Game to be played at Alamodome, San Antonio, Texas
Two former Big 12/Eight rivals clash in the 25th Alamo Bowl when No. 13 Oklahoma takes on No. 11 Colorado on Dec. 29 in San Antonio. Before Colorado jumped to the Pac-12 Conference in 2011, the programs met 46 times between 1920 and 2009 with the Buffaloes holding a 26-19-1 advantage. The Cowboys, however, won three of the last four meetings and emerged victorious in eight of their last nine contests overall against Pac-12 foes.
Colorado’s sudden and unexpected turnaround – going from 5-40 in its first five seasons of Pac-12 play to 8-1 (10-3 overall) and winning the Pac-12 South – was one of the more surprising FBS developments and garnered coach fourth-year coach Mike MacIntyre the Associated Press, Home Depot and Walter Camp national coach of the year awards. The Buffaloes were dominated by College Football Playoff-bound Washington 41-10 in the Pac-12 championship game Dec. 2, but Colorado still has a chance to cap the program’s first winning season since 2005 with its first bowl win since the 2004 Houston Bowl. “What’s been so awesome about this team is they’ve looked adversity right in the face for a few years and didn’t let it break them, they let it make them,” MacIntyre said at the Dec. 8 Alamo Bowl news conference. “That’s why we’ve achieved.”
Oklahoma State started the season 2-2 but proceeded to reel off seven straight victories – including double-digit wins over nationally ranked Texas and West Virginia – to set up a de facto Big 12 championship game Dec. 3 at Oklahoma. The game was tied at 17 at halftime, but the No. 7 Sooners owned the second half, outscoring the Cowboys 21-3 to cap their undefeated run through the Big 12 and send Oklahoma State into a month of bowl prep on a down note. “We want to win them all,” 12th-year Cowboys coach Mike Gundy said at the bowl news conference. “But I get over the games really fast because I believe if we think one second about the past, that keeps us from thinking about being positive in the future, then that’s one second that doesn’t give us an opportunity to be successful the next day.”
TV: 9 p.m. ET, ESPN.
LINE HISTORY: Colorado opened this battle of top 25 ranked teams as 3-point favorites and was briefly bet up to 3.5, but has returned to the opening number of 3. The total opened at 62.5 and has been bet up half-point to 63. Check out the complete line history here.
WEATHER REPORT: Dome
Oklahoma State – OL Larry Williams (probable, ankle), DE Jordan Brailford (questionable, leg)
Colorado – OL Gerrad Kough (probable, ankle), QB Sefo Liufau (probable, ankle), DB Jaisen Sanchez (questionable, knee), LB Christian Shaver (questionable, suspension), DE Jaleel Awini (questionable, suspension), TE Chris Hill (questionable, suspension), WR Bryce Bobo (questionable, leg)
ABOUT OKLAHOMA STATE (9-3 SU, 7-5 ATS, 7-5 OU): This will be the Cowboys’ 11th straight bowl appearance under Gundy, the former Oklahoma State quarterback, and it is also the program’s fourth overall appearance in the Alamo Bowl with the last one coming in 2010 (a 36-10 victory over Arizona). In quarterback Mason Rudolph (3,777 yards, 25 touchdown passes), running back Justice Hill (187 carries, 1,042 yards, five TDs) and wide receiver James Washington (62 catches, 1,209 yards, nine TDs), the Cowboys are one of six FBS teams with a 3,500-yard passer, 1,000-yard rusher and 1,000-yard receiver, and are averaging 492.1 yards (17th nationally) and 38.7 points (19th) per game. Free safety Jordan Sterns (team-most 96 total tackles) and defensive tackle Vincent Taylor (12 tackles for loss, six sacks) are the leaders for the Cowboys’ defense, which is surrendering 457.0 yards (108th FBS) and 28.1 points (tied for 65th) per contest but has forced 24 turnovers and ranks ninth nationally with a plus-10 turnover differential.
ABOUT COLORADO (10-3 SU, 10-3 ATS, 5-8 OU): The Buffaloes are vying to become the fourth team in program history to win 11 games, and keeping record-setting senior quarterback Sefo Liufau (2,171 passing yards, 496 rushing, 18 total TDs) healthy will be a key as he was battling injuries and/or unable to finish each of the team’s three losses this season, including the Pac-12 title game. Running back Phillip Lindsay (230 carries, 1,189 yards, 16 TDs) and wide receiver Shay Fields (52 receptions, 845 yards, nine TDs) top the list of Liufau’s primary weapons with Colorado averaging 32.8 points (tied for 43rd FBS) and 446.3 yards (43rd) per outing. Led by linebacker Kenneth Olugbode (105 total tackles), linebacker Jimmie Gilbert (10.5 sacks) and safety Tedric Thompson (seven interceptions), Colorado ranks in the top 20 nationally in total defense (328.3 yards allowed), scoring (20.5 points) and passing defense (182.5) while also recording 26 takeaways (tied for seventh nationally), but veteran defensive coordinator Jim Leavitt is getting a sizable raise to take the same position at Oregon and likely won’t coach in the bowl game.
* Cowboys are 4-1 ATS vs. a team with a winning record.
* Buffaloes are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games following a straight up loss.
* Under is 4-1 in Cowboys last 5 games on grass.
* Under is 4-0 in Buffaloes last 4 neutral site games.
For a full list of hot and cold trends click here.
COVERS CONSENSUS: The public is on the underdog in this matchup, with 54 percent of wagers on Oklahoma State. As for the total, an overwhelming 69 percent of wagers are on the Over. Click here for in depth consensus data.