Three reasons why you should watch the Academy Sports + Outdoors Texas Bowl, why each team might win, honest thoughts, line and prediction.
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Academy Sports + Outdoors Texas Bowl
Texas (6-6) vs. Missouri (7-5)
Date: Wednesday, December 27th
Game Time: 9:00 pm
Venue: NRG Stadium, Houston, TX
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The Bowl Matchup Ranking Of Awesomeness
(1 best-39 worst): 13 out of 39
Three Reasons Why You Should Watch The Academy Sports + Outdoors Texas Bowl
– This might have been a rebuilding season, but lose this, Texas, and this becomes a dud of run. Think of it this way – Purdue won six games with its new head coach. Purdue.
It’s okay for Longhorn fans to want more, and now it’s time to set the tone for next season and the rest of the Herman era – despite the absence of a few key parts. More on Herman and the missing players in a moment.
– Was this Missouri run for real? Bad against the good teams, great against the bad ones, the Tigers have a grand total of zero wins this year against bowl teams. 7-0 against those not going bowling, 0-5 against those who are. The offense has ben amazing over the second half of the season, but now it has to play a real team. By the way, Missouri lost to Purdue 35-3.
– SEC vs. Big 12 time. This used to be Big 12 vs. Big 12 back when Mizzou was part of the fun, but now it’s the fourth game between the two conferences with the SEC winning two of the last three. Arkansas rocked Texas 31-7 in the 2014 version, LSU blew out Texas Tech in 2015, and Kansas State got by Texas A&M last year.
Here’s Why Texas Will Win The Academy Sports + Outdoors Texas Bowl
– Texas has got to own the clock. Slow it down, rely on the running game, and keep Mizzou QB Drew Lock and that offense on the sidelines as much as possible. That shouldn’t be a problem against a Tiger team that keeps the ball for just over 25 minutes a game – second-lowest in college football. The ground game has to grind it out, because …
– The Missouri defense is horrible on third downs, and even worse on fourth downs. You know how they say, “it’s a bowl game, so why not go for it?” This should be that game against a Missouri defense that allows offenses to convert more than 44% of their third down plays, and gets shoved around worse on fourth downs, allowing an SEC-worst 53% conversion rate. Get after it, Texas offensive line.
– Yeah, punting, zzzzzzzzz. But seriously, these two teams are loaded in the punting game with two fantastic stars booting the ball. Missouri is tenth in the nation in punting, with Corey Fatony averaging 44.5 yards per kick. Texas leads the nation in punting because of Michael Dickson – before he leaves early for the NFL – who averaged over 48 yards per blast. Missouri might be able to score from anywhere, but Texas has to keep that offense pinned deep.
Here’s Why Missouri Will Win The Academy Sports + Outdoors Texas Bowl
– Does Texas have anyone left who wants to play? The Missouri passing game averages 312 yards per game with one of the nation’s most prolific quarterbacks looking to make a splash for the next-level types, but he doesn’t have to face Texas safety DeShon Elliott or corner Hilton Hill, two of the nation’s top defensive backs. Both of them are future ten-year pros, and they’re protecting their investment. Get ready for Drew Lock to have a whole lot of fun with the new guys.
That might not be the Longhorns’ biggest issue, though.
– The Texas O line needs work. Connor Williams will either be the first or second offensive lineman taken in the 2018 NFL Draft, and like Elliott and Hill, he’s sitting this out. Top guard Patrick Vahe is coming off a knee injury, and there’s a chance Elijah Rodriguez will see time in Williams’ spot after getting past an ankle injury that kept him out all year.
The Mizzou pass rush is serious, coming up with 31 sacks on the year along with a whopping 92 tackles for loss.
– Okay, Drew Lock, let’s see what you’ve got. Offensive coordinator Josh Heupel might be off being the main man now at UCF, but Lock and the high-powered passing attack are still around.
