Next to the BCS National Championship this year’s Cotton Bowl will be the most competitive bowl game of the season. The Texas A&M Aggies will face the Oklahoma Sooners on January 4th, 2013. Both teams finished the season 10-2 with the Aggies finishing at #9 and the Sooners at #11. Oklahoma has senior QB Landry Jones who threw for 65.5%, 3989 yards, 29 TDs and 10 INTs. The Aggies are led by Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel who threw at 68.3% for 3419 yards, 24 TDs and 8 INTs. Manziel broke the SEC’s total yardage record in the Aggies’ first season in the powerhouse division. Manziel has 1181 rushing yards on 184 carries and 19 rushing TDs. And is he is a freshman.
These teams have nearly identical stats in all the major categories. The Aggies have scored an average of 44.8 points a game and the Sooners have averaged 40.3 points. The Aggies have produced an average of 552.3 yards each game and the Sooners get an average of 505.9 yards. A&M passes for an average of 317.3 yards and Oklahoma averages 341.3 yards. A&M allowed an average of 22.5 points a game and Oklahoma averaged 24.2 points allowed. The significant difference is in rushing yardage; the Sooners have averaged 164.6 yards and the Aggies have averaged 235.1 yards. In rushing the Aggies are clearly dependent on Johnny Manziel as their starting RB Ben Malena has just 752 yards on 130 carries and 7 TDs.
It seems as though Texas A&M has a better shot at getting to Landry Jones than Oklahoma has of getting to Johnny Manziel because A&M has 31 sacks on the season and Oklahoma has just 24 sacks. For interceptions neither teams stands above the other. Oklahoma will be without senior DT Stacy McGee who was suspended for this game after a recent arrest. McGee was used in a rotating role at DT.
Texas A&M were 3-2 against ranked opponents this season. They beat #2 Alabama 29-24 but lost to #3 Florida 20-17 and #8 LSU 24-19. Oklahoma was 2-2 against ranked opponents beating Texas and Oklahoma State but lost to #5 Kansas State 24-19 and #1 Notre Dame 30-13. Therefore if performance against opponents is any indication, Texas A&M is the clear favorite in this matchup.
The odds makers have Texas A&M as the favorite with a 3 point spread and the over/under is 72 points. That gives an estimated score of 38-35 or 37-34 for the Aggies
The Aggies have scored an average 32.4 points against ranked opponents and Oklahoma has scored an average of 36.5 points against ranked opponents. Against ranked opponents Oklahoma has allowed an average of 30.75 points and A&M has allowed an average of 27.6 points. Therefore the point total seems a little high but the spread is very close. Oklahoma has consistently struggled against teams that pass for more than 300 yards a game. Texas A&M has problems against run teams. Since Texas A&M is a strong pass team and Oklahoma is not a strong run team, there is a good chance that Oklahoma’s defense will struggle to keep points off the board, more so than the Aggies. For that reason it seems that taking Texas A&M to cover the spread would be a good choice but the point total will be hard to cover.
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