Both teams will be disappointed to be here. Oklahoma State finished 10-2, but a narrow loss in the last game against Oklahoma cost them a chance to play for the Big 12 title. Arizona began 7-1, but faltered in November, losing four straight to finish 7-5. Though, to be fair, two of the opponents were Stanford and Oregon on the road. The other two losses were by a field goal to USC and in overtime to rival Arizona State.
Justin Blackmon: He is the country’s most dominant non-quarterback on offense. Blackmon averaged 13 yards per catch, totaled 105 yards and scored a touchdown in every game he played this season.
Tipping Point: This game could be crucial for perceptions about Arizona’s program. A win conjures the stability of three-straight eight-win seasons and erases the stain of last year’s 33-0 bowl drubbing. A loss sparks questions about whether Mike Stoops’ program has stagnated.
Continuity: Dana Holgorsen is leaving to become West Virginia’s coach-in-waiting, but he’s staying on to coach through the bowl game. Him leaving may be a distraction, but surely not as much as if he already left.
For Arizona to Win: Get pressure on Brandon Weeden. The Wildcats do not have the secondary personnel to cover a spread field and Justin Blackmon adequately. Arizona must disrupt OSU’s deep passing game before it happens. Sixteen of OSU’s 60 touchdown drives lasted less than a minute in a half.
For Oklahoma State to Win: More of the same. The Cowboys have the number one offense in the country. They scored at least 33 points in every game Justin Blackmon played. If Oklahoma State balanced and prolific, Arizona’s offense will struggle to keep up.
Prediction: Arizona is a decent team, but Oklahoma State’s offense will be too explosive.
[Photo via Getty]