Oddly enough, Lock struggled a bit late in the year while the Tigers were rolling, failing to hit half his passes over a two-game stretch against Tennessee and Vanderbilt. But he threw seven touchdown passes in those two games, is up to 43 on the year, and he’s bombing away deep, averaging over ten yards per throw in five of his last seven games.
You’ve Read This Far, So You Get Three Honest Thoughts On The Academy Sports + Outdoors Texas Bowl
Okay, Tom Herman. This first year has been okay with plenty of ups and downs, and it’s acknowledged that there’s work to be done, but this was a veteran team you took over from Charlie Strong. Lose this, and the Longhorns are just one win better than they were in 2016. Basically, lose this, and the difference is beating Kansas.
– Okay, Barry Odom. Establish your own bowl tradition. Gary Pinkel’s teams were strong in the postseason, winning three in a row and five of the last seven before missing out on getting the swag bag after the last two seasons. This is an okay Texas team with a whole lot of pluck, but if LB Malik Jefferson can’t go because of his toe injury – or won’t go because he wants to be healthy for the NFL – then, arguably, the four best Longhorn players aren’t going to be on the field. If you could’ve picked four guys for Texas not to have, there they are. However …
– With the time off to heal up and prepare, the Texas quarterbacks should be interesting. Shane Buechele and Sam Ehlinger might not be Lock, but they’re each good enough for one of them to get the hot hand – or both of them. There’s no reason to release who the starter is, and the Texas coaching staff is making Missouri prepare for both. It’ll be an open battle for the starting gig for next year, but this game should determine what the situation really is.
Super. So Who’s Going To Win The Academy Sports + Outdoors Texas Bowl?
It’s a scary thought – Drew Lock going against a secondary without the top guys. There’s a reason Baker Mayfield, Mason Rudolph, and other top Big 12 passers struggled to find any sort of a groove – Hill and Elliott were just that good.
Texas was 1-5 on the year when allowing 260 passing yards or more – and that one win was against Kansas. However, despite his big play ability, Lock isn’t a lock to hit the 260 mark, only getting there five times.
The missing pieces will be a problem. However, After losing to Maryland to kick things off, the Texas losses came to USC on the road, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, at TCU, and then late against a jacked up and desperate Texas Tech. Almost all of them were really, really close.
Texas is used to dealing with great passers, the ground game will be solid, and Ehlinger and/or Buechele will be excellent.
Texas 30, Missouri 27
– More Bowl Info & Get Tickets
Missouri -2.5, o/u: 60.5
ATS Confidence: 2
5: Being in the bar already
0: Watching ball drop … and then trying to get into the bar
Must See Rating: 3.5
5: New Year’s Eve: Ministry of Sound, Defected London NYE
0: New Year’s Eve with Maroon 5, Las Vegas
Texas Bowl History, Results
Dec. 28, 2016 Kansas State 33, Texas A&M 28
Dec. 29, 2015 LSU 56 Texas Tech 27
Dec. 29, 2014 Arkansas 31 Texas 7
Dec. 27, 2013 Syracuse 21 Minnesota 17
Dec. 28, 2012 Texas Tech 34 Minnesota 31
Dec. 31, 2011 Texas A&M 33 Northwestern 22
Dec. 29, 2010 Illinois 38 Baylor 14
Dec. 31, 2009 Navy 35 Missouri 13
Dec. 30, 2008 Rice 38 Western Michigan 14
Dec. 28, 2007 TCU 20 Houston 13
Dec. 28, 2006 Rutgers 37 Kansas State 10
Dec. 31, 2005 TCU 27 Iowa State 24
Dec. 29, 2004 Colorado 33 UTEP 28
Dec. 30, 2003 Texas Tech 38 Navy 14
Dec. 27, 2002 Oklahoma State 33 Southern Miss 23
Dec. 28, 2001 Texas A&M 28 TCU 9
Dec. 27, 2000 East Carolina 40 Texas Tech 27