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Texas Bowl (ESPN, 6:45 p.m. ET)
Oklahoma State vs. Texas A&M
Texas Bowl Betting History
-- The Oklahoma State Cowboys (8-4 straight up, 8-3-1 against the spread) from the Big 12 Conference will square off with the Texas A&M Aggies (7-5 straight up, 7-5 against the spread) from the Southeastern Conference in the Academy Sports + Outdoors Texas Bowl in Houston, Tex. at NRG Stadium.
-- The Cowboys opened the season 3-0 SU/ATS, but the wins were against Oregon State, McNeese of the FCS and Tulsa. They lost a narrow 36-30 game at Texas Sept. 21 for their first loss, although they ended up with the cover. In fact, they covered their first five games of the season. They topped a very good Kansas State team 26-13 on Sept. 28, and fell against Texas Tech and Baylor in the following two weekends, mainly due to defensive lapses. They yielded 45 points in each of those games. They were better defensively during a four-game win streak against Iowa State, TCU, Kansas and West Virginia, yielding just 20.0 PPG, which is pretty outstanding for the Big 12. They were dumped 34-16 in 'Bedlam', the season-ending rivalry game against Oklahoma.
-- It's all about RB Chuba Hubbard for the Cowboys. He rushed 309 times for 1,936 yards and 21 touchdowns, averaging 6.3 yards per carry. Offensively, the Cowboys were 17th in total yards overall, posting 463.9 yards per game. They're 16th in rushing yards per contest (236.3), while ending up 71st in passing yards (227.7). They scored 33.4 points per game to rank 34th offensively. For the defense, they were 86th in total yards (418.1), 113th in passing yards (267.1) and 59th in rushing yards (151.0) allowed. They yielded 27.0 points per game to check in a mediocre 63rd.
-- The Aggies dropped four games this season, but those losses were against Alabama, Auburn, Clemson, Georgia and LSU. Two of those teams are in the playoffs, and all five were in the mix late into the season. What will we get from Oklahoma State?
-- Texas A&M ranked 71st in total yards (399.2), 54th in passing yards (247.1) and 77th in rushing yards (152.1) per game, while posting 30.0 points per game to rank 62nd in the nation. On defense, the Aggies were pretty strong, allowing 341.0 yards per game to rank 31st, they were 48th against the pass (211.7) and 29th against the run (129.3), which is the important stat as they try to contain Hubbard. That will be the prime matchup. They also allowed 22.7 points per game to rank 37th in the country.
-- The Aggies have made 41 previous bowl appearances dating back to 1922. That includes a 33-16 victory over Oklahoma State in the 1981 Independence Bowl. The Aggies have been exciting lately, win or lose. They blasted North Carolina State 52-13 last season in the Gator Bowl, while losing 55-52 to Wake Forest in the Belk Bowl in 2017. They have scored 21 or more points in nine straight games dating back to the 2009 Independence Bowl.
-- For the Cowboys, they have won three straight bowl appearances, including last season's 38-33 win over Missouri in the Liberty Bowl. They have won seven of the past nine bowl games overall. They last appeared in a bowl game in 2016, topping Colorado 38-8 in the Alamo Bowl. They lost the 2013 Cotton Bowl to Missouri by a 41-31 score, and the year before they topped Purdue 58-14 in the Heart of Dallas Bowl. They also won the 2010 Alamo Bowl in 2010, so Texas has been very good to the Cowboys, and they generally travel well with such close proximity to Stillwater. That will be important since this time they're playing a Texas-based school.
-- Oklahoma State heads into this one 12-2 ATS in the past 14 games as an underdog, and 9-3-1 ATS in the past 13 overall. They're also 21-8 ATS in the past 29 non-conference tilts, and 9-2 ATS in the past 11 against teams with a winning overall record.
-- The Cowboys are also 4-1 ATS in the past five bowl games, and 5-1 ATS in the past six neutral-site games, while going 4-1 ATS in the past five neutral-site games as an underdog.
