Predictions 101 — Heart of Dallas Bowl

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Purdue vs. Oklahoma State
Tues., Jan. 1 – Noon ET, ESPNU
Dallas – Cotton Bowl

The name of Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy was mentioned here, there and everywhere for job openings. Turns out, he’s staying with the Cowboys. There’s still work to be done.

The Cowboys (7-5) were within a whisker of playing for a national championship in 2011. This season, it’s a New Year’s Day game, but one that is strictly off-Broadway.

Oklahoma State’s offense was dynamite as usual (who can forget the start: Oklahoma State 84, Savannah State 0), but had its defense simply held opponents to five touchdowns in each of the defeats, the Cowboys would be 10-2.

Not sure how Purdue will deal with such a volatile unit. The Cowboys are the nation’s seventh-best passing team and they also feature junior RB Joseph Randle (1,351 yards, 14 touchdowns).

The Boilermakers (6-6) still are making the transition to a new coach. Danny Hope (22-27 in four seasons) was fired, even after winning three straight games to achieve bowl eligibility. It could have been different. Purdue lost to Notre Dame 20-17 and fell against Ohio State in overtime.

Purdue has since hired Kent State’s Darrell Hazell, but his energy will be spent recruiting, not coaching this game. It would be heartwarming to see sixth-year Purdue QB Robert Marve, who began at Miami and suffered three ACL surgeries, to go out with a bang. But Marve can’t stop the Cowboys, either.

Opening point spread: Oklahoma State by 17 1/2

The pick: Oklahoma State 40, Purdue 30

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