This year, the Fiesta Bowl is not in the College Football Playoff lineup. However, football fans in Arizona will still be treated to a New Year’s matchup featuring two of college football’s best teams.
No. 5 Notre Dame will be taking on No. 9 Oklahoma State after both teams found themselves on the outside looking in on the CFP. But they both had great seasons and earned themselves an appearance in a New Year’s Six bowl game.
This will be the first time the Notre Dame Fighting Irish and the Oklahoma State Cowboys have ever played each other. As fans from both schools make their way to the Grand Canyon State, we should be in for a fun one inside State Farm Stadium.
Notre Dame Slight Favorites Over Oklahoma State in the Desert
This year’s Fiesta Bowl matchup features an intriguing matchup with two college football squads that have rewarded sports bettors against the spread in 2021. Heading into this game, Arizona online sportsbooks give the edge to the Fighting Irish. Notre Dame is walking in favored, with the spread at .
Both teams feature strong defenses, so bettors should expect points to come at a premium. The over/under on the score is at .
The Fighting Irish, who are on a seven-game winning streak, have won 11 of their last 12 games. During this recent seven-game stretch, they have been perfect against the spread (7-0). In fact, Notre Dame is a 24-13 home loss to No. 4 Cincinnati away from an undefeated season and a berth in the College Football Playoff.
On the other side, Oklahoma State heads into the Fiesta Bowl looking to avenge being upset by No. 7 Baylor in the Big 12 championship game as a seven-point favorite. Prior to that, the Cowboys had ripped off wins in 11 of 12 games. This season, OSU was 3-0 ATS and 2-1 straight-up as an underdog, and each of those three games all had single-digit spreads.
2022 PlayStation Fiesta Bowl
No. 5 Notre Dame Fighting Irish (11-1) vs No. 9 Oklahoma State Cowboys (11-2)
Date: Saturday, Jan. 1, 2022
Time: 11:00 a.m. MST
Location: State Farm Stadium – Glendale, Arizona
TV Coverage: ESPN
Freeman looks to kick off new era of Notre Dame football with victory
In the Fiesta Bowl, Marcus Freeman will make his debut as the head coach for Notre Dame. Freeman takes over for Brian Kelly, who surprised many by taking the LSU job.
For bettors, the question is what kind of impact will coach Kelly moving onto LSU, while also taking several coaches, have on the Irish in the Fiesta Bowl? After one year as Notre Dame’s defensive coordinator, Freeman was promoted to the job and has brought some new energy to the program.
However, Norte Dame hasn’t fared well in New Year’s Six games in the past, going 11-13 all-time and 0-6 since 2000. The Irish went 1-5 ATS in those six matchups and hit the under five times.
The Irish will also be without two massive pieces to their team. Some had hopes that safety Kyle Hamilton would be able to play after suffering a scary injury against USC back in October. However, he has decided to opt out and instead prepare for the NFL draft. The same goes for leading rusher Kyren Williams who ended the season with over 1,000 rushing yards. He will also skip the Fiesta Bowl to get ready for the NFL, leaving Tyler Buchner as the team’s new leading rusher.
Despite the coaching change and the loss of two key players, the Irish’s top-ten defense and Jack Coan settling in at quarterback may be what has kept the spread steady.
Oklahoma State back in New Year’s Six bowl for first time since 2015
Oklahoma State lost the Big 12 championship game in heart-breaking fashion. The Cowboys were literally less than one foot away from a potential trip to the College Football Playoff before Baylor came up with a goal-line stand to knock OSU out of a chance at the final four.
The question for the Cowboys: Will there be a hangover following such a devastating loss? Oklahoma State’s defense has been outstanding, ranking eighth in the nation, allowing only 16.8 points per game. The only big name that will be missing from the Oklahoma State sideline is defensive coordinator Jim Knowles, who left to take the same role at Ohio State.
The key to an OSU win may come down to junior Spencer Sanders and turnovers. The Oklahoma State quarterback threw six interceptions in the Cowboys’ last two games, including four in the Big 12 championship loss to Baylor. Notre Dame ranks 19th in the FBS in turnover margin at +9.
Sanders’ top target is senior wide receiver Tay Martin, who leads the team in receptions (70), receiving yards (942) and receiving touchdowns (7). Meanwhile, Oklahoma State relies heavily upon Jaylen Warren. The senior running back spearheads the OSU ground game with 1,134 rushing yards and 11 touchdowns on the season.