-- Texas A&M is 16-5-1 ATS in the past 22 as a favorite, and they're 11-1 ATS in their past 12 non-conference tilts.
-- The under is 4-1 in OK State's past five games overall, 5-0 in the past five neutral-site games and 5-0 in their past five bowl games.
-- The over is 5-2 in A&M's past seven neutral-site games, 9-3 in the past 12 non-conference tilts and 5-1 in their past six bowl outings.
-- These teams have a history, with Oklahoma State going 4-0-1 ATS in the past five meetings, with the over 6-2 in the previous eight.
Holiday Bowl (FOX Sports 1, 8:00 p.m.)
Southern California vs. IowaHoliday Bowl Betting History
-- The San Diego County Credit Union Holiday Bowl will feature the Southern California Trojans (8-4 straight up, 6-5-1 against the spread) against the Iowa Hawkeyes (9-3 straight up, 5-7 against the spread) at San Diego County Credit Union Stadium in San Diego, Calif.
-- Head coach Clay Helton has continued to put together wins despite a multitude of injuries and a fanbase which seemingly always wants him gone. USC beat Fresno State and Stanford to open the season, but lost to BYU 30-27 in overtime on Sept. 14. They topped a playoff-contending Utah team by a 30-23 score on Sept. 20 before an ugly loss at Washington on Sept. 28. A loss at Notre Dame on Oct. 12 had them at a crossroads at 3-3 SU/ATS. However, they rattled off wins in five of their final six games to turn things around, including road wins at Arizona State and California in November.
-- The Trojans lost QB JT Daniels (knee) to a season-ending knee injury in the opening game. Enter freshman QB Kedon Slovis, who was an unknown. All he did was emerge with 3,242 passing yards, connecting with WR Michael Pittman Jr. for 1,222 of them, as the offense rolled along despite the losses. In fact, they lost leading rusher RB Vavae Malepeai to injury for a long period, other key skill position members were also hurt, and at one point they were down to fifth-string RB Kenan Christon to serve as the workhorse. They overcame, and now they're pretty healthy heading into the Iowa game.
-- The offense posted 462.2 total yards per game to rank 18th in the nation, including fifth in the pass game at 335.9 yards. They were 113th with 126.3 rushing yards per game, again, they were devastated by injuries at that position. They ranked 36th with 33.2 points per game. Defensively they were 83rd in total yards allowed (415.3), 99th in passing yards allowde (248.9), 76th in rushing yards allowed (166.3) and 66th in points allowed (27.8).
-- Iowa was boring offensively, as they ranked just 98th in total yards (369.8), 67th in passing yards (230.3) and 97th in rushing yards (139.5) while ranking 99th in points per game (23.8). On defense, that's where Iowa had most of their success, allowing just 304.6 total yards per game to rank 12th in the nation, while checking in 11th with 184.2 passing yards per game. They were 25th against the run, too, giving up just 120.4 yards per outing while yielding only 13.2 PPG to rank fifth in the country.
-- These teams have met before in a bowl game, facing each other in the Orange Bowl back on Jan. 2, 2003, in a game which I actually attended. That day it was all USC, as they thrashed the Hawkeyes 38-17 with Pete Carroll at the helm for the Trojans. That's the only meeting in a bowl game between the institutions. USC played a Big Ten team last time they were in a bowl, falling 24-7 in the Cotton Bowl Classic against Ohio Stae on Dec. 29, 2017. Ovearll the Trojans have won eight of the past 10 against the Big Ten, however, in bowl games.
-- The Trojans are 6-2-1 ATS in the past nine against winning teams, but they're just 4-14 ATS in the past 18 as an underdog and 0-4 ATS in their past four bowl games. They're also 0-5 ATS in the past five vs. Big Ten, and 0-7 ATS in the past seven neutral-site games.
-- The Hawkeyes are 6-2 ATS in the past eight non-conference battles, while going 3-1-1 ATS in the past five games in December.
