Oregon, Texas out to make best of Alamo Bowl

Mack Brown didn’t want to go out like this, and No. 10 Oregon

didn’t want its season to end here.

That makes the Alamo Bowl on Monday night a finale for two

programs making the best of disappointment: Texas (8-4) wanting a

fond farewell for Brown after the tension surrounding his

resignation, and the Ducks (10-2) denied a BCS bowl for the first

time in five years.

”The expectation for both of these programs is to be playing in

the last game at the end of the year, and neither one of us are

doing that,” Brown said Sunday.

Speaking publicly for just the second time since announcing this

month that he would leave Texas after 16 seasons, Brown sidestep

questions about the circumstances surrounding his exit and whether

he will coach again. He said the only thing he would’ve done

differently this season was win all the games and enjoy the ”happy

moms and dads and happy media and happy fans” that come with

it.

”We’ve done that, and it’s a lot more fun,” Brown said.

The Ducks’ chances of playing for a national title after four

consecutive BCS bowl appearances were dashed in November after

losing to Stanford. Two weeks later, Oregon was pummeled by

Arizona.

First-year Oregon coach Mark Helfrich said the disappointment of

the Stanford loss created some ”stragglers.” He said he could’ve

done a better job to manage that.

”There was absolutely some disappointment, kind of

punched-in-the-gut type of feeling for a few guys that just needed

to grow up and realize that there was a lot of ball left to be

played,” Helfrich said. ”And as it played out, we could have

played ourselves into a better situation – quote, unquote – but we

didn’t earn that.”

Five things to know about the Alamo Bowl:

1) IT’S MARIOTA’S WARM-UP FOR 2014: Oregon QB Marcus Mariota’s

announcement this month that he’ll return for his junior season all

but assures he’ll shatter every school passing record before he

finally does leave. He’s got a chance to start the 2014 Heisman

Trophy buzz now if he can put up another showcase game against

Texas to cap a season in which he put up nearly 4,000 yards of

total offense.

2) CASE (AND THE McCOY ERA) CLOSED: Colt McCoy left Texas in

2009 with a then-NCAA record for quarterback victories (45) and a

BCS title game appearance. Case’s prospects of even playing his

final year were uncertain after being named the backup. But with

starter David Ash injured most of the season, Case has the chance

to end the McCoy era at Texas with 55 starting quarterback

victories in the family.

3) A FINAL DUCK CALL FOR ALIOTTI: Like Mack Brown, longtime

Oregon defensive coordinator Nick Aliotti is also stepping down

after the Alamo Bowl. He’s leaving after 38 years in coaching and

revealed this week he wanted to retire last season but didn’t to

ease the transition after Chip Kelly left for the NFL.

4) RUN AWAY: Underdog Texas will likely need a big game from RB

Malcom Brown and its depleted backfield, especially after WR Daje

Johnson was ruled academically ineligible and left the Longhorns

without another playmaker. Oregon’s run defense took some flak

after giving up 578 yards on the ground in its two losses to

Arizona and Stanford, but Aliotti says those numbers are

misleading.

”They ran the ball 66 times,” Aliotti said about Stanford.

”They didn’t have to throw it. Tough to answer it this way, but we

didn’t play very well on offense.”

5) MUST-SEE TV? The Alamo Bowl has been a reliable bet for

thrilling finishes. Seven of the last eight games were decided by a

touchdown or less, including Texas’ victory last season and Robert

Griffin III leading Baylor in 2011 to a 67-56 win that remains the

highest-scoring bowl game ever in regulation. But that run of drama

will be tested with Oregon entering as heavy favorites.