Cotton Bowl Highlights Live Weekend NCAA Betting at Bovada
If you go by the premise of adding up the two teams' BCS rankings, then the January 4 Cotton Bowl in Dallas is the best matchup of all the non-BCS bowls in this year's college football postseason as Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel and No. 9 Texas A&M face off against old Big 12 foe, No. 11 Oklahoma. The Aggies are 3.5-point favorites with the total at 72, which hints at the Cotton being one of the highest-scoring of all the bowl games.
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The Aggies (10-2, 7-5 ATS) were supposed to be overmatched in their first season in the powerful SEC. However under first-year coach Kevin Sumlin and Manziel, the first freshman to ever win the Heisman, A&M had one of the signature wins of the season, a 29-24 upset at No. 1 Alabama. Manziel threw for 292 yards and two scores and ran for 91 more versus the Tide. He essentially won the Heisman that afternoon when front-runner Collin Klein had a mediocre game in an upset loss to unranked Baylor. The Aggies' only two losses this season were by a combined eight points to current top 10 teams Florida and LSU.
Oklahoma (10-2, 6-6 ATS) was one of the national title favorites entering the season with QB Landry Jones returning - he was an early Heisman favorite - and expected to win the new-look Big 12. However a Week 3 home upset loss to Kansas State put a damper on that, and the Sooners' National Championship hopes officially vanished when they lost again at home 30-13 to Notre Dame on October 27. OU, which had just three home losses all-time under coach Bob Stoops entering this season, did earn a share of the Big 12 title but lost out on BCS bowl at-large bid.
Texas A&M and Oklahoma have plenty of history as this will be their 19th meeting in the past 20 seasons. Last year in Norman, the Sooners won 41-25. Jones threw for 255 yards and two scores in the game. Sooners fans may remember it as the game in which star receiver Ryan Broyles was lost for the season with a torn ACL. Under Stoops, the Sooners have won 11 of the past 13 meetings with A&M by an average of nearly three touchdowns. However none of those Aggies teams had Johnny Football or Sumlin. In fact, this is the first time A&M is favored against Oklahoma since 1999.
Expect plenty of points and throwing. Oklahoma ranks No. 5 nationally in passing (341.3 ypg) and 12th in scoring (40.3). Texas A&M ranks No. 14 in passing (317.3 ypg) and No. 3 in scoring (44.8). Recent Heisman history favors Manziel. During the first decade of this century, Heisman winners were just 3-7 in bowls. With that being said, they have won their past three bowl games starting with Alabama's Mark Ingram three seasons ago.
Other Live Betting Games
*-Saturday, BBVA Compass Bowl: It's two 6-6 teams that will face off in Birmingham, Ala., as Pittsburgh faces Mississippi. It's the final game as members of the Big East for the Panthers (7-4-1 ATS) as they are off to the ACC next season. The Paul Chryst era at Pitt got off to a horrendous start as Pitt lost its opener to FCS school Youngstown State and then was blown out the next week by Cincinnati. The team got better as the season went on and by all rights should have upset now No. 1 Notre Dame in South Bend but lost in triple overtime. Pittsburgh did cover five of its final six games.
Ole Miss (9-3 ATS) is a 3.5-point favorite for its first meeting with Pittsburgh. The Rebels also are led by a first-year coach, Hugh Freeze. They ended a 14-game SEC losing streak with a 41-20 win over Auburn on October 3 and would win three conference games overall, including an upset of Mississippi State in the Egg Bowl. It was the first win by Ole Miss in that rivalry in four years.
Mississippi has won eight of its past nine bowl games but last played in one in 2009. This is the fifth straight bowl for Pitt and third-straight trip to the BBVA Compass Bowl. The Panthers lost to SMU last year and beat Kentucky the previous year.
*-Sunday, GoDaddy.com Bowl: Both No. 25 Kent State and Arkansas State have something in common heading into this bowl game in Mobile, Ala.: they each lost their head coach.
Kent State (11-2, 10-2-1) had the best season in school history, winning the MAC East Division before losing to Northern Illinois in the conference championship game. This is the Golden Flashes' first bowl game since 1972. Head coach Darrell Hazell turned around one of the nation's worst programs in just two seasons and that got him the head coaching job at Purdue. However, Hazell will coach KSU in this game.
Arkansas State (9-3, 8-4 ATS) was the Sun Belt Conference champion and is a four-point favorite for this one. Its only losses were to bowl teams Oregon, Nebraska and Western Kentucky. However, the Red Wolves lost head coach Gus Malzahn back to Auburn. He will not coach in this game, with defensive coordinator John Thompson handling things. However under Malzahn, who is considered an offensive guru, ASU is on pace for the best offensive season in school history. It is 40 yards shy of tying the school record for total yards in a season and 19 points shy of tying the school mark of 456. Arkansas State hired Texas offensive coordinator Bryan Harsin to take over full-time after the bowl.
Arkansas State played in this bowl game last season as well, losing to Northern Illinois 38-20. The school is 0-2 all-time in bowls. Kent State is 0-1, losing in the 1972 Tangerine Bowl.
Driving Force: college football's best hit the throttle for an exciting bowl season. Bovada's along for the ride with Live Betting action.