- Texas makes a return to the Alamo Bowl as 9.5-point favorites against Colorado on Tuesday night (ESPN, 9 pm EST)
- Many of Texas’ top players won’t be available after opting out to prepare for the 2021 NFL Draft
- Read Below for complete analysis and a pick on the game
The good news for the Texas Longhorns is that they are just a short drive down I-35 away from their Alamo Bowl appearance on Tuesday night. The bad news is they will be without many of their top players for the game.
Short-handed Texas will still have senior quarterback Sam Ehlinger taking the snaps, but he’ll need to be special against a Colorado defense that has allowed an average of just 156 passing yards per game over its last three. After Texas opened as 12-point favorites, much of the cash on the game has been bet on the Buffaloes.
From there, the spread tightened to just 9.5 points over the weekend.
Texas vs Colorado Odds
|Texas||-9.5 (-114)||-355||O 63.5 (-110)|
|Colorado||+9.5 (-106)||+270||U 63.5 (-110)|
Odds taken from FanDuel on Dec. 27th
Texas’ top wide receiver, Brennan Eagles, and top defender, Joseph Ossai, both announced ahead of the game that they would sit out in preparation for the NFL Draft. Earlier in the month, top safeties Caden Sterns and Chris Brown, as well as starting offensive tackle Samuel Cosmi, did the same.
The Longhorns also lost starting offensive lineman Derek Kerstetter for the season after he injured his ankle on December 5 against Kansas State.
[email protected] will be the 2nd QB to take snaps in 2 #valeroalamobowl games.
The other: @drewbrees
Each beat a heavily favored opponent to win Bowl MVP honors…
…and they both graduated from Westlake High School in Austin.#GoChaps | #hookem | #boilerup pic.twitter.com/oGGNTMfsT7
— ?????? ????? ???? (@valeroalamobowl) December 26, 2020
Many of the Longhorns’ players opted out after not getting off to the kind of start the team wanted to this season.
However, this could potentially be Ehlinger’s final game, and there is young talent around him that will have an opportunity to show something heading into next season. Sophomore wide receiver Jake Smith was third on the team in receptions and receiving yards. Freshman running back Bijan Robinson led the team in rushing this year with 520 yards.
Ground Game Key for Buffaloes
Colorado’s success on offense this season has come from its rushing attack and success on third down. The Buffs have averaged just over 215 rushing yards per game. Head coach Karl Dorrell has established a clear identity as a run-the-ball, stop-the-run team, and Colorado is one of the country’s highest-ranked teams in time of possession and plays run per game.
Colorado RB Jarek Broussard had 301 yards on the ground today. This was his longest carry ? @jarekbroussard1 @CUBuffsFootball
(via @CFBONFOX) pic.twitter.com/ODUAVm9mTq
— The Checkdown (@thecheckdown) December 6, 2020
Sophomore running back Jarek Broussard isn’t a big back, but he’s been the bell cow for Colorado this season. He’s averaged 6.3 yards-per-carry in one of the top power-rushing offenses in the nation.
Texas has been running above its season-long rushing average in recent games. They’ve had to do so without Keaontay Ingram, who has had an ankle injury since the end of October.
Robinson has stepped up, but he splits carries with Roschon Johnson, who has 386 yards and five touchdowns this season. Colorado has been strong against the run, but in their last two games, the Buffs gave up 268 yards on the ground to Arizona and 192 in their last game against Utah.
Longhorns Offense Looks Shorthanded
Throughout the season, Texas has seemed to play at the pace set by its opponent more often than the pace it wanted to set. With so many players missing, it seems like the Longhorns are in for a tight game. Colorado has recruited Texas fairly heavily over the years. That means there there are numerous players suiting up for the Buffs that probably feel overlooked by the Longhorns.
For the past few seasons, Texas has felt like a team that hasn’t been able to reach its full potential. When the Big 12 championship became unattainable, many of its players called it a year in 2020.
Texas Opt-Outs Alamo Bowl VS CU
LB Joseph Ossai
DT Ta’Quon Graham
S Chris Brown
S Caden Sterns
OT Samuel Cosmi
WR Brennan Eagles
+ season ending ankle inj to OC Derek Kerstetter
— mgcsooner (@mgcsooner) December 26, 2020
Since 2019, Tom Herman is 1-3-1 against the spread coming off a by week. Colorado’s defense has been a stronger team in the red zone and on third down in recent weeks.
Colorado quarterback Sam Noyer isn’t on anyone’s list of game-breaking QB’s, but he made some big throws in last week’s loss against Utah and has been a nice complementary piece in the Buff’s rushing attack. After the line has already moved a great deal, the better play is to count on the clock running out in this one before both teams hit 64 points.
The Pick: Under 63.5 (-110)