By Brad Carroll
Four of the best teams in college football will get the primetime stage Friday night as a pair of huge games will be on national television opposite each other for our viewing pleasure. Here we preview and our college football experts pick against the spread the Orange Bowl between No. 12 Clemson and No. 7 Ohio State and the Cotton Bowl between No. 13 Oklahoma State and No. 8 Missouri. Check back throughout the bowl season, and follow us on Twitter, for previews and game picks.
No. 13 Oklahoma State vs. No. 8 Missouri, 7:30 p.m., FOX
The Spread: Oklahoma State +1.5; Missouri -1.5
Brad's Breakdown: Both Oklahoma State and Missouri come into this game off heartbreaking losses. The Cowboys lost to Oklahoma as big favorites, ruining what would have been a Big 12 championship and a trip to a BCS game. The Tigers couldn't stop Auburn in the SEC championship game and lost an opportunity to possibly play for a national title. While both would have loved to have been playing for more this bowl season, this should be a great matchup between tremendous football teams. Oklahoma State lost twice this year, to West Virginia, a bad defeat, and Oklahoma. The Cowboys beat ranked teams Texas Tech, Texas and Baylor. They ruined Baylor's championship dreams with a 49-17 victory. Missouri lost twice as well, to South Carolina in double overtime and Auburn. The Tigers beat ranked foes Georgia, Ole Miss, Florida and Texas A&M. In that latter game, Missouri held Johnny Manziel and company to just 21 points. Oklahoma State averages 39.8 points per game on offense and 20 points allowed on defense, both ranked 13th in the nation. Missouri averages 39 points per game, 16th in the nation, and allows 22.5 points on defense, 29th best. The Tigers are just too good on both offense and defense for the Cowboys.
Brad's Pick: Missouri 34, Oklahoma State 27
Craig's Pick: Oklahoma State 38, Missouri 35
Glenn's Pick: Missouri 35, Oklahoma State 31
No. 12 Clemson vs. No. 7 Ohio State, 8:30 p.m., ESPN
The Spread: Clemson +2.5; Ohio State -2.5
Brad's Breakdown: The last time these two teams played was in the 1978 Gator Bowl, which is a legendary game for dubious reasons. After Clemson's Charlie Bauman intercepted a late pass, clinching a 17-15 victory, Ohio State coach Woody Hayes threw a punch at the player. Hayes was fired the next day. There shouldn't be any fireworks like that in the Orange Bowl Friday night, but there is the potential for plenty of explosions from two talented offenses. Ohio State averages 46.3 points per game, third best in the nation. Clemson scores 40.2 points per game, ninth best. Both teams come into this game with some disappointment, however, with the worse coming from the Buckeyes. Ohio State would have clinched a spot in the national championship game if it could have beaten Michigan State in the Big 10 title game, but the Spartans put a hurting on the Buckeyes and knocked them out of the title game picture. It was the first loss in two years for the Buckeyes, as coach Urban Meyer guided the team to a perfect season last year in addition to the run this year. Clemson too was riding high with six straight wins to start the season before coming into a huge showdown at home against Florida State. The Seminoles routed the Tigers in that game to knock Clemson out of the title game picture. Obviously, Ohio State's loss is fresher and therefore hurts a whole lot more. Clemson does come into this game off a loss as well, dropping a 31-17 decision to South Carolina. The two biggest games the Tigers have played this year, they've been beaten handily. Ohio State will continue that trend, finishing the season with a BCS bowl win, even if it's not the one the Buckeyes wanted.
Brad's Pick: Ohio State 35, Clemson 28
Craig's Pick: Ohio State 38, Clemson 24
Glenn's Pick: Ohio State 35, Clemson 27
Brad's Bowl Record: 13-17 (spread); 16-14 (straight-up); 3-5 (upset picks)
Brad's Season: 103-98-2 (spread); 147-56 (straight-up); 10-17 (upset picks)
Craig's Bowl Record: 16-14 (spread); 17-13 (straight-up); 3-4 (upset picks)
Craig's Season: 100-101-2 (spread); 148-55 (straight-up); 10-17 (upset picks)
Glenn's Bowl Record: 22-8 (spread); 20-10 (straight-up); 5-3 (upset picks)
Glenn's Season: 106-95-2 (spread); 146-57 (straight-up); 15-24 (upset picks)