Alamo Bowl Pick
Oregon State surprised many people this year with a 9-3 record after finishing with only three wins last season. That shows in their 8-4 mark against the spread, while Texas somewhat underperformed at 5-7 ATS with an 8-4 overall record.
The Beavers, who are favored by -1.5 at 5 Dimes and betonline, haven't really had an impressive win since winning at Arizona in their third game of the season. To start 2012, they took out Wisconsin, UCLA and Arizona. That's a pretty good stretch for a team with minimal expectations. They have not won consecutive games since Oct. 20, but that's what happens when you play teams like Stanford and Oregon every other week. Oregon State allows less than 20 points per game and has 19 interceptions on the year which is good for sixth in the country.
Texas has two four-game winning streaks this year, but lost their last two games of the season. They have some big road victories at Oklahoma State and Texas Tech, but that's where the impressive wins end. Losses at home to West Virginia and TCU changed their hopes for a BCS bowl rather quickly. The Longhorns have had their moments defensively, but when faced with a viable opponent, it hasn't been pretty. In the beginning of October, they allowed 161 points in the matter of three games.
Due to injuries or just ineffectiveness, both schools still have a decision to make on who their starting quarterback will be. David Ash started every game of the year for the Longhorns until the season finale when Case McCoy was given the green light. McCoy wasn't bad against Kansas State, throwing for 314 yards and two TDs, but he also had two costly interceptions. Whether it's Ash or McCoy, they will have to play smart as the Beavers defense is one of the best with 30 turnovers forced all season. WRs Mike Davis and Jaxon Shipley will need to be on their game as no other Texas receiver has more than 22 receptions. They haven't had the best rushing game this year with their two RBs averaging less than five yards per carry. Joe Bergeron's production has fallen off lately, but he does have 16 TDs on the year. Johnathan Gray has been the workhorse lately, although the two combined for only 32 yards in their last game against Kansas State.
Even with questions at quarterback, the Beavers still have one of the top passing games in the country. Sean Mannion is a main reason for that. He was the starter until he injured his knee then Cody Vaz came in. Mannion returned two weeks later and tossed four INTs at Washington and relinquished the job back to Vaz until a couple weeks down the road when Mannion returned again under center against California. It's been a mess to say the least, but it's most likely that Mannion will start in the Alamo Bowl even with his 13 interceptions on the year compared to just one for Vaz. Markus Wheaton and Brandin Cooks will be a handful for the Texas secondary all day. Wheaton is one of the best in the nation with 88 grabs for 1,207 yards and 11 TDs while Cooks has 1,120 yards and five touchdowns. Their rushing game isn't great, but Storm Woods can still move the chains. He has 822 yards on the year and more importantly has five touchdowns in the last three games. If the Longhorns defense doesn't show up, their chances may be limited because the Beavers will come to play behind Mike Riley who has a 5-1 career bowl record.
At anything less than a field goal, we like Oregon State here. Every number we like to look at suggest Oregon State is the right side, including our model, which likes the Beavers by a TD. They have better numbers than Texas and that comes against a schedule that was equally as difficult. In fact, the Beavers only real blemish on their schedule was their loss to Oregon by 24 points, no shame there. Texas on the other hand, failed to answer the bell against quality opposition and their wins simply weren't impressive, some of them against weak foes.
Even the motivational edge would have to go to Oregon State. Texas no doubt had it's sights set on a bigger bowl game. Oregon State meanwhile, has to be tickled pink with their season. To come from just 3 wins a year ago, and now with the chance to knock off the Longhorns for the cherry on top! We feel Oregon State is the better team here. Oregon State -1.5