No. 15 Oregon State vs. Texas
Sat., Dec. 29 — 6:45 p.m. ET, ESPN
San Antonio — Alamodome
Postseason games often come down to who truly wants to be playing football during the holidays and who doesn’t. Normally, this doesn’t show itself until the pads start cracking, but sometimes you can spot it on the day the invitations are issued.
We’ve got that situation here as Texas (8-4) will take an 80-mile bus ride down I-35 to face Oregon State (9-3), which has next to no national sizzle.
The Beavers, on the other hand, were 3-9 last year and are overjoyed to be going anywhere after a two-year postseason drought. That they get to go into the heart of Texas and play the Longhorns in an us-against-the-world environment has got to be exhilarating.
It’s extremely improbable that up-and-down Texas will end up riding the right wave. Avoiding a second consecutive five-loss season isn’t much of a motivating factor.
We’re not quite as positive about who’ll win the marquee matchup between Beaver wideouts Markus Wheaton and Brandin Cooks and the talented Longhorn secondary, but we do envision a stalemate to be better than what the uncertain Texas offense will be able to generate versus a Beaver defense that is allowing less than 20 points per game.
Opening point spread: Oregon State by 1
The pick: Oregon State 27-21
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