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Dr. Saturday

Cotton Bowl: It’s a prove-it game for both Missouri and Oklahoma State

Nick Bromberg
Dr. Saturday

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AT&T Cotton Bowl Classic
Oklahoma State vs. Missouri
Arlington, Tex.
Jan. 3, 2013

It wasn't that long ago that Missouri and Oklahoma State faced each other twice every four years as members of the Big XII conference. And before that, as members of the Big 8, a meeting between the two was an annual occurrence.

The two met each other for the final time as conference rivals in 2011, and the Cowboys were victorious. Now they meet for the first time as teams from different conferences, though there's a fair bit of commonality in the ultimate meaning of a Cotton Bowl victory for either team. For both, a win Friday night is a chance to stamp with authority that the time spent near the top of the polls throughout the 2013 season was legitimate.

Missouri's BCS -- and ultimately what would have been Championship Game -- hopes were dashed, or should we say gashed, by the Auburn running game in the SEC Championship Game. The Missouri defense, powered by an defensive line that might be the best in the country, was the star of the Tigers' 11-2 season, but on that Saturday in Atlanta, Auburn and Nick Marshall and Tre Mason had their way through, around and over Missouri's defensive front.

Oklahoma State was penciled into the Fiesta Bowl entering the last week of the season. Though that turned out to be very light pencil courtesy of Bedlam rival Oklahoma, who swiftly moved down the field to take the win -- and a BCS berth -- away from the Cowboys in Stillwater.

For Missouri, the question is no longer about relevancy in the SEC. That was answered emphatically this season. For Oklahoma State, the question is no longer about continued relevancy in the Big 12 either. Both teams have risen from the ashes that were the 1980s (for Missouri) and the 1990s (for Oklahoma State), and have just one losing season apiece in the past 10 seasons. A Cotton Bowl win could go a long way to pump up this new normal.

MASCOT FIGHT

Pistol Pete's weaponry goes a long way in determining this one. A human stands absolutely no chance against a tiger. But with a name like "Pistol Pete," you assume that the cowboy is a good shot. That needs to be true if Pistol Pete wants to win this one.

PREDICTIONS

Graham: Missouri 35, Oklahoma State 28. These teams are pretty evenly matched, which makes this pick a little difficult. But I think Missouri's offensive weapons are too numerous to stop. I also think the Tigers' defense will be eager to have a good game especially after getting embarrassed in the SEC title game.

Nick: Missouri 27, Oklahoma State 24. I don't think that the winner of this game breaks 30. Missouri running back Henry Josey didn't provide a direct comment when asked about his draft status for next season and if this is his last college football game, his comeback story continues.

Sam: Missouri 34, Oklahoma State 30. I think this game comes down to Missouri’s receivers going against Oklahoma State’s secondary. Justin Gilbert has six INTs for the Cowboys, but the L’Damian Washington and Dorial Green-Beckham will be tough to contain. Missouri won’t give up 59 points in this game like they did vs. Auburn, and they’ll do just enough to hold off the Cowboys.

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Nick Bromberg is the assistant editor of Dr. Saturday on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at nickbromberg@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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