Texas A&M -3 over Oklahoma: College Bowl Picks

LT Profits Sports Group

Friday, January 4, 2013 5:00 AM GMT

Friday, Jan. 4, 2013 5:00 AM GMT

Texas A&M boasts a dual threat at quarterback in freshman Heisman Trophy winning Johnny Manziel and Oklahoma’s two losses this year both came vs. running quarterbacks. Go Aggies.

In what just might be the best non-BCS bowl matchup this season, the Texas A&M Aggies (10-2, 6-0 away) and Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel take on the unfortunate BCS snubbed Oklahoma Sooners (10-2, 5-0 away) Friday night in the Cotton Bowl from Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, TX at 8:00 ET in a game televised nationally on FOX.

The point spread at Pinnacle Sports has Texas A&M as a small favorite for this contest with a current line of -3 at odds of -101.

Besides boasting the first freshman Heisman Trophy winner ever, the Aggies now get a chance to end their first season in the SEC with style by knocking off a prestigious school in a bowl game in Oklahoma, the same Sooners team that Texas A&M used to face every year as a member of the Big 12 up until last season, and an Oklahoma team that has beaten the Aggies in eight of the last nine meetings including 41-25 in Norman last season.

As for the Sooners, no team has more of a gripe with the BCS system than they do, as the Sooners would have almost certainly been the second Big 12 team to go to a BCS bowl besides Kansas State if Northern Illinois did not steal a spot by winning the MAC and finishing ahead of the Big East and Big Ten champions in the final BCS Standings. That raises some questions about just how motivated Oklahoma will be to be here.

Texas A&M is the only team to beat Alabama this season, and led by Manziel, the Aggies finished an identical third in the country in both scoring offense and total offense, averaging 44-7 points and 552.3 yards per game. Even more impressive is that much of that came vs. the stiff defenses of the SEC.

Manziel became the first SEC player ever to pass for over 3000 yards and rush for over 1000 yards in the same season, and he finished with exactly 4600 all-purpose yards (3419 passing, 1181 rushing), breaking the SEC record previously held by Cam Newton. It is his running that should be brought to the forefront tonight as Oklahoma ranked just 79th in the country in rushing defense allowing 181.1 yards per game on a bloated 4.8 yards per carry!

Now, Oklahoma’s two losses this season came vs. Notre Dame and Kansas State. And what do those two teams have in common? Well, they both have mobile quarterbacks with Kansas State having its own Heisman finalist in Collin Klein and Notre Dame also having a dual threat signal caller in Everett Golson. Manziel had more rushing yards this season than either of them, so he too should be able to exploit the Sooner’ run defense.

Yes, the Sooners to have a very good quarterback in senior Landry Jones, who finished fifth in the country with 3979 passing yards while completing 65.4 percent of his passes with 29 touchdowns tosses. However, he did not fare well while losing to probably the two best defenses he faced all year, and he did not take on any SEC defenses.

Granted some may point to the fact that Texas A&M only finished 83rd in the nation in passing defense, but that is very deceptive. You see, the Aggies often scored quickly on offense and built up big leads, and a lot of the passing yards they allowed came either in garbage time or vs. teams throwing on practically every down in an attempt to catch up. More telling than the gross passing yards that the Aggies gave up is the fact that they only allowed 6.8 yards per pass attempt.

Thus, look for Texas A&M to end its first season in the SEC with a Cotton Bowl win over a familiar old Big 12 opponent on Friday.

[gameodds]6/133532/238-19-93-92-1096/us[/gameodds]

College Football Pick: Texas A&M -3 (-101)

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