The Sweep

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Oklahoma State receiver Dez Bryant presents a serious matchup problem for the shoddy Oregon secondary.
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No. 13 Oklahoma State (9-3) vs. No. 15 Oregon (9-3)
Dec. 30, 8 p.m. ET, ESPN


Reason To Watch:
Love offense? Love Mighty Mouse and Mr. Potato Head balloons? Then the Holiday Bowl is for you. The last few years this game has included a team jilted by the BCS to go along with a parade that features more giant character balloons than any parade in the nation, but this year, it's all about the offensive fireworks that two of the country's best rushing attacks will bring. Oregon is fourth nationally, averaging 277.8 yards per game on the ground behind running backs Jeremiah Johnson (1,082 yards, 12 touchdowns) and LeGarrette Blount (928 yards, 16 TDs) and dual-threat quarterback Jeremiah Masoli (612 rushing yards, seven scores). The Cowboys' ground game, led by RB Kendall Hunter (1,518 yards, 14 TDs) and QB Zac Robinson (508 yards, seven scores) is seventh in the nation at 256 ypg.

Keep An Eye On: Oklahoma State's Dez Bryant. The one thing that separates these offenses is the Cowboys' passing game, which features Robinson (2,735 yards, 24 TDs and eight interceptions) and arguably the game's best jump-ball receiver in Bryant. The 6-foot-2, 210-pound sophomore was this season's breakout star at wide receiver, catching 74 balls for 1,313 yards and 18 scores. Bryant could present a big problem for the 108th-ranked Oregon pass defense, which gave up 24 scores this season, including a combined 12 against the three best passing teams it faced (Boise State, USC and Oregon State). The Ducks haven't faced a pure receiver the caliber of Bryant.

Did You Know?: The Port of San Diego Big Balloon Parade has gone green with Kermit the Frog serving as grand marshal. Kermit, though, is no stranger to such an honor, having filled the same role in the 1996 Tournament of Roses Parade.

Final Analysis:
Conventional wisdom would say this will come down to whichever defense can make a stand. But when you consider both these defenses are yielding close to 30 points per game, it seems unlikely either can stifle offenses with a Sam's Club-like ability to score in bulk (both are averaging over 41 ppg). Oregon has the rushing attack to go toe-to-toe with the Cowboys, but with this likely headed for a shootout, Oklahoma State's balanced attack will win out.

The Pick: Oklahoma State 34, Oregon 31

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