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Valero Alamo Bowl Preview: Texas, Oregon State Kick Off the Better Part of Bowl Season

It's the only bowl game so far between ranked teams, or at least one consensus ranked team and another finding support in one of the polls

Steve Dykes

Valero Alamo Bowl, Saturday, 6:45 p.m. ET, ESPN

Why it exists: Because Texas wouldn't be Texas if it didn't have a bowl game sponsored by an oil refinery company. And you have to do something with the hideous dungeon that is the Alamodome.

The teams: Texas and Oregon State

How Texas got here: In an oddly symmetrical pattern. The Longhorns went 4-2 in the first half of the season and 4-2 in the second half of the season. In each case, they won the first four games and then lost the last two. Along the way, Texas was in most of the games it played but got dismantled by Oklahoma and defeated healthy at Kansas State. They went heavily with David Ash in the first part of the year before giving many of the snaps to Case McCoy in the last couple of games. That will not be an issue on Saturday evening. So far, Texas has shown a relatively balanced attack that cranks out 441 yards per game on offense, but has a shall we say more suspect defense that allows 413.1 yards a contest.

How Oregon State got here: Not always in the most impressive fashion despite a 6-0 opening run. That included a 19-6 victory against Washington State. But the Beavers still beat several good teams, and only got decisively defeated once (against Oregon). Oregon State throws for 316.5 yards per game but have also relied on one of the stoutest defenses in the Pac-12 for some of their wins. The Beavers have a pair of great receivers in Markus Wheaton (88 receptions, 1,207 yards, 11 TDs) and Brandin Cooks (64, 1,120, 5). The quarterback distributing those balls most of the time is Sean Mannion, whose only real troubling tendency is that he's thrown almost as many interceptions (13) as touchdowns (15). That includes three games of three or more interceptions in the eight games in which he attempted at least 20 passes -- including four each against Washington and Oregon, both of whom beat the Beavers.

College football fans care because: This is probably one of the best games of the bowl season so far, with Oregon State ranked and Texas getting a spot in the USA Today poll.

SEC fans care because: There's a chance to see Texas lose. You need something else?

Watch this game if...: You like college football.

cocknfire's pick: Oregon State 25, Texas 20

Line: Oregon State by 3 or 3.5