Ole Miss vs. Oklahoma State: Take Rebels -7 as Our Pick for the Allstate Sugar Bowl

Ted Sevransky

Wednesday, December 23, 2015 6:40 PM GMT

Wednesday, Dec. 23, 2015 6:40 PM GMT

For College Football action we have one of the most anticipated bowls of the season when Ole Miss plays Oklahoma State. Find out our college football pick for this game.

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College Football Picl: Ole Miss -7
Best Line Offered: at Bookmaker

 

Mississippi  vs. Oklahoma State
Cowboys head coach Mike Gundy has a rock solid track record in the bowls. Oklahoma State has gone 6-3 SU, now playing their tenth consecutive bowl game under Gundy. That includes an outright upset win as six point underdogs against Washington in the Cactus Bowl last year; the Cowboys fourth win and cover against the college football odds in their last five bowls. But Gundy’s lone previous matchup against Ole Miss wasn’t pretty, a 21-7 loss in the 2009 Cotton Bowl.

Gundy isn’t the only head coach in this matchup with a solid bowl track record.  Hugh Freeze won his first two bowls with the Rebels, with wins and covers against Pitt and Georgia State; two of the six consecutive wins that Ole Miss put together during bowl season between 2002 and 2013. But Freeze ran into an angry, feisty TCU squad that had been snubbed from the college football playoffs last year.

He didn’t have his team ready to match that intensity; coming off a series of late season losses following their 7-0 start, a start that had them ranked as the #3 team in the country. The Rebels took a 42-3 drubbing at the hands of the Horned Frogs; a game where Bo Wallace threw three first half interceptions leading to a 28-0 deficit at the break. It’s a loss they’ve been talking about…

Coach Freeze: “I didn’t like the way that last year went, obviously. I’m going to make sure our kids, every single day, hear that from me. And if they really want to be great, then we’ve got to compete in these types of games…..I think we are playing at a high level offensively, and we can’t let this spell of being off [get to us]. We’ve got to attack it.”

Rebels QB Chad Kelly wasn’t on last year’s team that got annihilated in their bowl. “We all just have to understand that this is another game. We’re going out here to win a football game, not to go on vacation. We just have to make sure we keep focused; we do the right thing on and off the field; and we come to work every single day with locked intensity and a willingness to work…..We haven’t been here [Sugar Bowl] in 40 some years. I think it will be great to just end the season on a winning note and start the offseason knowing that we can be the best."

16 starters are back from last year’s squad although one of them – projected NFL first rounder DT Robert Nkemdiche – has been suspended for the game.  Nkemdiche is not the only projected first rounder on the defensive line in this game. Oklahoma State DE Emmanuel Ogbah ranks in the Top 15 on Mel Kiper’s Big Board after finishing second in the nation with 13.5 sacks.  But Ogbah will be matched up against yet another future NFL first rounder, Rebels tackle Laremy Tunsil, a real difference maker for the Rebels offense since his mid-season return from injury.

Like Ole Miss, Oklahoma State returned 16 starters and came into the season poised to make amends for last year’s failures. But in many ways, the Cowboys 2015 season is similar to the Rebels 2014 season – a great start, a high national ranking, followed by a November collapse. Oklahoma State won their first ten games, and were ranked as high as #4 in the country. Then they got blasted by Baylor and TCU in their final two regular season games, with their defense gashed for 103 points in the process.

I’m a fan of Cowboys QB Mason Rudolph, but I worry about Oklahoma State’s confidence level here, particularly if the Rebels get off to a hot start. And I have no interest in stepping in front of an Ole Miss squad with an elite stop unit and a chip on their collective shoulders from last year’s bowl debacle. Take Ole Miss as the college football pick.

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