No. 25 Oklahoma State (8-4) vs. Texas A&M (7-5)
Location: Houston | When: Dec. 27 (6:45 p.m. ET) | TV: ESPN | Line: Texas A&M -6.5
HOW THESE TEAMS GOT HERE
Oklahoma State: The Cowboys beat who they were supposed to beat. With one exception. Oklahoma State beat teams like Kansas State, Iowa State, TCU and West Virginia. All good or decent wins. The Cowboys lost to Texas (before the Longhorns season went down the drain), Baylor and Oklahoma. All totally justifiable losses.
The weird loss is a 45-35 game at Texas Tech on Oct. 5. There’s always a team that goes to Lubbock as a ranked opponent and struggles and this year it was OSU.
Texas A&M: The Aggies started the season ranked No. 12 and were out of the AP Top 25 by Oct. 13.
Texas A&M started the season 3-3 with wins over Texas State, Lamar and Arkansas. The losses came to Clemson, Auburn and Alabama. So, you can understand why they happened.
But the breakthrough win that people expected from A&M just never happened in 2019. The Aggies played five top-10 teams at various points in the season and it’s hard to call any of the games remotely competitive even if two of those losses were within 10 points. A&M is favored in this game because it played in the toughest division in college football. But it’s fair to wonder just how good the Aggies actually are.
WHY YOU SHOULD WATCH
These teams look evenly matched. And it’s an old Big 12 showdown. Closing out the decade with a game between teams who started it in the same conference is appropriate.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Oklahoma State RB Chuba Hubbard: This one is a no-brainer, especially since we’re not sure just how much OSU will have QBs Spencer Sanders and Dry Brown split time during the game. Sanders missed the end of the season with a thumb injury but could play in the bowl game.
Hubbard has been one of the best backs in college football this season and it’s worth keeping a close eye on him even if you’ve recognized his brilliance this season. Hubbard has rushed 309 times for 1,936 yards and 21 touchdowns in 2019.
Texas A&M WR Jhamon Ausbon: The junior is the only Aggie with more than 50 catches and caught four or more passes in 10 of Texas A&M’s 12 games and has 65 catches for 862 yards. The Aggies are 3-1 when he catches a touchdown pass so if he does find the end zone on Friday, Oklahoma State may be in trouble.
NFL DRAFT PROSPECT
Oklahoma State CB A.J. Green: We don’t yet know if Hubbard will declare early, and A&M DT Justin Madubuike will not play in this one as he starts prepping for the draft. Those are our two highest-rated 2020 prospects on the respective rosters. But Green is an interesting player who has gone under the radar despite sharing a name with the Cincinnati Bengals’ star receiver. The 6-foot-1, 190-pound Green is a really good tackler and has improved his man coverage immensely over the past year-plus. He looks like a really nice Day 3 sleeper. Fun fact: Green has good athletic genes, with one cousin playing in the WNBA, two more cousins playing college football and a fourth cousin who played college volleyball.
— Eric Edholm
WHAT’S ON THE LINE
Oklahoma State: The Cowboys don’t lose bowl games all that often under Mike Gundy. His teams have gone to 13 bowl games and he’s 9-4 in them. The last loss came in the 2015 Sugar Bowl.
Texas A&M: It’d be a second straight bowl win for the Aggies and, more importantly, would mean Jimbo Fisher hasn’t (yet) had a worse season than Kevin Sumlin. The Aggies never lost more than five games in a season when Sumlin was the team’s head coach. And as you know, Sumlin was fired before the team’s bowl game in 2017 because his consistent string of eight-win seasons wasn’t enough. A&M wins eight games if it beats the Cowboys.
Nick Bromberg: Oklahoma State +6.5
Sam Cooper: Texas A&M -6.5
Picks from the Yahoo Sports College Podcast
Pat Forde: Oklahoma State +7
Pete Thamel: Oklahoma State +7
Dan Wetzel: Oklahoma State +7
Sean Sullivan: Oklahoma State +7