Camping World Bowl - Orlando
Virginia Tech vs. Oklahoma State
Thursday, December 28, 2:15 pm PT - ESPN
CRIS Opener: Oklahoma State -6.5 O/U 63
CRIS Current: Oklahoma State -5 O/U 62
Recommendation: Oklahoma State
There’s been a fair bit of buzz in the betting markets about Oklahoma State’s late season collapse, driving concerns about the Cowboys mentality as they face Virginia Tech in the Camping World Bowl. For a team that had Playoff aspirations, a December 28 bowl game may not push the appropriate motivational buttons for Mike Gundy’s squad.
That being said. Oklahoma State DIDN’T collapse down the stretch, winning two out of three after their loss to Oklahoma, including a solid road win at bowl bound Iowa State. They didn’t cover a pointspread in those three ballgames, but that certainly wasn’t unusual for a team that spent most of the season as an overvalued commodity, just 2-6-1 ATS following their 3-0 start.
The Cowboys strength, all season, was their dynamic passing game. Senior QB Mason Rudolph and senior WR James Washington truly enjoyed a special career together in Stillwater. Rudolph enters the bowl game with more than 13,000 career passing yards and a 90-26 TD-INT ratio. Washington averaged more than 20 yards per reception this year, with 221 career receptions for the Cowboys at 19.7 yards per catch. Stop that duo and Okie State is beatable. Otherwise, you’ve got to outscore Mike Gundy’s squad, which only elite offensive teams are capable of doing.
Virginia Tech was most assuredly NOT an elite offensive team this year. The Hokies scored more than 24 in ACC play only once all season. They were held to a grand total of 62 points in their final four ballgames, including SU road losses at Miami and Georgia Tech. Frosh QB Josh Jackson cannot be positively compared to the elite senior QB on the other sideline. The Hokies lacked playmakers around Jackson. Top receiver Cam Phillips was Jackson’s top threat with 71 catches, but he’s out for the bowl game with a hernia. No Virginia Tech RB reached 500 rushing yards, and top backs Travon McMillan and Deshawn McClease didn’t have a single run of 25+ yards all season.
Compared to the potent offenses Okie State has been seeing all year in the Big XII, Virginia Tech’s sputtering attack doesn’t stand up well. The Okie State defense isn’t anywhere near elite, but they’re good enough to get stops against this caliber of competition. Expect a Cowboys win by a TD or more – facing Virginia Tech in Orlando is enough of a motivator to get Okie State interested.