The Texas A&M Aggies will have a lot of missing pieces for the Texas Bowl against Oklahoma State. How will that have an effect on this Bowl Game?
- Oklahoma State +2 (-110)
- Over 53.5 (-110)
Wednesday, December 27, 2023 – 9:00 PM ET at NRG Stadium
The Texas A&M Aggies have been dealing with absolute chaos over the last couple of months.
Texas A&M fired its head coach, Jimbo Fisher, earlier in the season and watched offensive coordinator Bobby Petrino take the same job at Arkansas.
A&M brought in Kansas State’s offensive coordinator Collin Kelin and added Mike Elko as head coach from Duke. However, Elko won’t coach this game.
Meanwhile, Elijah Robinson, who was recently hired as Syracuse’s defensive coordinator, is still going to serve as the interim head coach through the bowl game. Does anyone think Robinson’s head will be on straight for this game? He’s not even an Aggie anymore. He’s recruiting for Syracuse!
The Aggies expect third-string Jaylen Henderson to get the start for this game. Henderson played in the final three games for the Aggies, adding 704 yards passing with six touchdowns and two interceptions. He also ran for 104 yards on 41 carries this season.
The sophomore quarterback won’t have much help. There have been eight starters that entered the transfer portal. Five other significant players also joined the portal. That includes WR Evan Stewart, who added 514 yards receiving, and starting right tackle Chase Bisontis.
Meanwhile, the Aggies will also play without four opt-outs, including top receiver Ainias Smith, who caught a team-high 53 passes this season. The starting right guard, Layden Robinson, also opted out, and center Bryce Foster is another player who could end up not playing.
Uncertainty in Oklahoma State
On the other hand, Oklahoma State only lost three significant players to the transfer portal. It’s possible that a couple of key names opt-out, including Ollie Gordon II. Nothing has been announce yet.
However, Gordon received some Heisman votes this season after adding 20 touchdowns with 1,614 yards on the ground. It would be significant if Gordon didn’t play, but there are no signs that he isn’t playing as of now.
Oklahoma State finished the season 9-4 and wasn’t expected to be any good. Instead, the Cowboys played in the Big 12 Championship game and will take on an Aggies team that is just pure chaos heading into the bowl game.
Texas A&M probably has more talent on their roster, despite everyone leaving. However, the Cowboys have everything intact in terms of coaching and players. That’s a major key to winning a bowl game.
Give me Oklahoma State at +2.
NCAAF Pick: Oklahoma State +2 (-110) at Caesars Sportsbook
What About The Total?
The Oklahoma State Cowboys have earned 29.46 points per game. But they’ve also allowed 29 points per game.
Behind Alan Bowman, the Cowboys have thrown for 257.23 yards per game. However, Bowman has thrown just 13 touchdowns and 12 interceptions this year. The Cowboys rely more heavily on the ground game.
Against the run, the Aggies have allowed 106.67 yards per game. They’ve been great against the run this season. While they’ll be without many players, the Aggies still have a lot of talent that can make plays. It’s just that the communication probably won’t be there. A lot of young guys will get a chance to play with some of the veterans, and with unfamiliarity comes many mistakes.
Conversely, I still like Jaylen Henderson and what he’s able to do. He threw for nearly 300 yards against LSU and completed over 71% of his passes in that game. He can compete against SEC-caliber defenses. But despite his running capabilities, he’ll be sacked a whole lot. He had ten sacks in just three games against LSU, ACU, and Miss State.
With the Cowboys allowing over 256 yards passing and 174 yards rushing, the Aggies can put some points on the board. After all, the Cowboys were very weak against the run and didn’t always convert on tackles cleanly this season. The pass defense showed signs of improvement throughout the season, but it wasn’t close to the level that Texas A&M played at.
The most interesting part of this game is how the Texas A&M run defense responds against Ollie Gordon. The Cowboys were tremendous on the ground this season, while the Aggies were dominant at stopping the run. Personally, I think Gordon will break for a couple of big runs against this Aggies defense.
Let’s ride the Over 53.5 at -110 betting odds for this matchup.
NCAAF Pick: Over 53.5 (-110) at Caesars Sportsbook
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