Pac-12: Oregon, ASU should extend league's success
Not surprisingly, considering the matchups, the Pac-12 is making a postseason surge in football. USC, Oregon State and Washington have won bowl games by at least 15 points - which only serves to remind everyone that Washington State blew a 15-point lead in the late stages of a loss to Colorado State to begin the bowl season.In any case, the conference's schedule resumes Monday, when Oregon and Arizona State will take the field as solid favorites. Oregon vs. Texas, Alamo Bowl, 4:45 p.m. MST, ESPN.The Ducks wobbled in November, losing twice and barely beating Oregon State. Part of their struggles can be attributed to quarterback Marcus Mariota's knee injury, which restricted his running ability. He should be more healthy in San Antonio, facing a Texas defense whose coordinator was fired in September after the Longhorns allowed 259 rushing yards to BYU quarterback Taysom Hill. It's the last game for Texas coach Mack Brown and also the final appearance for Oregon defensive coordinator Nick Aliotti, who's retiring.Questions persist about the Ducks' degree of motivation, having fallen below the BCS level after once being in national championship consideration, but they should respond reasonably well in the Alamodome. Oregon 42, Texas 31. Arizona State vs. Texas Tech, Holiday Bowl, 8:15 p.m. MST, ESPNThis is pretty simple. The Sun Devils (10-3) lost twice to Stanford this season and also fell to Notre Dame, while barely beating Wisconsin and Utah. Those are all physical teams. Texas Tech does not fit that description. So ASU should thrive against the Red Raiders, after scoring 62 points against Navy in a bowl game last December. The Sun Devils won't reach that point total in San Diego, but they should be driven to finish the season successfully after being overwhelmed by Stanford in the Pac-12 championship game. Arizona State 45, Texas Tech 28.
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