Alamo Bowl College Football Picks: #13 Oregon St Beavers vs #23 Texas Longhorns

2012 Valero Alamo Bowl
Saturday, December 29, 2012, 6:45 pm Eastern, TV: ESPN
#13 Oregon St Beavers vs #23 Texas Longhorns
AlamoDome – San Antonio, Texas
Opening Line: Oregon St -1
Current Line: Oregon St -3 (-120)
Opening Total: 56 1/2
Current Total: 57 1/2
Opening Money Line: Oregon St -140 / Texas +120
Current Money Line: Oregon St -160 / Texas +140

#13 Oregon St is a 3 point favorite against #23 Texas in the Alamo Bowl in San Antonio. This is the first bowl game of the season between two ranked teams.

The 8-4 Texas Longhorns are #23 in the BCS Standings. They make the 81 mile trip southwest on I-35 to San Antonio for the Alamo Bowl. However, many Longhorn fans thought they would have gone north on the 35 to the Dallas area for the Cotton Bowl to take on old rival Texas A&M. That didn’t happen when Northern Illinois qualified for the Orange Bowl and knocked Oklahoma out of an at-large bid to the Sugar Bowl, and sent the Sooners to the Cotton Bowl. That caused a domino effect where the rest of the teams in the Big 12 fell to a lesser bowl.

Texas will have to settle for the first bowl match-up of the season matching two ranked teams as they take on the 9-3 Oregon St Beavers who were #13 in the BCS standings. This is the third meeting between the two schools all-time, but they haven’t played since 1987. Texas is 2-0 in the series with both wins coming in Austin by at least 35 points.

Oregon St is 10-5 all-time in Bowl games. They lost the 2009 Las Vegas Bowl to BYU 44-20 to break a 5 game winning streak in the postseason. Texas is 26-22-2 in Bowl games all-time. They beat California last season 21-10 in the Holiday Bowl.

Oregon St was 6-3 this season in the Pac 12 under coach Mike Riley. The Beavers have losses at Washington 20-17 and Stanford 27-23, along with a home loss to Oregon 48-24. Oregon St had dreams of going to the Rose Bowl for the first time since 1965 but late losses to Stanford and Oregon ended those hopes. Oregon St has home wins over Wisconsin 10-7, Washington St 38-35, Utah 21-7, Arizona St 36-26, Cal 62-14 and Nicholls St 77-3 to close out the regular season, along with road wins at UCLA 27-20, Arizona 38-35, and BYU 42-24. The Beavers are 8-4 ATS and the total is 6-5 this season.

Oregon St is averaging 442.7 yards per game on offense, including 316.5 passing yards and 126.2 rushing yards. The Beavers are #15 nationally in passing but #101 in rushing out of 124 teams. OSU is outscoring teams 33-20 this season. The Beavers are +10 in turnovers with 20 giveaways. Oregon St is averaging 60 penalty yards per game and has allowed 23 sacks. The Beavers are 69/184 on third and fourth down conversions, and 48/53 scoring in the red zone with 38 touchdowns. On defense, Oregon St is allowing 353.7 yards per game, including 223.2 passing yards and 130.5 rushing yards. The Beavers are in the top 50 in all defensive categories. Oregon St has forced 30 turnovers and 26 sacks. Beaver opponents are 62/177 on third and fourth down conversions and 32/38 scoring in the red zone with 24 touchdowns.

Oregon St has used two quarterbacks this season, Sean Mannion started the season but missed some games due to an elbow injury. He was replaced by Cody Vaz. Mannion started the loss to Washington in his first game back but threw 4 interceptions. Vaz replaced him against Arizona St, but suffered a concussion in the Stanford game. Vaz missed the Cal and Oregon games. Mannion started the Oregon game, and both saw action in the rout over Nicholls St. Riley has said Vaz will start the Alamo Bowl. Mannion might see a few snaps. Mannion has completed 200 of 309 passes (64.7%) for 2,446 yards with 15 touchdowns and 13 interceptions. He has been sacked 12 times. Vaz is 94/157 passing (59.9%) for 1,286 yards with 11 touchdowns and an interception. He has been sacked 12 times.

Running back Storm Woods has 171 carries, 822 yards and 11 touchdowns, along with 37 catches for 291 yards. He is probable with a knee injury.  Terron Ward has 62 carries, 390 yards and 5 touchdowns, along with 9 catches for 60 yards.  Malcolm Agnew has 63 carries for 269 yards and a touchdown run, along with a touchdown catch for his only reception. Fullback Tyler Anderson has 13 carries, but 3 rushing touchdowns. He is doubtful with a knee injury.

