#16 Oklahoma State Cowboys vs. #12 Ole Miss Rebels
Friday – January 1 – 7:30 pm CT
Mercedes-Benz Superdome – New Orleans, Louisiana
Records Before the Game
Oklahoma State Cowboys (10-2, 7-2 Big 12)
Ole Miss Rebels (9-3, 6-2 SEC)
New Year’s Day bowl games aren’t what they used to be due to the arrival of the College Football Playoff but this matchup features a couple of really strong representatives from the Big 12 and SEC respectively. The Rebels were the only team to defeat Alabama this season and at one point the Cowboys were knocking on the door of a potential playoff berth before faltering down the stretch to both Baylor and Oklahoma in their final two regular season games.
Oklahoma State has proven they can put up a ton of points averaging 41.2 a game, good for ninth best in the country. Coincidentally, Ole Miss averages 40.3 points per outing. The major difference between these two however is that Ole Miss is known for its potent defense that is capable of shutting just about anybody down. They will however be without standout defensive end Robert Nkemdiche, who has played his final game as a Rebel after recently being arrested for marijuana possession in a bizarre incident that left him injured after falling fifteen feet out of a hotel window in some sort of strange hallucination. Expect him to still go in the top 10 of the NFL draft next season where he should fit right in with the rest of ‘em.
Fortunately for Ole Miss they will be with quarterback Chad Kelly and wide receiver Laquon Treadwell who absolutely lit it up this year. Kelly threw for over 3,700 yards and 27 touchdowns and Treadwell caught eight balls for touchdowns and over 1,000 yards after returning from a gruesome injury in 2014. The Cowboys have been quite stellar through the air as well behind the arm of Mason Rudolph who connected for 21 touchdowns and 3,591 yards passing. His main target has been James Washington whose numbers are similar to Treadwell’s with ten receiving touchdowns and 1,077 yards. Even more impressive is that he averages over twenty yards per reception.
This one has all the makings of a classic shootout with the odds on favorite to win being the Rebels by a touchdown. The over/under is 67.5 and if it’s anything close to that then it should be one exciting Sugar Bowl. In the end the lack of experience by Oklahoma State against tough defenses should be the difference maker and Ole Miss head coach Hugh Freeze and the gang should end up bringing home some more hardware to their program and the SEC.
Prediction: Ole Miss 42 – Oklahoma State 37