No team came on stronger at the end of the 2017 season than the Missouri Tigers. They came out of nowhere in the SEC to qualify for a bowl with a game left to spare after a horrid start to the campaign. Now, they’re the betting favorites over the Texas Longhorns in what will surely feel like a road game at the Texas Bowl in Houston.
Missouri Bowl History
The Gary Pinkel era at Missouri was filled with highs and lows, but the program wasn’t in a great place after he retired. Barry Odom went just 4-8 last season, but his second year on the job was much stronger. The Tigers went 7-5 to get to the Texas Bowl, and the hope is that this will be a fourth straight bowl victory for the team.
The Tigers played in the Texas Bowl once before in 2009, losing to Navy 35-13 in a game that was never competitive.
Texas Bowl History
This is a big moment for Tom Herman. This Texas job was the one that he dreamed of for years and years. He took over for Charlie Strong, a man who didn’t have a single winning season in his three in Austin. The one time Strong got this team to a bowl game, he was beaten right here in the Texas Bowl in 2014.
It’s hard to believe that the Longhorns haven’t won a postseason showcase since the 2012 Alamo Bowl, going 0-2 since that point.
Why Missouri Will Win the Texas Bowl
Josh Heupel did a fantastic job with the Tigers offense this year. Missouri’s offensive coordinator won’t be around for the Texas Bowl after taking the job to become UCF’s next head coach, but he’ll still inevitably have an impact on this game for what he instilled in Drew Lock.
Lock has a big arm and hasn’t been afraid to use it this season. He only completed 58.2 percent of his passes but still averaged 9.6 yards per attempt and tossed 43 touchdowns. It’s going to be really hard for Texas to keep up if Lock averages 16.5 yards per completion and throws a touchdown on every 5.2 completions and 9.0 attempts as he did in the regular season.
Why Texas Will Win the Texas Bowl
Defense doesn’t win bowl games often, but if that does hold true in the Texas Bowl, the Longhorns should be in good shape.
Texas’ defense took its lumps this season, including allowing 51 points to Maryland in Week 1, but this was also a team that held USC to 14 points through three quarters, kept Iowa State down to just seven, held Baker Mayfield and the Sooners to 29, should have beaten Oklahoma State in an ugly 13-10 game and limited West Virginia to 14. This unit can play some football and has the raw speed on the back end to slow down any passing attack.
Texas Bowl Prediction
When offensive coordinators leave teams at the end of seasons, bad things tend to happen. The Heupel signing went under the radar for UCF, but it was a good one that should pay dividends. It could also really hurt Missouri here in the Texas Bowl.
Without their play-caller, the Tigers feel like they’re at a huge disadvantage in this one.
Herman’s history in bowl games isn’t extensive, but if he was able to get his Houston team up to play against Florida State in the Peach Bowl a couple years ago, we’re sure he can rally his Longhorns for a huge victory to kickstart a new era in UT football.
Texas Bowl Pick: Texas 34, Missouri 27
Ready to join a contest for the first time at Contest General? Our Bowl Game Pick ‘Em Contest is the perfect way to start! Join today and prove that you’re the king of the bowls!