Valero Alamo Bowl Preview and Pick - Texas vs. Washington
The No. 12 Washington Huskies will be getting three points from No. 20 Texas in Thursday’s Valero Alamo Bowl and the quarterbacks will be taking center stage in this one.
Washington had a great regular season, finishing 10-2 under first-year coach Kalen DeBoer after the Huskies won just four games last season. They’re coming in hot after winning their final six games, which included a win over Oregon State and an especially impressive win at Oregon. Quarterback Michael Penix Jr. arrived at Washington after transferring from Indiana this season and turned the whole program around, leading the nation in passing yards and producing a pair of 1,000-yard receivers (Rome Odunze & Jalen McMillan). Penix threw for 4,354 yards, 29 touchdowns and just seven interceptions, completing 66 percent of his throws.
Texas ranked just 90th in their passing attack this season, running backs Bijan Robinson and Roschon Johnson are out (NFL Draft), and quarterback Quinn Ewers has been shaky at best this season, completing just 56 percent of his passes. He needs to have a good night heading into a position battle with Arch Manning next spring but he didn’t throw for more than 197 yards in any of their four final games this season and Texas QBs failed to top 200 yards seven times in 12 games. The loss of Robinson shouldn’t be understated after he ran the ball 258 times for 1,580 yards for 18 touchdowns, while Johnson ran for 554 yards and five TDs. The most experienced back remaining is Jonathon Brooks, who had just 24 carries for 179 yards and four TDs this season. If he does well tonight he should be able to lock up the starting job for next season. While things don’t sound great for Texas tonight, let’s not forget they came within a win of playing for the Big 12 title, have an incredibly difficult schedule and all four of their losses were by seven points or fewer.
This game will come down to how Washington’s top-ranked offense can perform against Texas, one of the best defenses in the country. Washington is tied for fourth in the nation in scoring at 40.8 points per game and were only held under 30 points twice this season. Texas allowed opponents to score just 21.2 points per game and ranked third in the Big 12 in sacks with 27. However, Texas will also be without DeMarvion Overshown (NFL Draft), who was second on the team with 96 tackles. But even while playing backups at several positions, Texas recruits are top notch and they should be able to hang with a team that won just four games last year.
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If Texas didn’t lose so many players to the NFL this would be an easy call in their favor. And even though they’re only favored by three points, Texas still has a 75 percent chance of winning the game, according to ESPN’s Matchup Predictor. And let’s not forget that Washington is ranked No. 12 and Texas is ranked No. 20. The loss of the Texas RBs and the fact that Penix has his entire offense intact is just too much for me to overlook. Call me crazy, but I like red-hot Penix, the Huskies and the points.
Pick: Washington +3