Monday, December 30, 2013
Oregon says goodbye to its longtime defensive coordinator Nick Aliotti today, as the fiery coach has decided to hang it up after one last football game. That football game will be played against the Texas Longhorns at the Alamo Bowl, which is just more than an hour's drive from the UT campus. As a de facto road game for the Ducks, it will be a challenge to win this game even if you don't consider all of the other factors.
This is the fourth season that the Pac-12 has been affiliated with the Alamo Bowl, and the conference has gone 1-2 against Big 12 opponents in the previous meetings. Last year, Texas defeated a higher ranked Oregon State team in a very close and competitive game. Given how things have gone this season for Oregon, it's really hard to say who will win this one. Even considering the massive almost-home field advantage for the Longhorns, Oregon comes in favored by more than 3 touchdowns. I could see Texas winning in a close fought game just as easily as I could see Oregon winning by 30 or 40 points.
Mack Brown, the longtime head coach at UT, will be coaching his last game in the burnt orange today. Unlike Aliotti, Brown was basically forced out. With pockets as deep as this guy, Texas will certainly lure someone notable to takeover head coaching duties. I wouldn't worry about them too much. It does say something about your status as an elite football school when back-to-back Alamo Bowl appearances means that you've fallen on hard times. Meanwhile, Oregon will be slumming it in a non-BCS bowl for the first time since 2008.
Marcus Mariota should finally be healthy for the Ducks after a month off, while star running back Malcolm Brown should provide a formidable foe. Oregon has had difficulty stopping the run at times this season, but hopefully Aliotti has one last trick up his sleeve.
Oregon's last meeting with Texas resulted in a 35-30 win in the 2000 Holiday Bowl.
Game time is 3:45 PST (on a weekday?) in San Antonio with national coverage on ESPN. Go Ducks!