Inside Texas Roundtable – Alamo Bowl

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Texas wraps up its 2020 season with an Alamo Bowl matchup versus the Colorado Buffaloes. Predictions, players to watch, San Antonio memories, and a look at the College Football Playoff in the Roundtable.

1. Texas has found itself in the Alamo Bowl several times this century. Which Texas appearance in the Alamodome stands out, and why?

Justin Wells – I enjoyed the UT-Oregon game, only because I watched Marcus Mariota from the sidelines and predicted he’d win a Heisman. Plus, UO’s DeAnthony Thomas played the game wearing a Rolex.

Eric Nahlin – Honestly the Alamos and Holidays tend to run together for me. I’d have to go with the most recent Alamo Bowl because it was one of the few truly complementary games of the Herman era.

Scipio Tex – In 2006, a bored and disappointed Texas struggled with a bad Iowa team, fell behind early 14-0, and then rallied for a 26-24 win. It’s only memorable because I won $50 from a friend who predicted that Selvin Young would have more yards from scrimmage than Jamaal Charles. Charles sealed that bet with a 72-yard touchdown catch in the second half. So any Alamo Bowl that makes me richer and allows me to taunt a friend for his bad takes is a good one. 

Ian Boyd – This year the 2013 Alamo Bowl really stands out. Texas was in there for the second time in a row and were coming off a big Alamo Bowl the year before in which an edge player had been unleashed for a huge day. Once again, the embattled coach making a return trip is unlikely to get off so easily for a disappointing season. At least Texas isn’t facing Marcus Mariota this time though.

Bobby Burton – The only one the Horns lost. To Oregon and Marcus Mariota in a rout. It was Mack’s last game as coach. I spoke to Coach Brown briefly before the game on the field and then again briefly after. Texas just was no match for Oregon’s speed that night, and the difference in athleticism between the two teams was apparent to everyone who watched the game. It was painful in more ways than one.

Joe Cook – I’ve been to all the wins, and I’m driving to San Antonio today so I suppose that bodes well for the Longhorns. The 2012 game stood out to me since it was my freshman year. After a tumultuous season, it was nice for David Ash and the Longhorns to springboard into conference title contention in 2013.

2. The Longhorns will be without a lot of captains and starters. Will this be a motivated team?

Justin Wells – Sam Ehlinger is still taking snaps, and these guys love him. Also, seeing a lot of freshmen will help because this is all a new experience to them. I don’t see a let down.

Eric Nahlin – As long as Ehlinger is there they’re going to show up and play hard. They tend to do that in bowl games anyway. Younger players should view this as an opportunity to jockey for spring depth positioning. 

Scipio Tex – Texas will miss players, not captains. Namely: Ossai, Graham, Cosmi, Kerstetter. If a team has seventeen captains, that title is devalued. I have no idea if Texas wants to play. Hopefully, some level of pride amongst the younger players kicks in.

Ian Boyd – I think so, Sam Ehlinger is still playing and these guys played loose and well against Kansas State in similar circumstances.

Bobby Burton – I’m a firm believer that fresh blood in a bowl game is usually a good thing. It definitely gets the young players re-motivated. At the same time, Texas will be without eight starters. That’s a tall task.

Joe Cook – I think so. Most of these players got to this point as a result of being competitive in high school and on the practice field. Why turn that switch off? It might be a tougher task for Tom Herman and company in comparison to other years, but I don’t see it being an issue.

3. Offensive and defensive player to watch

Justin Wells – Give me heavy doses of Bijan, and I’ll mainline some DeMarvion for a killer buzz.

Eric Nahlin – It’s hard to take your eyes of Bijan Robinson. He’s a Heisman talent. With the o-line reshuffling I’ll be watching Andrej Karic quite a bit. He needs to look like the future because there’s a good chance he is. On defense it’s Overshown for me. We know about his talent but this could be a coming out party for the rest of the country. 

Scipio Tex – Bijan Robinson on offense. Alfred Collins on defense.

Ian Boyd – On offense you gotta watch Andrej Karic at left tackle for a glimpse into how Texas looks there heading into 2021 with Cosmi gone. On defense, Alfred Collins at defensive tackle, a big game against the run would portend a good 2021.

Bobby Burton – Bijan Robinson and Juwan Mitchell

Joe Cook – Eyes have to be on Sam Ehlinger if this is his last game. As far as an impact though, I really want to see how Andrej Karic handles himself as the starting left tackle. On defense, Jaylan Ford will start at MLB. This game put Cort Jaquess in good position last year. Can this be the same for Ford?

Sam Ehlinger and Joseph Ossai celebrate the 2019 Alamo Bowl (Will Gallagher/IT)

4. If Colorado beats Texas, it’s because…

Justin Wells – Herman starts calling plays. Again.

Eric Nahlin – Texas will have to come out flat to lose this game. Colorado should struggle to move the ball and put points on the board.

Scipio Tex – The Texas offense bogs down and the defense gets exposed on the edge and at LB. 

Ian Boyd – Texas was totally lost in run defense again as they were against Kansas State.

Bobby Burton – Texas can’t generate a passing offense.

Joe Cook – The Texas D-line without Joseph Ossai and Ta’Quon Graham steps down significantly. I’m not concerned about Graham’s replacements, likely Alfred Collins and Vernon Broughton, but I do think CU will try to attack Not Joseph Ossai. Reese Leitao, Jett Bush, and even Prince Dorbah need to bring it.

5. Score prediction:

Justin Wells – Texas 27, Colorado 16

Eric Nahlin – Texas, 37-13

Scipio Tex – Handicapping this game is fruitless given the key absences, coaching uncertainty, and motivation questions, but I’ll still go Texas, 31-27.

Ian Boyd – Texas, 37-24

Bobby Burton – Texas, 28-27

Joe Cook – Texas, 38-17

6. Heisman prediction:

Justin Wells – It’s Devonta Smith.

Eric Nahlin – Mac Jones

Scipio Tex – I’m supposed to say DeVonta Smith, but QB Mac Jones, Alabama

Ian Boyd – Trevor Lawrence has a sort of “lifetime achievement” narrative brewing and Devonta Smith and Mac Jones could split votes. It really would be ridiculous if Lawrence never won.

Bobby Burton – DeVonta Smith

Joe Cook – I see great arguments for all the candidates. I think I’d prefer DeVonta Smith taking the gold to show it is no longer a “Best QB Award,” with Trevor Lawrence a close second.

7. CFP predictions:

Justin Wells – Bama throttles the non-Fighting Irish, Clemson pulls away from tOSU mid third quarter, and it’s Alabama-Clemson, Part III.

Eric Nahlin – I have Clemson by two touchdowns over Ohio State and Alabama by a whole lot more over Notre Dame. We don’t need an Alabama/Notre Dame rematch, or Clemson/Notre Dame for that matter, but we do need to see Alabama and Clemson. You just know Saban is going to settle some scores.

Scipio Tex – It’s another Clemson/Bama title game.

Ian Boyd – You know how it’s gonna go. Clemson and Alabama will roll into another rematch. From there I’m not sure yet.

Bobby Burton – Clemson and Bama will meet for the championship for a third time. Both win easily in the semifinals. 

Joe Cook – Chalk.