The Big 12 is officially 2-0 this bowl season against other Power Five conferences, as both Oklahoma State and Texas got wins last night. Up next, the Big 12 will have its next non-conference showing against the SEC, as Oklahoma takes on Florida in the Cotton Bowl. With TCU’s game against Arkansas getting cancelled yesterday, this will be the Big 12’s only chance to get some bragging rights against the media’s favorite conference in 2020.
No. 7 Oklahoma Sooners (8-2) vs. No. 6 Florida Gators (8-3)
- Bowl: Cotton Bowl
- Date & Time: Wed, Dec 30, 7:00 PM CT
- TV, Betting Line: ESPN, OU -3.0
This has really been a banner year for the Florida Gators, who were at one point in the season in contention for a potential spot in the College Football Playoff. Behind Heisman candidate Kyle Trask, head coach Dan Mullen’s offense has been extremely explosive throwing the ball this season, averaging 41.6 points per game and 388 yards through the air, a number that tops the FBS. Importantly, however, Trask will be without his top four receiving threats for the Cotton Bowl, as they’ve opted out to prepare for the NFL Draft.
While the Gators have an elite passing attack, however, they rank 110th in college football rushing yards per contest. Florida has also struggled somewhat on the defensive side of the ball in 2020, allowing 3.9 yards per carry on the ground and surrendering 404.7 yards per game through the air.
Any defensive issues that can be found in the Florida defense will definitely be tested by Oklahoma, a team that is equally elite on offense. They’re led by the highly accurate redshirt freshman Spencer Rattler, who has 25 touchdowns through nine games, and has a passer rating of 170.9. On the ground, the Sooners are powered by a running attack that has seen the late emergence of Rhamondre Stevenson, who’s averaging 5.8 yards per carry.
Despite any national narratives you may hear, Oklahoma is improved on the defensive side of the ball, and has one of the better defenses in the Big 12, yielding 21.9 points per game. The key for the Sooners is their defensive line, which has multiple future stars at the next level. Oklahoma’s biggest question mark, by far, is their secondary, where the Sooners do tend to give up big plays.
A lot is going to be made about Trask missing many of his receivers, and that certainly will be a factor here. At the same time, the rate of development of wide receivers is normally faster than that of any other position, so expect Florida to still be able to sling it around. Oklahoma usually makes up for some of their defensive coverage issues by being able to get pressure on the quarterback, so getting to Trask will be a key goal for Alex Grinch and that defense.
The biggest difference in this game is Florida’s defense, and specifically their questionable ability to defend against Rattler’s elite arm and the bevy of pass catchers that Oklahoma always seems to have. In truth, the line on this game might be a little too small. If the Sooners can contain the Florida passing attack to some extent, and avoid having a bunch of turnovers, I would expect Oklahoma to come out on top in this one.
Prediction: Oklahoma by seven.