In another battle of former Big 12 foes, the Cowboys bring their high powered offense to match up against a resurgent Buffalos who haven’t been on this stage since their Big 12 days. Since realignment most former foes have walked out with a win and that will likely play out in the Alamo Bowl as well.
Using advanced statistics from Football Outsiders to try and normalize how each team played against good opponents in quality situations we get a glimpse of what may occur in this game. Oklahoma State has the better record and a better record against Power Five teams, but Colorado, as evident in their Fremeu Efficiency Index has played much tougher against a harder schedule this year.
Offensively, Oklahoma State owns the edge in this match up. Their overall efficiency is 90%, while Colorado’s is 16%. This is bolstered by the Cowboys holding a nearly 10% premium per category in available yards gained, first downs achieved, and touchdowns. Oklahoma State also turns the ball over less often than the Buffalos, but only by a small margin compared to the rest of the comparisons.
Where Colorado earns their keep is on the defensive side of the ball. When looking at defensive efficiency the Buffalos are the fourth best team in the FBS with a staggering 119%, which blow’s the Cowboy’s 8% out of the water. Colorado then continues to lead Oklahoma State defensively by about the same margin as Oklahoma State led in offense. The Colorado defense causes a lot more turnovers than the Oklahoma State defense and more than the Oklahoma State offense commits. Turnovers are normally one of the largest factors in any game, but in this situation they could be pivotal.
When looking at the stats, Colorado holds the slight margin, primarily due to playing well against a tougher schedule. Additionally, most of the time having an elite defense is far more important than an elite offense. The game is being played in San Antonio, however, which gives the edge to the Cowboys if their fans show up in droves. My gut tells me to give this game to the Buffs, but my heart tells me to go with the Mullet.
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