It’s virtually impossible to avoid the sentimentality of this matchup while I try to make a Valero Alamo Bowl free pick with Oregon being heavily favored against the Texas Longhorns. Head coach Mack Brown will end his 16 year tenure as head coach of Texas after Monday’s game with fifteen winning seasons, including an undefeated year that was capped with a national title in 2005. The end of an era is coming for the Longhorns and nobody knows what’s going to happen next. Texas does not have a replacement for Brown in place.
Figuring out this particular matchup is also a bit of a nightmare in and of itself. Texas went just 6-6 ATS on the year and were lifeless in their last game during a 10-30 loss against Baylor. If Texas had won that game, they would’ve earned a share of the conference title and a berth in the Sugar Bowl. As it stands, they can remain in their home state as long road dogs in one of the Lone Star State’s most famous post season games.
This team was relatively average with 31.1 points scored and 25.5 points allowed on the season, and still has the ability to play sparingly well given the right matchup. Texas went 4-2 SU and 3-3 ATS to end their year and own big wins over Oklahoma, Kansas State, TCU and Texas Tech. Is that enough for me to tout them as an underdog play in my Valero Alamo Bowl free pick?
That all depends on how much value you put in an Oregon team that I think is one of the most overhyped programs in the entire country. The Ducks lost just two games against Stanford and Arizona, but they also went just 3-2 SU and 1-4 ATS down the stretch. They are notorious for playing poorly away from Autzen Stadium. Oregon allowed 23.6 points per game on the road.
We can wax poetic all day long about how good Marcus Mariota is, or how we grade the Pac-12. In my eyes, the Pac-12 conference isn’t as good as people want to believe it is. And while the Big 12 certainly isn’t that much better, Texas has shown a knack for playing the type of fast and aggressive defense that Oregon struggles against. And Oregon’s defense is not very good. People seem to forget this.
These Ducks are not infallible, and the emotional boost that Texas will have in this game gives them a chance to really hammer the Ducks which is why I’m placing my faith in a double-digit cover here by Texas with my Valero Alamo Bowl free pick. Mack Brown may have fallen off a bit over the last few years, but all of the current players signed on with Texas to play for him. They’ll want to send their historic and legendary coach off properly.