Found December 24, 2013 on In The Neutral Zone:
PLAYERS: Nick SabanMarcus Mariota
One of the biggest stories in the college football world most recently concerned the departure of longtime head coach Mack Brown from the University of Texas after sixteen seasons as the Longhorns’ head man. How exactly the move transpired came to become a source of incessant debate and discussion concerning the treatment of Brown as well as the school’s apparent whiff in its attempt to lure Alabama coach Nick Saban as the program’s successor. Perhaps lost amidst all the endless scrutiny and debate surrounding the head coaching vacancy at UT is the fact that the Longhorns still have one more game remaining to play this season, a Monday meeting with the Oregon Ducks for the Alamo Bowl in San Antonio. And that game undeniably promises to serve as one of the most intriguing matchups which the bowl season has to offer, considering that it effectively signifies the end of Mack Brown’s lengthy career and involves two of the marquee programs across the national landscape. Amplifying the intrigue and anticipation surrounding this game will be the great unknown factor surrounding the Horns, concerning the motivation level for the UT players to play in this game. Such a factor will undoubtedly promise to hold a tremendous weight in determining the game’s outcome. It remains a mystery for fans and observers to ascertain just how the Longhorns will respond to play against Oregon in the game which serves to essentially punctuate the storied coaching career of Mack Brown at UT. When considered in its entirety, this season would certainly be deemed a disappointing one for a Texas team which harbored aspirations of a conference championship as well as potentially a national championship. The Horns finished the season with four losses, all of which occurred in blowout fashion and shoddy performance. Such a consideration undisputedly serves to swirl a cloud of uncertainty concerning UT’s motivation level to perform well in this game. Responding to coach Brown’s departure with an enhanced desire to send him out a winner in his final game will bode well for the Longhorns. Conversely a UT team still dwelling on the disappointment of falling shy of expectations will be susceptible to a thrashing at the hands of the versatile QB Marcus Mariota and the explosive Ducks’ offense. Motivation typically comes in to play as a factor in determining the outcome of bowl games. In no other bowl game this season does it take on more paramount importance than in the Alamo Bowl between Texas and Oregon. How the Longhorns respond to this season’s disappointment or to the looming departure of coach Brown will prove to play a critical role in deciding the game’s outcome. This will be one of the most intriguing and anticipated matchups of the postseason. No views yet

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