Staff picks: Oregon State vs. Texas

The HornsNation staff picks the Valero Alamo Bowl:

Texas 38, Oregon State 35

This game is so hard to pick because Texas is more talented than Oregon State. As most fans and media members that have covered this team know, the Texas issues are much more about that patch of grass between the ears as opposed to the talent that runs out on the grass. Texas will start well on offense, but I believe Oregon State will as well. I would not be shocked at all for it to be a tie game or close to it going into the half. The defense that makes the best adjustments will win this game for their team. We are all talking about the offenses but this game will come down to the defenses. Call me crazy but I'm going with the talent and desperate seniors on the Texas defense. Texas wins a close one.

- Sean Adams

Texas 21, Oregon State 17

It wouldn't surprise me one bit if Texas didn't come out firing in this game. No disrespect to the Alamo Bowl, but it's not exactly the destination the Longhorns set their sights on this season. Oregon State is a sneaky good team. Two of its three losses - to Stanford and Washington - came by a combined 7 points. The Beavers are a far cry from the clearly flawed Cal outfit UT faced in the Holiday Bowl last year, and Cody Vaz has been good in his four starts. Expect Major Applewhite to bring his best for his first game as play caller, but an offensive line missing Trey Hopkins has to step up.

- Max Olson

Oregon State 33, Texas 28

It’s a must-win game for Texas so the Longhorns should come out strong in the first quarter. But Oregon State is a team that wins by not making mistakes and never panicking. The Beavers should be able to stay within 10 by halftime and then start to take over in the second half. Jordan Poyer, the OSU defensive back, will most likely key that comeback with a big defensive play.

- Carter Strickland

Texas 34, Oregon State 24

You wonder if the Longhorns are going to match the intensity level of an Oregon State program playing in its first bowl game since 2009 with a chance of capturing its 10th win of the season. A part of me says they wouldn't have had there not been some sort of shakeup between the end of the Kansas State game and kickoff in San Antonio. But I think the Applewhite promotion has created an unexpected buzz that the Longhorns will lean on to score points against one of the better defenses they'll face in 2012. The key to this game, though, is if Texas' secondary will be able to slow down OSU's receiving duo of Markus Wheaton and Brandin Cooks, who are as good a WR duo as it has faced this season. I don't think the Longhorns will completely shut them down but they'll be able to pressure Cody Vaz enough to keep him relatively in check.

- William Wilkerson