Two VSiN handicappers dig into Wednesday’s Cotton Bowl, which pits Oklahoma vs. Florida at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. The Sooners are 3-point favorites, with a total of 67.5.
Edwards: Florida will be without Kyle Pitts, Kadarius Toney and Trevon Grimes, but All-American QB Kyle Trask (43 touchdown passes, five interceptions) is a go. Even without those star players, the Gators still have plenty of weapons for Trask to use, including backup TE Keon Zipperer, who had a pair of touchdown catches when Pitts was out vs. Arkansas. There’s also the other backup tight end, Kemore Gamble, who had two touchdown catches in a 38-17 win at Vanderbilt.
Wideouts Xzavier Henderson, Justin Shorter and Trent Whittemore are excellent players, with Shorter poised for a breakout season in 2021. Also, Trask throws to all three running backs, who are healthy and ready to go. Oklahoma star CB Tre Brown has opted out, so that bodes well for Florida.
The Gators average 41.6 ppg, while Oklahoma averages 41.8. Florida’s defense can’t stop elite offenses, and OU is facing the most high-octane offensive unit it has seen this year. Oklahoma is ranked third nationally in run defense, but the Gators don’t run the ball much. They do like it to chunk around the yard, though, ranking No. 1 in the nation in passing yards.
Even when Brown was with the Sooners, they still ranked No. 75 in the country at defending the pass. Trask and Oklahoma QB Spencer Rattler have combined for a 68-12 TD/INT ratio and eight rushing touchdowns. Both offenses will score points in bunches.
Pick: Florida +3, Over 67.5
Tuley: Both of these teams had higher aspirations this season, but Oklahoma lost early games vs. Kansas State and Iowa State and the Sooners were unable to get into the playoff even with a Big 12 title. Meanwhile, Florida was in control of its own destiny until losing 37-34 to unranked LSU on Dec. 12 and then of course lost to Alabama, though a valiant effort in a 52-46 loss.
A big part of picking the winner here is figuring out which team will be showing up with its A-game and if either will be too let down after having such lofty dreams shattered. Oklahoma might be in a better frame of mind overall as the Sooners have continued to play hard (and improve) despite the Cottslow start while Florida could be out of gas.
Trask has had an awesome season for the Gators, but Oklahoma’s Rattler is on the improve and could be a serious Heisman candidate next year. In our VSiN Bowl Guide, I picked Oklahoma +3, so I’ll still be cheering for that, but if forced to make a pick now, I’d pass on the side and look to the Over. Both QBs are superb, so expect a shootout.
Pick: Over 67.5.
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