committee got this one right when they were looking for teams to play in their bowl. The bowl may be unrecognizable, but this is the former Russell Athletic Bowl in Orlando. It usually attracts some decent teams, and this year is no different. Oklahoma State had bigger aspirations than playing in the Camping World Bowl.
There was a point in the year where they were threatening as a potential playoff team. The Oklahoma Sooners did them in, as the Cowboys couldn’t keep up with Baker Mayfield and Oklahoma. The Sooners put up 62 points in a 62-52 loss for Oklahoma State. There weren’t many teams who could put a lid on Mayfield, but in a rivalry game, to allow 62 points, was quite demoralizing for the Cowboys.
The loss gave them two on the year, their first loss coming against TCU, and then lost 45-40 to Kansas State to give them 3 losses. The Camping World Bowl was not the ideal scenario for Oklahoma State going into the 2017 season. They had loftier expectations than playing on October 28th. With a gun slinger like Mason Rudolph at the controls, and a bevy of NFL ready weapons surrounding him in the offense, it made sense that Oklahoma State was going to have some chips at the table. The offense was fine, but they were not a complete team from top to bottom.
No way can you expect to allow 62 points and win football games. Score 52 and still lose? Sure, Oklahoma has an explosive offense, but there has to be a stop here and there. That’s worse than an arena football team. Rudolph is off to the NFL in 2018, so they missed a chance to make things happen with an elite quarterback in their corner.
Rudolph passed for 35 touchdowns and 9 interceptions, along with a 65% completion percentage. I’ve been vocal about my thoughts regarding Big 12 quarterbacks in the NFL. If I were a GM, I’d stay clear of these run and shoot QB’s. These offenses aren’t the most complex, contrary to what the scoreboard would indicate. Rudolph may very well pan out, but a lot of them come out of college raw. Same goes for Baker Mayfield. Oklahoma State doesn’t have an NFL defense to deal with on Thursday night, but they do face a decent Virginia tech defensive unit. Head below for our free Virginia Tech vs. Oklahoma State pick in the Camping World Bowl.
Virginia Tech Hokies vs. Oklahoma State Cowboys Betting Odds:
Virginia Tech +5.5(-110)
vs. Oklahoma State -5.5(-110)
Betting odds provided by Bovada.lv
Virginia Tech vs. Oklahoma State Pick:
If you look at some mock drafts, there are several that have Rudolph going in the first-round. Given how many bad quarterbacks there are in the NFL, it wouldn’t come as much of a surprise. I wouldn’t use a first pick on him, maybe second, but somebody will take a gamble. Nobody expected Mitch Trubisky to go as high as he did, and maybe Rudolph is the next to get an unexpected high selection. I don’t see him going that route, though, Sam Darnold and Josh Rosen will go before Rudolph. Along with Rudolph going to the NFL, wide receiver James Washington is a goner as well. He could be more NFL ready than Rudolph.
Washington hauled in 1,423 yards and 13 touchdowns. He went for 1,380 yards and 10 touchdowns last season. Washington is a fast, physical receiver which scouts love. And he isn’t the only dangerous weapon Oklahoma State has in their stable. Marcell Ateman has 1,049 yards receiving. and 8 touchdowns. The Cowboys also have a capable runner in the backfield, Justice Hill. Hill has rushed for 1,347 yards and 15 touchdowns. This isn’t just a passing offense, they are well balanced in that regard. Overall the offense is averaging 576 yards per game for 2nd in the FBS. The only team ahead is the Oklahoma Sooners.
Virginia Tech have been a mixed bag this season, especially on the offensive side of the ball. They opened the year looking nice with a 31-24 win over West Virginia and 40 points per game across their first four games. Everything slowed down considerably late, as they only scored 15.5 points per game over their last four games. Josh Jackson faded a bit, but still finished with a nice stat line of 19 touchdowns and 8 interceptions.
The Hokies’ defense held strong the entire season, though, finishing the regular season with 305 yards allowed per game. They haven’t played this kind of offense this year, however. Clemson scored 31 on Virginia Tech in a 31-17 final score. That’s a good offense but it’s a different offense than Oklahoma State. I can see Oklahoma State ultimately pulling away late and Josh Jackson unable to trade points. Look for Rudolph and Washington to put on a show in what is a draft audition against a good Hokies’ defense.