Valero Alamo Bowl: No. 12 Oklahoma (10-2, Big 12) vs. No. 14 Arizona (9-3, Pac-12), Dec. 28, 9:15 p.m. Eastern (ESPN)

Line: Arizona by 2 1/2, according to FanDuel Sportsbook.

Series record: Tied 1-1.

What’s at Stake?

Its a chance for both teams to establish some continuity amid change. Arizona gets to prepare for its move to the Big 12 next season by facing a traditional conference power in Oklahoma, who just happens to be leaving for the SEC. The Sooners are playing in their 25th consecutive bowl game while the Wildcats are making their first appearance since 2017.

Key matchup

Oklahoma QB Jackson Arnold vs. the Arizona defense. Arnold makes his first career start as he takes over for Dillon Gabriel in the Sooners final game of the season.

Oklahoma coach Brent Venables said the plan was always for Arnold to take over the teams offense next season, but Gabriel opted to transfer instead of declaring for the NFL Draft as expected. Gabriel passed for 3,660 yards and 30 touchdowns while completing 266 of 384 passes with just six interceptions.

The 2022 Gatorade National Football Player of the Year at Guyer High School in Denton, Arnold threw for 202 yards and two touchdowns while completing 18 of 24 passes. He faces an Arizona defense that allowed 229.6 yards passing per game, 72nd in the country.

Players to watch

Arizona: LB Jacob Manu. The 5-foot-10, 211-pound sophomore led the Pac-12 with 108 tackles. It was the first time a Wildcats player had 100-plus tackles since Colin Schooler in 2018 and was the 27th in program history.

Oklahoma: WR Nic Anderson. The 6-4 receiver led the nation with 23.4 yards per reception as a freshman. He had nine touchdowns on 31 receptions. Anderson had at least 90 yards receiving in five games this season, including three of the previous four games.

Facts and Figures

Prior to Arizonas victory over Oklahoma in 1989, the teams had not met since 1921. The Sooners won that inaugural contest 17-13. The Wildcats evened the series with a 40-yard field goal to beat the Sooners 6-3. This is the first meeting between the teams in a bowl game. Arizona is making its second Alamo Bowl appearance.

The Oklahoma State Cowboys beat the Wildcats 36-10 in 2010 at the Alamodome. Oklahoma is averaging 44.7 points and 581.3 yards in its last three bowl appearances and 32 points in its last seven. Wildcats QB Noah Fifita threw for 23 touchdowns, tying USFs Byrum Brown for the most by an FBS freshman this season.

Fifita threw for 2,515 yards, including a school record 527 yards in a 59-23 rout of intrastate rival Arizona State on Nov. 25. Oklahoma is 4-3 against the Pac-12 in bowl games. The Wildcats enter the game having won six straight, their longest regular-season winning streak since 1998. The Sooners are 68-32-3 against the Pac-12 all-time. Arizonas eight-win improvement from a 1-11 record in 2021 is the largest victory increase over two years in the programs history.

Oklahoma is making its 57th bowl appearance in school history. The Sooners are 31-24-1 in bowl games, tied for the fourth most wins in college football history. Arizona played six straight games against AP Top 25 teams this season. The Wildcats were 4-2 against those teams, suffering consecutive losses to then No. 7 Washington and No. 9 USC on Sept. 30 and Oct. 7. A victory would give the Sooners their 27th season with 11 victories, the most in college football and two ahead of Alabama.

Sixth-year WB Drake Stoops, son of former Oklahoma head coach Bob Stoops, is playing in his final game with the Sooners. Stoops tied for the Big 12 lead with 10 touchdown receptions this season.