ENDING UP in the Alamo Bowl this year is a disappointment, but the team needs to treat the bowl game like a new season. They need to treat it like the 2007 Holiday Bowl where they gained momentum going into 2008.
In that 2007 game, the Longhorns had a quarterback and proven commodities on offense. Not one skill player has made the All-Big 12 team in the past three years. The 2007 Holiday Bowl team didn’t deal with this much uncertainty. The Longhorns still can’t decide on a starting quarterback and now they’re looking at bringing in a JUCO transfer to take the snaps next season.
For the guys, the whole environment has to be tough. The bowl games usually have a celebratory atmosphere, but this year players will compete for positioning based on how this season played out. Texas will need to fake the positivity. The defense played one of the worst seasons in school history, and in many ways, the team sits in the position it did heading into the Holiday Bowl last year.
They haven’t made much progress from last year to this year. This season will leave behind more question marks rather than exclamation points, and that shouldn’t be the case. Hopefully this bowl game will answer a few of those questions and the team can start next season with a capital letter.
Rod’s Picks: National Championship — Alabama beats Notre Dame by six points. Cotton Bowl- Texas A&M will beat Oklahoma. Fiesta Bowl- Oregon beats KSU by at least two touchdowns.
THE QUOTABLE ROD BABERS:
"IT’S NOT EVEN CLOSE. I KNOW BEVO DOESN’T LIKE TO GET IN THE WATER, BUT HE CAN SCREW UP THAT DAM ANYTIME HE WANTS TO AND AGGRAVATE THE BEAVER TO NO EXTENT. WHAT’S THE WORST THE BEAVER AN DO? MAYBE GET UP AND CHEW ON HIS LEG, BUT I’M SURE HE’LL GET GORED. THE BEAVER CAN’T BEAT BEVO."
I LIKE WHAT the Alamo Bowl has done. The Alamo Bowl stepped up where the Holiday Bowl didn’t, in terms of payouts with the schools and the commitment to both the Big 12 and Pac-12 conferences — hence why they moved up in the bowl game pecking
order. The Alamo Bowl has always been viewed as a bowl game on the rise.
Even though some folks thought Texas would play in the Cotton Bowl, the Alamo Bowl is a good place to land if you’re not in a BCS game. This bowl game reminds me of what Brown did in ’06 and ’07. He made sure the guys won their jobs for the bowl,
pushing them to practice harder in preparation. This game is a springboard into the next season.
Oregon State is a formidable opponent. Head coach Mike Riley has built the program the way he envisioned, despite the lack of football tradition at the school. I have a childhood friend who attended Oregon State and is an active alumnus. He said that
building the Oregon State program into a national story would take a long time.
But Riley did well his first time around, and the Beavers made a BCS Bowl in 2001. Then he left for the San Diego Chargers, returned and is now building the program from the
ground up again. Riley knows what’s right for that team and they have a chance to contend in the Pac-12 year-in and year-out.
Keys to the Game: The Longhorns will need to do exactly what they did last year — stop the run and pressure the quarterback. The Longhorns can move the ball, as the Beaver defense did give up some points this year.
Texas would stand a better chance in a high scoring game. The Longhorns can dictate the pace of the game by what they do with their offense. If the team has consistent quarterback play and healthy running backs, I like their chances.