Pac-12 in Bowl Games: Valero Alamo Bowl


Deep in the Texan desert, where the Wild West was won, a Pac-12 team will face off against one of Texas’ finest, in what should be called the RG3 Bowl. Instead, it’s known as the Valero Alamo Bowl, and takes place between the University of Washington Huskies and the University of Baylor Bears.

Baylor quarterback Robert Griffin III ran, threw, and carried his team back to college football relevance, and man, have they been exciting to watch. RG3 put up crazy stats this season, including passing for 3998 yards, 36 touchdowns, just six interceptions, and an astounding 192.3 passer rating, which leads the nation. He also added 644 yards on the ground, and nine rushing touchdowns. Along the way, he set 46 school records, led his team to a victory over the Oklahoma Sooners for the first time in program history and brought home to the Bears their first ever Heisman trophy.

So yeah, he’s pretty much a big deal.

The Bears are looking to have their first 10-win season since 1980 (when they were anchored by HOFer Mike Singletary) and their first bowl victory since the 1992 Sun Bowl. With the way they have been playing, it’s very plausible for them to achieve this. They are coming off a five-game winning streak, where they have averaged 46.4 points and 587.0 total yards of offense. Baylor as has the advantage of playing virtually at home, and in home games, they boast an 8-0 record.

The Washington Huskies will find themselves tasked with slowing down and stopping this offense, which just doesn’t seem this likely: The Huskies rank 116th out of 120 FBS schools against the pass, giving up 283.8 yards per game. When it comes to competing with top-performing teams featuring elite quarterbacks, Washington has been massacred by the running game as well. Against Stanford, Andrew Luck had just 169 passing yards in Stanford’s 65-21 win, but the Cardinal put up 446 yards and five touchdowns on the ground. Against USC, they have up 252 yards on the ground and 174 yards through the air in their 40-17 loss.

RG3 has shown that he can tear teams apart through the air as efficiently as he can on the ground, so this could bode badly for the Huskies. Especially with a weapon like Kendall Wright on the outside.

With all of the hype surrounding Robert Griffin III, its easy to forget about Wright, but believe me if the Huskies do then it’ll be good fight, good night very quickly. Wright is the No. 2-rated wide receiver that has declared for draft behind fellow Big 12 first-teamer, Justin Blackmon, and an absolute playmaker. This year, he broke the Baylor record for receptions (which he’d set the year before) with 101 (13 for touchdowns) for an average of 15.6 yards per catch. Obviously he’s Griffin’s favorite target, and the second most important player on the offense in terms of leadership and playmaking ability. He’s also shown a penchant for showing up big time in big games, going for 208 yards against Oklahoma, 166 against Texas, and 201 against Kansas State. This is not something that bodes well for U-Dub. Look for the two to connect very early, and very often.

However, don’t expect Washington to just lie down and take it. Baylor’s defense isn’t the greatest (ranked 114th in the nation), so Huskies QB Keith Price and running back Chris Polk could have a field day against it. Price has already set a single-season school record with 29 touchdown passes, and has also had 2625 passing yards. He has thrown 11 picks this year, which could be an area for exploitation for the Bears if they can fluster the Huskies. Polk has done serious damage on the ground to his team’s opponents, having more than 1300 rushing yards and averaging 5.1 per carry, and 11 touchdowns. It is very plausible that Polk will have a great performance against Baylor’s defense, and can help keep the Huskies in this game. 

This is the first meeting between the two schools since 1965, and the Baylor Bears have a 3-1 series edge over the Huskies.

As everyone expects, all eyes will be on RG3, but it will be for a different reason than everyone thinks. Sure, he’s got a cannon for an arm, throws the deep ball as well as anyone in recent memory, and can burn any defense in the country on the ground as well, but in a game that will be decided on turnovers (as neither defense can stop a nosebleed) RG3’s propensity to not make mistakes will make all of the difference. At one point into the year he had more touchdowns than incompletions and interceptions combined, and if he can tap into that form on this day, then the question of the outcome won’t ever be in doubt. Look for Griffin to show that he’s indeed worth all of the hype and accolades as the Baylor Bears win a good ol’ fashion wild west shootout, 42-35.

Kick-off takes place a Dec. 29 at 6 p.m. Pacific Time, and will be covered on ESPN. Tune into to see RG3 go out with a bang!