Receiver Markus Wheaton has 88 catches, 1,207 yards and 11 touchdowns, along with 16 carries, 116 yards and 2 touchdowns. Wheaton is probable with a quadricep injury. Brandin Cooks has 64 catches, 1,120 yards and 5 touchdowns, along with 18 carries for 67 yards. He is probable with a knee injury.  Connor Hamlett has 27 catches, 333 yards and 3 touchdowns.  Kevin Cummings, Richard Mullaney, Colby Prince, and Micah Hatfield will also get a few catches. Four defensive players are questionable or out for the Beavers.

Texas was 5-4 in the Big 12 under coach Mack Brown. Texas has losses at home to West Virginia 48-45 and TCU,  in Dallas against Oklahoma 63-21 and at Kansas St 42-24 to close out the regular season. Texas has home wins over Wyoming 37-17, New Mexico 45-0, Baylor 56-50, and Iowa St 33-7, along with road wins at Ole Miss 66-31, Oklahoma St 41-36, Kansas 21-17, and Texas Tech 31-22.  The Longhorns are 5-7 ATS and the total is also 6-6 this season.

Texas is averaging 441 yards per game on offense including 261.6 passing yards and 179.4 rushing yards. The Longhorns are outscoring teams 36-29 this season. Texas is +3 in turnovers with 15 giveaways. The Longhorns are averaging 43 penalty yards per game and have allowed 14 sacks. The Longhorns are 94/184 on third and fourth down conversions and 51/60 scoring in the red zone with 42 touchdowns. On defense, Texas is allowing 412.2 yards per game including 213.5 passing yards and 198.8 rushing yards. The Longhorns are 76th in total offense and 101st out of 124 teams in rush defense. Texas has forced 18 turnovers and 25 sacks. Longhorn opponents are 77/182 on third and fourth down conversions and 48/53 scoring in the red zone with 31 touchdowns. Texas has 4 defensive/special teams touchdowns.

Texas quarterback David Ash has completed 193 of 285 passes (67.7%) for 2,458 yards with 17 touchdowns and 7 interceptions, along with 44 carries, 119 yards and a touchdown. He missed the Kansas St game with a rib injury. Case McCoy started that game, but Brown named Ash as his starter for the bowl game. Ash is officially listed as probable. McCoy has completed 54 of 76 passes for 722 yards with 6 touchdowns and 3 interceptions.

Running back Johnathan Gray has 142 carries, 683 yards and 3 touchdowns, along with 9 catches for 124 yards. Joe Bergeron has 122 carries, 565 yards, and 16 touchdowns, along with  9 catches for 84  yards. Bergeron is probable with a shoulder injury. Malcolm Brown has 57 carries, 316 yards and 4 touchdowns, along with 13 catches for 98 yards and a touchdown. Daje Johnson has 27 carries, 203 yards and a touchdown, along with 19 catches, 287 yards and a touchdown. D. J. Monroe has 16 carries, 153 yards and a touchdown, along with a kickoff return for a touchdown.

Receiver Mike Davis has 54 catches, 909 yards and 7 touchdowns. Jaxon Shipley has 51 catches, 649 yards and 7 touchdowns, plus 51 rushing yards. Marquise Goodwin has 22 catches, 272 yards and 2 touchdowns along with 12 carries, 76 yards and 2 rushing touchdowns. He is questionable with a thumb injury. Jeremy Hills and D.J. Grant will also get some catches.

Thirteen Longhorns are listed on the injury report  including 5 defensive players Saturday night. Late Friday afternoon, Brown announced two unnamed Longhorns had been suspended for the bowl game while under investigation by San Antonio police for sexual assault. As of this writing the game was still up and the line hadn’t changed. Reports say one of the players is McCoy and the other is injured linebacker Jordan Hicks who hasn’t played since early in the season. Those reports have not been confirmed.

Texas is 4-0 ATS on grass, 4-1 in non-conference games  and against Pac 12 teams, 2-5 against teams with winning records, 5-13 after passing for more than 280 yards, 2-6 overall, 5-16-1 after rushing for 100 yards or less, 1-4 after failing to cover, 1-5 after allowing 40 points or more, and 1-7-1 in neutral site games.

Oregon St is 5-0 ATS after allowing 100 rushing yards or less, 9-2 after allowing less than 275 yards, 4-1 in neutral site games, 7-2 after gaining more than 450 yards, 6-2-1 against teams with winning records, 8-3 in December, 18-7-1 after scoring more than 40 points, 7-3 after rushing for more than 200 yards, 9-4-1 overall, 43-20-2 after passing for more than 280 yards, 2-5 after allowing less than 20 points, 1-4 after a cover, and 0-4 after a straight up win of 20 points or more.

Keep an eye on McCoy possibly being out for Texas. McCoy might have been part of the Longhorn game plan at least for a few snaps if Ash isn’t completely healthy.  Even without the suspensions, I still like Oregon St in this game. Texas hasn’t beaten a team with more than 7 wins this season. I know this is a virtual home game for the Longhorns, but Oregon st is simply a better team.

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