Bowl season chugs along today on December 29th as we inch closer to some of the bigger New Year Day Bowl games. Of course this season the Rose Bowl and Sugar Bowl will play host to the college football playoff between Ohio State vs. Alabama and Oregon vs. Florida State. There are still some exciting games to be played before we get there, and I think we may get some today. There weren’t any bowl games on yesterday with the final week of the regular season in the NFL playing out. Here on Monday there are three games available to be bet on. I am going with the Texas Bowl in the night cap tonight, which oddly enough features the Texas Longhorns, who will be playing the Arkansas Razorbacks. Texas in the Texas bowl, so you know from that there will be heavy support for the University of Texas in this game. Texas fans travel well regardless, and they won’t need to travel far for this game, as it will be taking place at Reliant Stadium. Most bowl games do not demand a big crowd, however here I like to think that Texas Longhorn fans fill this place up. Likewise then, the crowd should probably be around 80% in favor of Texas. I find this to be one of the more even games this bowl season. Both Arkansas and Texas enter the Texas Bowl with records of 6-6 and have had similar ups and downs this season. Arkansas looked like they might have been a legitimate threat in September, but it is always a good rule never to determine how good a team is by how they were playing the first month of the season.
It feels like almost yesterday that Colt McCoy was leading the Longhorns into the Rose Bowl to play Alabama for the National Championship. That was of course several years ago, and Texas has really never recaptured the glory of those days. Michigan, Texas, and Florida. Those are three programs that are staples of college football. However, all three of them have seen better days of late. All three are welcoming new coaches to the foray, with it looking like Jim Harbaugh heading to Michigan, Florida currently searching, and Charlie Strong in his first season as head coach at Texas. I think Texas has made strides this season and are heading in the right direction despite a 6-6 record. They played great ball in some moments, but flat in others. They just need to be a more rounded team to start to compete for any kind of championships. I win against an SEC opponent in the Texas Bowl would be a great stepping stone into next season for this team. Arkansas will try to shut that down, as we take a look at two of the best defenses in the nation tonight for the last bowl game of Monday.
Arkansas vs. Texas Spread and Betting Odds:
Betting odds provided by Bovada.lv
Arkansas vs. Texas Pick:
For as bad of a record as Texas has, for Texas standards, and bad of a team as they are perceived to be, the Texas Longhorn defense is among the best in the country. They have made games extremely difficult on a great number of team’s offenses this season. Texas got hammered for 48 points against TCU in their last game of the year, but that game is the exception. TCU could do that against any defense. Prior to that game, though, Texas held Oklahoma State, West Virginia, and Texas Tech all under 20 points. Those three offenses aren’t slouches. They put some big numbers up on other defenses, but Texas held strong. In those three games they allowed an average of only 12 points per game. Other notable games worth mentioning were the UCLA and Baylor games. Against UCLA they held them to only 20 points and against Baylor, 28. Arkansas is going to be running into a Texas strength in this game. Note the Longhorns are allowing only 23.3 points a game this season. However, their offense under quarterback Ryan Swoopes has had their fair share of problems. They will have trouble against this Arkansas defense, which is actually statistically better than Texas, allowing just 20.3 points per game.
Texas is scoring only 22.6 points per game, so they are going to have to find offense from somewhere in this game. Swoopes I think will have a difficult time against this defensive unit of Arkansas. Conversely, the Razorback offense trumps the Texas offense as well, averaging 32 points a game compared to Texas’ 20.3. Arkansas will pound the ball up the gut in this game, behind the biggest offensive line in football. Not only college football, but this line weighs more than any line in the NFL as well. Arkansas’ run game rushes for 220.3 yards a game for 28th in the country. They’ll be up against the 66th best rush defense. This is an Arkansas team that easily handled a good Ole Miss team 30-0 two games ago. They also shut out LSU for a 17-0 win before that. Another important note in this game: Arkansas had the 4th hardest schedule in all of the land, compared to Texas who was at 51st. Arkansas trumps Texas in all categories. The only thing on Texas side in this game will be the favorable home crowd in attendance. The Arkansas offensive line should bully Texas around in this game, giving the Razorbacks a cover over Texas in the Texas Bowl.
PICK: ARKANSAS -6.5 (-110)