Monday, December 3, 2012
Five questions: Texas vs. Oregon State
By Carter Strickland
AUSTIN, Texas -- The Longhorns, who in 2012 did not beat a team that finished in the BCS top 25, will get one final shot in the postseason, against No. 13 Oregon State. And given who Oregon State beat -- only one team ranked in the BCS top 25, No. 17 UCLA, and that was in week two -- it might be Texas' best chance to pull off a win. A look at the matchup in the Valero Alamo Bowl:
1. What’s your initial reaction to the matchup? Texas just secured its ninth win. Seriously, Oregon State is pretty much like Cal last year, a decent team in a conference that only had two good teams. Now the same could be said for the Big 12. But Texas has too much talent and speed to lose this game.
2. Which team in the Big 12 does Oregon State most resemble? It is fair to compare Oregon State to Baylor of the last three weeks. That’s because the Beavers overall have a much better defense than the Bears showed in the first nine weeks of the year. Baylor has a better pass offense and really a better overall offense with Lache Seastrunk. But Oregon State has the ability to spread the field, throws the ball well and has a decent run game to go with that attack.
3. What’s the most intriguing individual matchup? Storm Woods vs. the Texas defense. Woods averages 75 yards a game and is a solid back in the Pac-12. Texas has turned solid backs into great backs this season. If the Texas defense cannot contain Woods, then quarterback Sean Mannion is going to have few problems moving the ball down the field with play action.
4. Who’s the most important player no one is talking about? Watch out for defensive end Scott Crichton. He leads the Beavers with nine sacks and will be a handful for an offensive line that struggles against fast players who have some power behind their game. Crichton has forced seven fumbles in his career, and with Texas turning the ball over like its 2011 all over again, that could be an issue.
5. What’s the one thing about Oregon State that opposing fans would be surprised to learn? Considering this is one of the country’s most remote college football outposts there is a lot that has yet to be discovered about Oregon State. The fact that the Beavers have not been very good for most of the past 50 years is another important factor in the lack of Oregon State name recognition across college football.
But OSU coach Mike Riley knows all about San Antonio. He spent two years there coaching the San Antonio Riders of the World Football League. Riley is also one of two coaches in the FBS now who are in their second stint as head coach at a school. Riley was at Oregon State in 1997-98 before leaving for the San Diego Chargers. He came back in 2003 to coach Oregon State. Kansas State’s Bill Snyder is in his second stint at that school.
As for an odd fact about OSU, how about this: Oregon State developed the maraschino cherry.