-- USC has hit the over in five in a row, while going 11-4-1 in the past 16 neutral-site games.
-- The under is 8-2-1 in the past 11 games overall for Iowa, and 6-1-1 in their past eight as a favorite. However, the over is 5-0 in their past five appearances on a Friday, 4-1 in the past five bowl games and 3-1-1 in their past five non-conference tilts.
Cheez-It Bowl (ESPN, 10:15 p.m.)
Air Force vs. Washington State
Cheez-It Bowl Betting History
-- The Cheez-It Bowl features the Air Force Falcons (10-2 straight up, 7-5 against the spread) from the Mountain West Conference facing off against the Washington State Cougars (6-6 straight-up, 4-8 against the spread) from the Pac-12 Conference at Chase Field in Phoenix, Ariz.
-- It was a strange season for the Cougars. It went downhilll against UCLA on Sept. 21, as they blew a giant lead and fell 67-63 in a memorable game where QB Anthony Gordon threw for nine touchdowns -- and they lost! He ended up with 5,228 passing yards overall this season, spreading it out amongst a bevy of consistent receivers. You never knew what Washington State team would show up. They were thrashed at Utah 38-13, but lost a narrow 37-35 game at Oregon on Oct. 26, blowing a game they probably should've won outright. They blasted Stanford 49-22, they edged Oregon State 54-53 on Nov. 23, showing off the pass attack again, and they were dumped 31-13 in the Apple Cup vs. Washington.
-- Air Force did what they do best this season - run. The triple-option is still working wonders for the Falcons, as they won 10 and lost just two, a 30-19 loss at Boise State on Sept. 20, and a 34-25 loss at Navy, against a fellow triple-option team. They won seven in a row to close out the season, including against bowl teams Hawai'i and Utah State.
-- USAFA ranked 51st in total yards per game (424.0), while going for 131.0 passing yards per contest to rank 124th. They were third overall with 293.0 rushing yards per game, and that's where Washington State's D needs to focus. The Falcons scored 34.3 points per game to rank 22nd. Defensively, Air Force allowed 315.8 total yards to rank 16th, while ranking 40th against the pass (208.1), 11th against the run (107.7) and 19th in points scored (19.8).
-- Washington State was ridiculous offensively, and ridiculously bad defensively, which explains why they were just .500. They were sixth overall with 516.8 total yards per game, and fifth in passing yards with 444.3 yards per game. They barely ran the ball, posting just 72.5 yards per game to rank 129th in FBS. They were 10th in points scored at 39.2 per game. Defensively...ugh. They allowed 456.8 total yards per game to rank 113th, they were 122nd against the pass (286.8), and 78th against the run (170.0). They allowed 31.4 points per game to check in 94th.
-- The Cougs are 8-7 in 15 previous bowl games, including 2-3 in the past five appearances under Mike Leach. The won last season's Alamo Bowl against Iowa State by a 28-26 score.
-- The Falcons actually have a much lengthier bowl history, but lately they have been so-so. Air Force is 6-9 SU in their past 15 bowl games, although they did win the Arizona Bowl on Dec. 30, 2016 against South Alabama in their most recent appearance. Air Force is 1-4 SU all-time against the Pac-12 in bowl games, including a 55-36 loss to Cal in the most recent battle on Dec. 29, 2015.
-- Air Force is 5-2 ATS in the past seven games overall, and 5-2 ATS in the past seven bowl games. They're 21-7 ATS in the past 28 non-conference tilts, too.
-- Washington State is 3-8 ATS in the past 11 games overall, but they're 5-2 ATS in the past seven non-conference tilts, and 15-7 ATS in the past 22 as an underdog.
-- The under is 4-1 in the past five games overall, and 4-1 in the past five as a favorite. The under is 7-2 in the past nine non-conference battles, while going 4-1 in the past five as a favorite. The over is 4-0 in their past four neutral-site games, and 4-1 in the past five bowl games.
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