No. 20 Texas and Colorado are set to clash on Tuesday in the Alamo Bowl, creating an old Big 12 matchup perfect for the postseason. The Longhorns and Buffaloes enter this game under vastly different circumstances. Texas fell short of its goal of at least reaching the Big 12 Championship Game, putting coach Tom Herman on the hot seat. Though rumors of Texas courting Urban Meyer ultimately fell through, there’s still a sense of unease about Herman as he leads the program into 2021.
Now compare that to Colorado and first-year coach Karl Dorrell. A late hire in 2020 due to Mel Tucker’s quick departure to Michigan State, Dorrell didn’t have the luxury of a normal offseason to get his team acclimated to the new coaching staff. Apparently, it didn’t matter. The Buffaloes finished 4-1 with the only loss coming at the end of the season to Utah. And because the game against USC was canceled, Colorado didn’t have an opportunity to play for the Pac-12 title. Sure, these are strange times and that leads to some strange results, but the Buffs took advantage of them and put together a successful first run under Dorrell. A bowl win would be the cherry on top.
Which team can end their season on a high note? Here’s how to watch the Alamo Bowl and the storylines to follow.
Texas: The Horns will be without some of their top playmakers on both sides of the ball. Wide receiver Brennan Eagles, edge rusher Joseph Ossai, defensive lineman Ta’Quon Graham and left tackle Samuel Cosmi are moving on to the NFL. In all, five team captains have opted out of the game and offensive lineman Derek Kerstetter is out with an ankle injury. That’s a lot to overcome, but there are capable replacements for the production lost. Joshua Moore, who was a bigger target in the passing game early in the season, is a candidate for WR1, as is Jake Smith. And while no one on Texas’ defense matches Ossai’s motor, linebacker DeMarvion Overshown has been another disruptive guy in the backfield.
Colorado: What’s particularly remarkable about Colorado’s surprising season is how inexperienced this offense is in spots. The team’s leading rusher, Jarek Broussard is playing his first full season (if you want to call it that) as a redshirt sophomore. Receivers La’Vontae Shenault and Brenden Rice, both of whom have notable last names, are freshmen. And yet, they are two of the Buffs’ top three wideouts. But there’s a lot of promise with these players, particularly at wide receiver. The consistency isn’t always there, but Shenault and Rice have big-play ability in the open field. When they’re on, they’re tough to stop. Texas’ pass defense has been porous for most of the season. There’s room for Colorado to make some huge plays through the air.
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Game: Alamo Bowl
Date: Tuesday, Dec. 29 | Time: 9 p.m. ET
Location: Alamodome — San Antonio, Texas
TV: ESPN | Live stream: fuboTV (Try for free)
Alamo Bowl prediction, picks
For better or worse, Texas plays to its competition. In fact, six of the Horns’ nine games were decided by one possession. Bookies are giving the Horns about nine points. Is Texas good enough to win by double digits? Sure. Add in the possibility of quarterback Sam Ehlinger going off in what will likely be his last collegiate game, and laying the points wouldn’t be the worst choice. But the tape has shown us that you’re never quite sure what you’re going to get out of the Horns. So let’s ride with the one thing that we can depend on: Texas playing in tight games. Pick: Colorado +9.5 | Texas 37, Colorado 31
So who wins Texas vs. Colorado? And which side of the spread hits over 50 percent of the time? Visit SportsLine now to see which side of the spread to back, all from the proven model on a 55-35 run on its top-rated college football picks this season.
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