December 29 College Bowl Picks: Liberty, Russell Athletic, and Texas Bowls

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Nov 8, 2014; Austin, TX, USA; Texas Longhorns corner back Quandre Diggs (6) reacts against the West Virginia Mountaineers during the second half at Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium. Texas beat West Virginia 33-16. Mandatory Credit: Brendan Maloney-USA TODAY Sports

December 29 College Bowl Picks: Texas Bowl

Arkansas (-6) vs. Texas | Houston, TX | 9pm ET (ESPN)

This would have been a good game in, say, 2006. Now, it’s just a couple of 6-6 teams beating each other up and trying not to have a losing season.

Arkansas is back into a bowl for the first time since 2011, which happened to be Bobby Petrino’s last year. Texas is in a bowl for the fourth-straight season, though limping into this one at 6-6. Should the Longhorns lose, it would be only their second losing season since 1998. Not the kind of opening act Charlie Strong was looking for, but it’s better than not making a bowl.

Both of these teams played a strong defensive game in 2014. In Arkansas’ case, there is recent evidence of that, as in back-to-back weeks in November the Hogs shut out LSU and Ole Miss. As for Texas, their early-season defeat against BYU and season-ending loss to TCU were huge blemishes, but otherwise, the results were fine. Amongst their more notable successes were holding Baylor to 28 points, UCLA to 20, K-State to 23, and West Virginia to 16.

Though the Texas defense was good, might Arkansas’ have been better? There is only one way to find out. What should concern the Horns in this game is their offense, which is far inferior to that of Arkansas. Tyrone Swoopes has led Texas most of the season, and he had a pedestrian year with 13 touchdowns and 10 picks. He was at the forefront of an offense that was 104th in FBS in scoring and yardage.

I figure the defenses will come alive in this game and Arkansas ought to win, but that spread is just big enough where I could see it coming down to one score.

Texas +6