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2012 Alamo Bowl Picks: Oregon State vs. Texas Betting Odds
by Aaron Smith - 12/12/2012

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University of Texas Longhorns quarterback David Ash

The Alamo Bowl is always one of the best early bowl games of the season. A little-known fact is that the Alamo Bowl has recorded the No. 1, No. 2, and No. 5 most watched non-BCS bowl games in ESPN history. Last year’s Alamo Bowl is in the record books as the single highest scoring regulation bowl game in college football history. Robert Griffin III and the Baylor Bears bested the Washington Huskies 67-56 in that game. It was a game to remember, and it will be talked about for many years.

What about this year’s Valero Alamo Bowl? The Oregon State Beavers from the Pac-12 will take on the Texas Longhorns from the Big 12. This will be the second time that Texas has made an appearance in the Alamo Bowl. Oregon State will be making their first-ever trip to San Antonio. Oregon State enters the game at 9-3 and ranked 13th in the nation. Texas checks in at No. 23 in the rankings with an 8-4 record. The Alamo Bowl will be the first bowl game of the season between two Top-25 teams.

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Oregon State vs. Texas Betting Storylines

Oregon State wasn’t expected to be in this position. The Beavers were picked to finish near the bottom of the Pac-12. Mike Riley was squarely on the hot seat before this season, but the Beavers put together a terrific 2012. Oregon State first announced to the college football world that they were for real by beating Wisconsin in their season opener. The Beavers started the season 6-0. They did lose three of their final six games, but none of their losses were bad losses.

Texas has to be a little disappointed to be in this spot. The Longhorns started 4-0, and many thought Texas might be improved enough to contend for a BCS bowl. In the end, though, the Longhorns defense let them down too often, and the team lost four of its last eight games. The 63-21 loss to Oklahoma in the Red River Rivalry showed just how far this Texas team has to go to compete with the best in the nation. The team has improved quite a bit from its horrific 5-7 year in 2010, but mediocrity isn’t acceptable at a school like Texas.

Texas Longhorn fans travel extremely well, and they barely even have to travel to get to this bowl game. San Antonio is less than a 90-minute drive from Austin. Oregon State fans will have a long road to travel to get to the Alamodome. Basically, there won’t be anything neutral about this crowd.

Oregon State and Texas both go into this game with a quarterback controversy. It’s a little odd to have a bowl game where neither team knows who will start under center, but that is exactly the case in this one. Oregon State started the season with Sean Mannion at quarterback, but Cody Vaz has taken most of the snaps of late. Mannion has 15 touchdowns and 13 interceptions on the year. Vaz has thrown 11 touchdowns and only one interception this season. Both of these guys are underclassmen, and the coaching staff has said this quarterback battle might go on even after this bowl game is over.

Mack Brown said late last week that he isn’t ready to commit to a starter for this matchup. David Ash has been the starter for Texas almost all year, but he was injured in the Longhorns loss to TCU on Nov. 22. Ash is listed as probable for this one, but he isn’t likely to be completely healthy in time for this game. Ash did a nice job for Texas this year. And even though Case McCoy did well in his short time under center, I think it will be Ash under center if he is ready to go.

Oregon State vs. Texas Alamo Bowl Betting Odds and Trends

At Bookmaker, Texas opened as a one-point favorite in this game. Some money has come in on the Longhorns, and they are now favored by two points. The posted total opened at 56.5 points, but it has risen to 57.5 points.

Texas is just 1-7-1 ATS in their last 9 neutral-site games. They are 4-1 ATS in their last five games against a team from the Pac-12. Oregon State is 8-3 ATS in their last 11 December games. The “over” is 4-0 in Oregon State’s last four games overall.

2012 Alamo Bowl Picks: Oregon State vs. Texas Predictions

This is a pretty big game for the Texas Longhorns. Back-to-back 8-5 records wouldn’t sit well with the Texas fans, and that is precisely what they’ll have if they lose this game. Playing at the Alamodome is a big advantage for Texas. I really believe this is worth two or three points for the Longhorns. Oregon State hasn’t looked quite as sharp down the stretch. The Beavers should be able to move it through the air, but their running game isn’t very good. The matchup to watch will be Texas’ running game against Oregon State’s solid front seven. The winner of that battle will likely win the game.

The home field advantage is enough to make me like Texas at anything less than a field goal. Still, my favorite play on this game is on the over. Look for a close game where both teams find the end zone several times.

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