The 2013 Valero Alamo Bowl between the No. 10 Oregon Ducks and Texas Longhorns is littered with intriguing storylines—both on the field and off thanks to notable names both staying and going after the showdown from the Alamodome.
The 8-4 Longhorns lost two of three in ugly fashion to close the year and miss out on a Big 12 title. For additional salt in the wound, the Longhorns are serious underdogs here in what will be coach Mack Brown and quarterback Case McCoy's final game with the school.
Things are much more positive for the 10-2 Ducks, as the team will see quarterback Marcus Mariota return next season. While great news, it is but a Band-Aid to disguise the fact Oregon went .500 in its final four to close the season and miss out on the Pac-12 title.
So will it be Texas closing one era on a positive note and beginning another with a bang, or will Oregon prematurely start what is sure to be another national-championship hunt next season?
When: Monday, Dec. 30 at 6:45 p.m. ET
Where: Alamodome, San Antonio, Texas
Live Stream: ESPN3
Betting Lines (via Vegas Insider)
- Over/Under: 67
- Spread: Oregon (-14)
Ducks Injury Report (via USA Today)
|Pharaoh Brown||TE||12/24/2013||will miss the Alamo Bowl Monday against Texas||Suspended||disciplinary|
|Ricky Havill-Heimuli||DT||12/24/2013||is questionable for the Alamo Bowl Monday against Texas||Questionable||leg|
|Troy Hill||CB||12/24/2013||is questionable for the Alamo Bowl Monday against Texas||Questionable||legal/disciplinary|
|Colt Lyerla||TE||10/07/2013||has left the team||Out||personal|
|Byron Marshall||RB||12/24/2013||is questionable for the Alamo Bowl Monday against Texas||Questionable||ankle|
Longhorns Injury Report (via USA Today)
|David Ash||QB||10/14/2013||is out indefinitely||Out||concussion|
|Joe Bergeron||RB||12/24/2013||is questionable for the Alamo Bowl Monday against Oregon||Questionable||foot|
|Demarco Cobbs||LB||12/24/2013||is questionable for the Alamo Bowl Monday against Oregon||Questionable||knee|
|Josh Cochran||T||12/24/2013||is questionable for the Alamo Bowl Monday against Oregon||Questionable||shoulder|
|Deoundrei Davis||LB||12/24/2013||is questionable for the Alamo Bowl Monday against Oregon||Questionable||knee|
|Ashton Dorsey||DT||08/30/2013||has decided to transfer||Out||personal|
|Steve Edmond||LB||12/03/2013||will miss the remainder of the season||Out||liver|
|Kennedy Estelle||T||12/26/2013||will miss the Alamo Bowl Monday against Oregon||Out||academics|
|Sheroid Evans||CB||10/06/2013||will miss the remainder of the season||Out||knee|
|Johnathan Gray||RB||11/10/2013||will miss the remainder of the season||Out||calf|
|Jordan Hicks||LB||09/22/2013||will miss the remainder of the season||Out||Achilles|
|Bryant Jackson||WR||12/24/2013||is questionable for the Alamo Bowl Monday against Oregon||Questionable||foot|
|Daje Johnson||RB||12/26/2013||will miss the Alamo Bowl Monday against Oregon||Out||academics|
|Miles Onyegbule||TE||12/24/2013||is questionable for the Alamo Bowl Monday against Oregon||Questionable||leg|
|Jalen Overstreet||RB||12/26/2013||will miss the Alamo Bowl Monday against Oregon||Out||academics|
|Kendall Thompson||LB||12/24/2013||is questionable for the Alamo Bowl Monday against Oregon||Questionable||head|
|Kevin Vaccaro||S||12/24/2013||is questionable for the Alamo Bowl Monday against Oregon||Questionable||ankle|
|Chris Whaley||DT||11/10/2013||will miss the remainder of the season||Out||leg|
Can Texas Overcome Distractions as Two Mainstays Partake in Final Game?
By now, collegiate fans know Mack Brown is on his way out after 16 years in Austin highlighted by 158 victories and a national championship after an undefeated season in 2005.
Brown told the media, via ABC News, that the Alamo Bowl would be his last game with the school in the hopes the program can turn things around:
It's been a wonderful ride. Now, the program is again being pulled in different directions, and I think the time is right for a change. I love the University of Texas, all of its supporters, the great fans and everyone that played and coached here ... It is the best coaching job and the premier football program in America.
I sincerely want to get back to the top and that's why I'm stepping down after the bowl game. I hope with some new energy, we can get this thing rolling again.
Which team wins?
Brown is far from the only loss with McCoy on his way out, too. The senior threw for 1,885 yards with 11 touchdowns and interceptions. He will now be asked to duel Oregon's Mariota, who at one point was a top Heisman contender and leads the nation's No. 3 overall offense that averages 46.8 points per game.
The Longhorns have a tall task indeed, especially thanks to a wealth of distractions, a disappointing year and an unusually long layoff between games.
The narrative that Texas will come out emotionally charged to fight for its departing coach is nullified with the news that the Ducks will be losing defensive coordinator Nick Aliotti as well, per CBS Sports' Bruce Feldman:
As Andrew Greif of The Oregonian illustrates, both teams are on equal footing as a result:
Remember that story line about Texas' motivation playing for a coach on the way out? You can apply that to Oregon now, too.— Andrew Greif (@AndrewGreif) December 27, 2013
Aliotti, who has spent 21 seasons with the Ducks in three different stints, has his defense playing at a high level. That is arguably the main reason Texas does not stand a chance Monday. The unit ranks No. 25 with an average of 21.6 points surrendered per game.
ESPN's Kirk Herbstreit puts it best:
“@rayanthonyII: Texas or Oregon? Will It be a blow out or a close game?” Oregon (if they show up) too much speed. Close game for 3 qtrs— Kirk Herbstreit (@KirkHerbstreit) December 27, 2013
Mariota (3,412 yards and 30 touchdowns) and the Ducks offense will have no problem scoring on a Longhorns defense that ranks outside of the top 50. McCoy and the Longhorns have scored more than 40 points just three times in 2013.
A fourth journey over the threshold is simply not in the cards.
Final Score: Ducks 48, Longhorns 28