The Big 12 squares off against the Pac-12 for a bowl game when the 8-4 Texas Longhorns meet the 9-3 Oregon State Beavers in the 20th edition of the Alamo Bowl Saturday, Dec. 29 in San Antonio (6:45 pm ET, ESPN).
The early Alamo Bowl odds listed Texas as a one-point favorite; since then the 'Horns have been bet up to -3 at most sportsbooks tracked by OddsShark.com. It's noteworthy that Texas has won 11 of its past 12 bowl games.
Texas began this season as the second choice on most preseason Big 12 championship betting boards, behind only Oklahoma. But after a fairly impressive 4-0 start, back-to-back losses to West Virginia and Oklahoma, in which the 'Horns gave up a combined 111 points, put an end to those hopes.
Texas then won four in a row, but ended its regular season by losing consecutive games to TCU and Kansas State to finish at 5-4 in Big 12 play.
Oregon State, meanwhile, after going 3-9 last year, was not expected to do much this season. In fact, Coach Riley's name was popping up on several preseason "hot seat" lists. But the Beavers got off to a quick start, and ended up snapping a two-season bowl-less streak.
OSU opened this season with a win over Rose Bowl-bound Wisconsin, then won at UCLA and at Arizona, and later won at BYU, all part of a 6-0 start. But the Beavers then came back to reality with a loss at Washington. After that Oregon State beat Arizona State, lost a tough game at eventual Pac-12 champion Stanford, beat up on Cal but lost the Civil War game to Oregon 48-24 to finish at 6-3 in conference play. The Beavers then completed their regular season by trouncing Nicholls State 77-3 in a game that was postponed from Week 1.
Statistically speaking Texas outgained opponents this season by a 441-412 YPG margin, but got outrushed on average 199-179. Oregon State outgained foes 443-354, but also got outrushed, although by just a 131-126 YPG margin.
On the injury front Longhorns QB David Ash missed the regular-season finale with sore ribs, but he is expected to start the bowl game. Oregon State juggled quarterbacks a couple of times this season, but will go with junior Cody Vaz to start the Alamo Bowl.
Playing above expectations this season the Beavers are 8-4 ATS; playing a bit below expectations the 'Horns are 5-7 ATS.
Texas is 9-4 in bowls under Mack Brown. Last year the Longhorns beat Cal in the Holiday Bowl 21-10. Oregon State is 5-1 in bowls under Mike Riley. They had won five bowls in a row before falling to BYU in the Las Vegas Bowl three seasons ago 44-20.
Alamo Bowl Pick: Texas may have something of a home-crowd advantage for this game, but we like the way Oregon State has performed this year. We'll back the Beavers plus the points. (courtesy of PickShark.com)
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