College Football: Cowboys Face Stanford in Fiesta Bowl Showdown

Al Dannity | Updated Jan 02, 2012

You may have read about an architecture student who is rather good at throwing. He’s playing in this game. So are a lot of other awesome talents. Al Dannity breaks down the final game of Andrew Luck’s career and looks at how Brandon Weeden could play spoiler.

The Cowboys are men Oklahoma State don’t want to be here. They want to be in New Orleans playing for all the marbles. Things didn’t work out for Mike Gundy’s team with the final polls. Now they have two choices. Option A, they go through the motions, enjoy their week getting feted by local media, and end their season on a whimper. Option B, they look into the eyes of Stanford, imagine they are the Harris Poll voters, and beat the living hell out of them for 60 minutes. Look at Mike Gundy and tell me which option you think they are going to choose? [youtube][/youtube]

Offensive explosion Stanford’s passing game is well-known. With Luck at the helm, Stanford have looked just the type of dominating air attack one would expect from a team led by a future #1 overall draft pick. The running game was a monster all year as well but took around half a season to garner any respect. In truth, for all of Luck’s skill, the Cardinal have more in common with Wisconsin than their Fiesta Bowl opponents Oklahoma State. Power running is their core identity but their have an exceptional passer who goes above and beyond the duties of merely complementing the ground game.

The Cowboys have one of the greatest quarterback-receiver tandems of the last decade in Brandon Weeden and Justin Blackmon. This will be their last chance to make cornerbacks cry. Yet again this is a team with a dominant ground game deserving of more attention. The Cowboys ran for 278 yards in the Bedlam Bowl as they routed Oklahoma in Stillwater.

The verdict Don’t be surprised if we see close to 1,000 total yards of offense in this game. The Cowboys rack up yards in a hurry but they also tend to give up ground on defense at a fast clip. That being said, the decisive factor in this game will be the performance of both defenses. Stanford haven’t had the same bite since losing Shayne Skov, they remain good but lack the threat required to truly intimidate the Cowboys. Oklahoma State’s greatest asset comes in forcing turnovers. There may not be a more opportunistic defense in the game. College Football betting fans may get a sense of déjà-vu after I heaped similar praise on Oregon’s secondary. The Cowboys are even more skilled at picking off quarterbacks than the Ducks. I like Oklahoma State to stun the Cardinal by making big turnovers to win the Fiesta Bowl.

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