College Football Picks - 1/4/2013

Last Updated: 1/1/2013 at 4:00 PM ET

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One team covers the spread 57%+ in today's bowl game to qualify as a Paul's Pick for Friday, January 4.

Meineke Car Care Bowl: Oklahoma +4.5 vs. Texas A&M (Covers 57.3%)

The Vitals:
Projected Score: OU 39.6 - TexA&M 37.6
SU Pick and Win%: OU wins 51.9%
SU Confidence Rank (of 35 bowls): #33
ATS Pick and Win%: OU +4.5 covers 57.3%
ATS Confidence Rank (of 35 bowls): #10
ATS Wager for $50 Player: $52
O/U Pick and Win%: OVER (71.5) covers 56.1%
O/U Confidence Rank (of 35 bowls): 16
O/U Wager for $50 Player: $39

The Teams:

  OU TEXA&M
Record 10-2 10-2
Avg. Points For vs. Against 40.3-24.2 44.8-22.5
Strength of Schedule Rank (of all FBS): #4 #24
Passing Efficiency Rank (of 120 in SOS-adjusted metric): #6 #9
Rushing Efficiency Rank #12 #3
Pass Defense Efficiency Rank #16 #35
Rush Defense Efficiency Rank #70 #27
Pass/Run Ratio 57%/43% 49%/51%
Turnover Margin Rank #88 #88

The Breakdown:
It used to be a classic Big 12 game. Now it may be the most classic of the 2012-13 bowl season games. Texas A&M and Oklahoma meet in a Cotton Bowl matchup that could be one of the higher scoring and most dramatic of all of the bowls. In the projected outcome, the current Big 12 team upsets the former Big 12 (and current SEC) team with an explosive pass offense and some matchup advantages that work in the Sooners' favor.

With two top 25 schedules and each of these teams' two losses coming against teams that currently rank in the top ten overall in our updated college football power rankings, Oklahoma and Texas A&M have similar win-loss resumes on the year. Styles make fights though and, in this case, the team that can more effectively move the ball through the air and make big plays in the passing game - when all else is essentially equal - is the team that is in the slightly better position to win. That's true in most evenly-matched situations and is even more apt in a likely shootout.

Led by senior starting quarterback Landry Jones, Oklahoma, which passes the ball 57% of the time and ranks as the sixth most efficient is matched up against the 35th ranked pass efficiency defense (now playing in the SEC instead of the pass-heavy Big 12, the Aggies' opponents only passed on 49.3% of their plays against Texas A&M this season). Jones is looking to win his fourth straight bowl game as the Oklahoma starting quarterback.

With Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel at the helm, Texas A&M runs a balanced offense that ranks as the ninth most efficient through the air in the country. While that is obviously good, it's not as strong as Jones and the Sooners and the Aggies have a much more difficult matchup going up against a Sooners defense that ranks as one of the top defenses against the pass in FBS (#16 of 124 teams). 

The strongest case that can be made about the Cotton Bowl is that it should be a high-scoring, evenly matched shootout where neither team deserves to be a 4.5 point favorite (as Texas A&M is right now). The Sooners have a good chance to win this game and should (as they do 57% of the time) keep the game within the line. 

College Football Picks Pages:
January 4: Predictalator Picks  Paul's Analysis
All Bowl Games: Predictalator Picks
Play Analyzer - View Updated Picks on Current Consensus Lines
Customize the Predictalator - Play the Games with Any Lines
Buy Picks

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