Cotton Bowl: Oklahoma State vs. Missouri
Schedule analysis: Oklahoma State (10-2) would’ve been in the national championship conversations all season if they weren’t upset at West Virginia in late September. The Cowboys played the top teams in the Big 12 in the last three games of their season. They defeated Texas 38-13 in Austin and upset Baylor 49-17. With a shot to win the Big 12 they faltered at home against Oklahoma. Missouri (11-2) won 10 of their first 11 games. All 10 wins were by 14 points or more. They defeated Texas A&M to make the SEC championship game before losing to Auburn in Atlanta.
Miles from stadium: Oklahoma State is 271 miles away from AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. Missouri is 598 miles away. Both teams have strong alumni bases in the Dallas area so each team will have a strong crowd presence.
Motivation: Both teams will be motivated to play each other in a game between two past Big 12 teams.
Pick: Missouri -1.5
Orange Bowl: Clemson vs. Ohio State
Schedule analysis: Clemson (10-2) were poised to make a run at a national championship and their season started perfectly with a statement win against Georgia. The cruised through their ACC schedule before they were routed at home by Florida State 51-14. They ended the season with a loss to South Carolina. Ohio State (12-1) were one win away from playing in the national championship but lost to Michigan State in the Big 10 championship game. The highlights of their regular season were defeating Wisconsin at home and surviving against Michigan in Ann Arbor. Many thought Ohio State was overrated because of their weak schedule that including Purdue, Illinois and Indiana.
Miles from stadium: Clemson is 695 miles away from Sun Life Stadium in Miami. Ohio State is 1,145 miles away.
Motivation: Clemson knew there national title hopes have been done for awhile. Making the Orange Bowl is an accomplishment for them especially after the great season conference opponent Florida State had. Ohio State won’t be motivated for this game. They were so close to the BCS national championship and will be hard to get excited for this one.
Pick: Clemson +3
I think Ohio State is favored because of Urban Meyer’s strong past in bowl games. However, I don’t think Ohio State is a better team than Clemson. Expect a lot of scoring and a Clemson win in this game.