The early evening (6:45 pm ET) game features the 10th ranked Oregon Ducks (11-2) of the Pac-12 taking on the Texas Longhorns (8-4) of the Big 12 in the Alamo Bowl from the Alamodome in San Antonio, TX. Oregon barely survived their “Civil War” game against in-state rival Oregon State in the final week of the regular season, escaping with a 36-35 victory. The Ducks suffered a shocking 42-16 blowout loss at Arizona in the next to last week of the regular season that knocked them from contention for a BCS bowl game. Texas lost to Baylor 30-10 in the Big 12 Championship Game, and the Longhorns lost 2 of their last 3 overall. Texas was a streaky team this season, starting the year 1-2, before reeling off 6 consecutive wins in the middle of the season highlighted by wins over then-number 12 Oklahoma (36-20 in week 7) in the Red River Shootout and Kansas St. (31-21) in week 4. This will be the final game for Texas Head Coach Mack Brown, who has announced his retirement amid considerable speculation.
Oregon ranks 2nd among FBS teams in total offense with 573 yards per game and 3rd in scoring offense with 46.8 points per game. Dynamic, dual-threat quarterback Marcus Mariota leads the Ducks with 3,412 yards passing and 30 TDs with only 4 INTs this season, and 582 yards rushing (6.7 YPC) and 9 TDs on the ground. Byron Marshall leads the team in rushing with 995 yards and 14 TDs, and wide receiver Josh Huff is the leading receiver with 57 receptions for 1,036 yards and 11 TDs. Oregon ranks 47th nationally in total dense with 381.3 YPG allowed and 25th in scoring defense with 21.6 PPG allowed.
Texas ranks 54th among FBS teams in total offense with 423.1 yards per game and 55th in scoring offense with 31.2 points per game. Case McCoy is the leading passer for the Longhorns with 1,885 yards passing and 11 TDs and 11 INTs. Running backs Jonathan Gray (780 yards rushing, 4 TDs) and Malcolm Brown (774 yards rushing, 9 TDs) have both seen time in the backfield, but Gray is out for the year with an Achilles injury so Brown will carry the load here. Wide receiver Mike Davis leads the aerial attack with 49 receptions for 715 yards and 8 TDs. Texas ranks 63rd nationally in total defense with 402.1 YPG allowed and 56th in scoring defense with 25.5 PPG allowed led by Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year Jackson Jeffcoat who has 12 sacks an 21 tackles for loss.
Oregon vs. Texas Spread, Line and Betting Odds:
Oregon Ducks -14.5
@ Texas Longhorns+14.5
Over 67 (-110)
Under 67 (-110)
Betting odds taken from Bovada.lv
Oregon vs Texas Pick
Texas was 1-3 against top 25 opponents this season, and they will be going for their second consecutive Alamo Bowl victory, they defeated Oregon St. 31-27 last season. The most recent meeting between the two teams was in the 2000 Holiday Bowl, a 35-20 Oregon win.
Texas has had trouble stopping the run this season, ranking 80th in the nation with 180.3 YPG allowed, 21 rushing TDs allowed and 4.2 YPC allowed. That does not bode well against an Oregon offense that ranks 9th nationally with 278.3 YPG on the ground. Texas has injury problems on defense, and they do not have the firepower on offense to compete with the Ducks in a shootout, but the emotion surrounding Brown’s departure should inspire them to play their best game. The Ducks also have a solid secondary, ranking 11th in pass defense rating at 108.73 and 5th in yards per attempt allowed at 5.7. The bottom line is that Texas is at a disadvantage on both sides of the ball, but the spread has creeped too high to recommend a play for the Ducks. The climate-controlled conditions of the Alamodome are perfect conditions for Oregon’s offense to operate in, and Texas should score their share of points as well. The call here is to take the over.