This December 27, 2023 College Football Bowl Game TaxAct Texas Bowl
Taxact Texas Bowl
Texas A&M vs Oklahoma State
Wednesday, December 27, 2023
Texas Bowl: Texas A&M Aggies vs. Oklahoma St Cowboys
From a fan perspective, both sides should have a nice crowd being at NRG Stadium in Houston, Texas. Mike Gundy in his pressers have been putting emphasis on a few things that raised my eyebrows. First, he’s consistent in saying that he has no idea what to expect from an Aggies team who is dealing with a bevy of issues. Secondly, he is emphatic on his team prepping for next year rather than this game.
Those comments are not exactly music to the ears of fans or people looking to wager on the Cowboys. Could Gundy be exaggerating? Absolutely, but you would like to hear a little more confidence and focus on this specific matchup. All of that aside, Gundy has been phenomenal in bowl games. Since 2006 (Gundy’s 2nd year) the Cowboys have been to 18 straight bowl games. In that span, he is 11-6 in bowl games which includes winning five of the last seven.
Expectations for Texas A&M
Although I did not like the comments, Mike Gundy is absolutely right about A&M. I have no idea what to expect from a group of players who did not get a lot of playing time this year. They will have an interim coaching staff and will be missing a bevy of key contributors on each side of the ball. Of course, the talent is overflowing on the Aggie roster but continuity and experience is lacking.
Counting Max Johnson, the Aggies will be without 12 starters who are either in the portal or opt outs. There are also two other key contributors who have not decided yet, so the Aggie roster has been depleted. There are seven starters out on the defensive side and five on the offensive side. It seems like too much to overcome on paper but that is why the game is played on the field.
There is an element of surprise that could play to the Aggies advantage but that only takes you so far, especially with a coach like Gundy. Their quarterback (Jaylen Henderson) started in three games to end the year and was solid with two games of 260+ passing yards and a 6-2 touchdown to interception ratio. Offensively, I think they’ll be fine at the skill position despite losing Anias Smith and Evan Stewart. Can they stop the rush attack is the biggest concern if you are an Aggie fan.
Who Wins? Why?
Despite all of the turnover and uncertainty, the Aggies are still favored to win. That shows how high level the talent is in College Station. Do I think they should be favored? No, which leads me into my pick to win. I like the Cowboys to come out and get it done against a team who has more questions than answers despite having loads of talent. After their poor performance in the B12 title game, I expect this group to come out hungry and motivated.
There is minimal opt outs for the Cowboys (2 WR’s & a backup RB) but more importantly, all signs point to Doak Walker Award winner Ollie Gordon II to be in the backfield. Since the emergence of Ollie in week four, we’ve seen the offense improve and be more balanced. Four of the seven defensive starters out for A&M are in the front seven. That is the wrong place to not have your best available with Ollie Gordon II coming off one of his worst performances of the year
Defensively the Cowboys are solid against the run, ranking inside the top 35 in rush success rate allowed. This helps with the two headed backfield of Moss and Owens. You want to make the inexperienced quarterback play from behind the chains. Despite the comments from Gundy, I think the Cowboys as constructed have the better team on the field and a huge coaching advantage. Doesn’t mean they will win but with Ollie Gordon II in the backfield, I think they win this game comfortably, 34-17.
THIS IS AN ARTICLE WRITTEN BY DELONTE SMITH
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