The first college football action of 2012 features a slate of exciting games on January 2nd, concluding with the Stanford Cardinal (11-1) traveling to Glendale, AZ to take on the Oklahoma St. Cowboys (11-1) this Monday night (8:30pm ET) in the Fiesta Bowl. Stanford won their final two regular season games after falling to Pac-12 Champion Oregon on November 12 at home by score of 53-30. Their finale was a 28-14 win over Notre Dame to cover the 7 point line on November 26. Oklahoma St. closed the regular season with a 44-10 shellacking over in-state rival Oklahoma on December 3rd to easily cover a 3.5 point line. That came after their only loss two weeks earlier, a shocking 37-31 loss at Iowa St. as a 31.5 point favorite. The Cardinal is 10-2 ATS this season, while Oklahoma St. is 9-3 ATS.
The Cardinal averages 43.6 points per game (6th among FBS teams) and ranks 9th in the nation in total offense with 482.2 yards per game behind a punishing running game (207.9 YPG, 22nd nationally) and their talented, Heisman runner-up signal-caller Andrew Luck (3,185 passing yards, 35 TDs, 9 INTs). The Stanford defense has allowed 20.3 PPG to rank 24th in the nation in scoring defense, and 331.1 total YPG to rank 25th nationally in total defense. Oklahoma St. also possesses a dynamic offense that ranks in the top ten nationally in: scoring with 49.2 PPG (2nd), total offense with 557 YPG (3rd) and passing offense with 386.2 YPG (2nd). The dynamic duo of QB Brandon Weeden (4,328 yards passing, 34 TDs, 12 INTs) and wide receiver Justin Blackmon (1,336 receiving yards, 113 receptions, 15 TDs) have been almost unstoppable this season. The OSU defense has been woeful when it comes to defending the pass (265.6 YPG, 102nd in the nation) and overall ranks 107th in total defense with 445.7 YPG allowed while allowing a somewhat respectable 25.8 PPG (61st among FBS teams).
Stanford vs. Oklahoma St. Spread, Line and Betting Odds:
Stanford Cardinal +3.5
@Oklahoma St. Cowboys -3.5
Over 74 (-110)
Under 74 (-110)
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Stanford vs. Oklahoma St. Pick:
Stanford is 7-0 ATS in their last 7 non-conference games, 6-2 ATS in their last 8 games against a team with a winning record and 20-81 ATS in their last 29 games on grass. Oklahoma St. is 5-1 ATS in their last 6 non-conference games and 19-7 ATS in their last 26 games overall. The over is 13-3-1 in Stanford’s last 17 games as an underdog and 19-7 in their last 26 games against a team with a winning record. The under is 5-1 in OSU’s last 6 games on grass, 6-1-2 in their last 9 games against a team with a winning record and 4-1 in their last 5 games against PAC-12 teams. The two teams have no recent meetings.
Oklahoma St. has maybe the most explosive passing game in all of college football, and the weak link of the Stanford defense is the secondary (241. YPG, 79th in the nation). With OSU possessing an even worse secondary, this should be a big day for two of the best quarterbacks in the country. Stanford usually likes to come out and establish the running game, but if they fall behind they will be throwing the ball much more than normal and they should have a great deal of success against OSU. This game is too close to call against the spread, both teams can score and whoever has the ball last may end up winning. The game should be wide-open, similar to Stanford’s matchup with Oregon, another high-scoring team. Take the over here in what could be the most explosive, and highest-scoring bowl game this year.
PICK = Over 74