Alamo Bowl: Preview, Predictions, TV info

What: Valero Alamo Bowl

Who: Texas (8-4, 7-2 Big 12) vs. Oregon (10-2, 7-2 Pac-12)

When: Monday, Dec. 30, 6:45 p.m. ET (ESPN)

Where: Alamodome (65,000), San Antonio, Tex.

Opening Line: Oregon -13

What matters: Call this the consolation bowl. Texas had a chance to claim the Big 12 title on the final week of the season, but lost to Baylor and finished out of the BCS money. Oregon was a candidate for the final BCS bowl spot but was passed over in favor of Oklahoma. The Longhorns are in this game for a second straight year, after taking down Oregon State in last year's event. Oregon, in a non-BCS bowl for the first time since 2008, will be seeking its first bowl victory of the Mark Helfrich era.

Who matters: Oregon's offense always brings the fun, with quarterback Marcus Mariota (30 passing TD, 4 INT) and running back De'Anthony Thomas (581 rushing yards, 8 TD) pacing a team that averaged 573 yards per game during the season. For Texas, all eyes will be on senior quarterback Case McCoy, who struggled mightily in late-season losses to Oklahoma State and Baylor but does have a win over Oklahoma on his 2013 resume.

Matchup question: Can Texas control the Oregon spread offense? This is a Longhorns team that memorably allowed 550 rushing yards to BYU back in September, and finished 80th in the country against the run for the season. Texas' efforts against Oklahoma State's spread on Nov. 16 weren't embarrassing, so that's one good sign for the Horns.

Prediction: Oregon has to be stung by the disappointing trajectory of its season, but this doesn't feel like a program that will fail to show up for its postseason opportunity. Apart from its win over OU, Texas was never particularly impressive during an 8-4 campaign, and it's hard to imagine the Longhorns matching up well with the Ducks. Oregon 40, Texas 21. 

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