The Fiesta Bowl is the next New Year’s Six game up on the bowl schedule. Kick-off is scheduled for 1:00 p.m. EST at State Farm Stadium in Arizona. The Fiesta Bowl is an interesting matchup. The bowl committee got it right with these two teams.
Oklahoma State and Notre Dame were playing for a chance to go to the College Football Playoff late in the season. If Oklahoma State beat Baylor in the Big 12 Championship, the College Football Playoff committee would have had a decision to make.
A GAME OF INCHES! Oklahoma State running back Dezmon Jackson dives toward the end zone, but is stopped short by Baylor safety Jairon McVea with seconds left in the Big 12 Championship in Arlington, Texas, Saturday, Dec. 4, 2021. Baylor held on to win, 21-16 (AP Photo/Steinman) pic.twitter.com/d3PiwkrksO
— KWTX News 10 (@kwtx) December 4, 2021
They could have stuck with the undefeated Cincinnati Bearcats or a one-loss Oklahoma State team from the Big 12. The committee favored Power Five schools, so it would have been interesting. They couldn’t do anything else, but to go with Cincinnati after the Cowboys’ lost to Baylor.
Oklahoma State still gets a respectable bowl invite to the Fiesta Bowl on New Year’s Day. Playing on New Year’s is an accomplishment for any program, so Oklahoma State can’t look down on this opportunity. Conversely, Notre Dame had an outside shot at the College Football Playoff.
That didn’t prevent Brian Kelly from staying at Notre Dame, though. He took the money and ran to Louisana to accept a job at LSU. Kelly left, and the Fighting Irish quickly replaced him with then defensive coordinator, Marcus Freeman. Freeman was hired as the next coach at Notre Dame, skipping the interim tag.
“Everybody has to understand what it takes to have success.”
— Notre Dame Football (@NDFootball) December 21, 2021
The team looked excited about the decision from the administration. They aren’t going to play lazy in Marcus Freeman’s head coaching debut; we know that much.
Notre Dame is likely to play hard for their new head coach. Oklahoma State certainly has more coaching stability with Mike Gundy on the sideline, though.
Head below for our free Oklahoma State vs. Notre Dame Fiesta Bowl prediction on January 1, 2022.
Oklahoma State Cowboys vs. Notre Dame Fighting Irish Fiesta Bowl Betting Odds and Team Statistics:
The following odds are courtesy of BetUS:
|Oklahoma State Cowboys||+2 (-110)||+110||Over 45 (-110)|
|Notre Dame Fighting Irish||-2 (-110)||-130||Under 45 (-110)|
|Team Data||Oklahoma State Cowboys||Notre Dame Fighting Irish|
|Points Per Game||30.6||35.3|
|Points Against Per Game||16.8||18.3|
|Passing Yards Per Game||221.2||263.6|
|Rushing Yards Per Game||182.3||151.8|
Oklahoma State vs. Notre Dame Prediction:
Oklahoma State was one of the better teams of 2021 that no one cared to give attention to, even after beating Oklahoma. In the Big 12 Championship, to finally show that they belong, they tripped over themselves and lost a close one by 21-16.
If Spencer Sanders wasn’t so much of a turnover machine, Oklahoma State probably does win that game. Sanders threw 4 interceptions to doom the Cowboys.
The fact they were still in the game with a chance to win is a testament to their relentless defense. The Oklahoma State defense held tough, but the offense did little to help out.
Jason Taylor putting Oklahoma State on his back. Pick. 6.
— TJ Eckert (@TJEckertKTUL) October 16, 2021
The Cowboys’ defense has been doing that throughout the season. They are third-best in the FBS with 273.6 yards against per game in a tough Big 12 predicated on offense.
Oklahoma State gave up nothing on the ground, as they smothered their opponents for 89.2 yards against per game. They are also fundamentally sound through the air, with 184.4 yards conceded.
The Fighting Irish will want to pound the ball on the ground to set up Jack Coan downfield. However, Oklahoma State should be up for the test defensively. The most underrated defense in the nation will demand your respect in the Fiesta Bowl.
Oklahoma State Cowboys vs. Notre Dame Fighting Irish Betting Trends:
- 5-0 ATS in their previous five bowl games
- 9-1-1 ATS in their previous 11 games
- 5-1 ATS in their previous six games as an underdog
- 5-1 ATS in their previous six games at a neutral field
- UNDER is 8-0 in their previous games as an underdog
- 7-0 ATS in their previous seven games
- 7-0 ATS in their previous seven games as a betting favorite
- 7-0 ATS in their previous seven games versus non-conference teams
- 0-7 overall in their previous seven New Year’s Day games
- UNDER is 4-0 in their previous four bowl games
Spencer Sanders has to limit the turnovers, and Oklahoma State will be in a good spot to win this straight up. After a disaster versus Baylor, I have some confidence in him bouncing back.
We’ve seen Sanders playing well in big games this season. He led the Cowboys to a 37-33 win over Caleb Williams on November 27.
It was Oklahoma State’s fifth straight win after a tough 24-21 showing at Iowa State. Oklahoma State had big wins over Baylor, 24-14, and Texas, 32-24, before the letdown versus the Cyclones.
While Sanders was sloppy in the Big 12 Championship, the Cowboys have scored at a healthy clip with 30.6 points per game. Sanders can run, which he should have depended on more versus Baylor.
TOUCHDOWN OKLAHOMA STATE
— Sideline CFB (@SidelineCFB) November 28, 2021
He passed for 16 touchdowns and 12 interceptions, up to 4 interceptions after the Big 12 Championship, along with 543 rushing yards and 6 touchdowns on 4.2 yards per carry. I can see his mobility on third down the difference in this one.
Gundy must have drilled it into his head not to force balls after getting picked up four times. He won’t be perfect, but decent and not terrible should be enough with the Oklahoma State defense backing him.
The public is and will continue to play Notre Dame in the Fiesta Bowl. However, the line isn’t budging, and even some small reverse line movement.
I’m on Oklahoma State to avoid making a mistake after mistake this time and leaning on their defense in the Fiesta Bowl.