For a good impression of the Texas Longhorns football program, just walk inside the Longhorns' football trophy room. Bronze Heisman trophies wave perpetually as you go by, conference championships glean behind glass barriers, and the 2005 BCS National Championship trophy sparkles as the most recent of four National Championships to boost the program into the upper echelon of college football. But Texas’ glory days have seemed celestially distant the past few seasons, and Coach Mack Brown and the No. 23 Longhorns recognize the 2012 Alamo Bowl as their shot to regain their swagger. Unfortunately for Texas, an explosive No. 13 Oregon State Beavers squad stands in their way and hopes to make up for past misfortunes themselves, but that means fans can look forward to one of the year’s most competitive matchups.
Coach Brown’s high-water mark was a perfect 13-0 season in 2005, capped off by a legendary Vince Young-led comeback over USC in the BCS National Championship Game. Brown went on to lead them to the 2009 BCS title game, but they lost to Alabama and their horns have been blunted ever since. Brown record stands stout at 149-43 record in 15 years, but the bull has bucked to 21-16 in the last three seasons, including an 11-15 mark in the Big 12 and a 1-10 showing against top 25 squads. Though solid wins at Texas Tech and Oklahoma State this year showed promise, Texas (8-4) is coming off consecutive losses and is on the verge of losing five games three seasons in a row. Brown and co. are determined not to let that happen, but Coach Mike Riley and Oregon State have other plans.
Oregon State is riding high after turning around a 3-9 record in 2011 to 9-3 this season, and they want to make their first bowl game in three seasons count. Coach Riley is 5-1 in bowl games, but the last significant one was the 2001 Fiesta Bowl, when Oregon State slammed Notre Dame, 41-9. This year their passing attack alone could put up similar numbers. OSU scored a school record 77 points over Nicholls State in their last game, and their pass offense ranks 15th in the country. Standout wide receivers Markus Wheaton and Brandin Cooks have both surpassed 1,100 yards with 11 and 5 touchdowns, respectively. Freshman running back Storm Woods has rushed for 822 yards and 11 TDs, while All-America defensive end Scott Crichton assures they’re solid on both sides.
But don’t let Texas fool you. They are still an extraordinarily dangerous squad. With a defense led by high-round NFL prospects like defensive end Alex Okafor and safety Kenny Vacarro, poor tackling has been their poison pill but they've played much better as of late and Oregon State is going to have to play lights out to win. Freshman running back Johnathan Gray is a speedster who put up over 110 yards more than any other Big 12 freshman this season and led Texas with 683 yards on the ground. He’s due for a breakout game, and with the partisan Alamo Bowl crowd sure to be supporting him, this could be his time to shine. Quarterbacks Case McCoy and David Ash split the QB duties, but are still putting up 441.0 yards and 36.1 points per game, so there should be plenty of fireworks to raise the Hook'em Horns in victory.
The last time Texas was in the Alamo Bowl was a 2006 victory over Iowa, while Oregon will play in the event for their first time. With future prospects in the stands and the country watching, a win is crucial for the futures of both programs. The day of reckoning is this Saturday, December 29, 2012 at 6:45 p.m. EST, and the 65,000-plus exuberant fans packed inside San Antonio’s famous Alamodome are sure to have the stadium rocking with cheers all game long. We have plenty of 2012 Alamo Bowl tickets to get you inside to experience all of the postseason action live, so check out the Vivid Seats marketplace now to secure your spot to witness this incredible showdown in person.