HELMET FIGHT!! (AP)
The 2012 Valero Alamo Bowl is just hours away. We’re sure you have so many questions. We’re here to help. (For an X's and O's breakdown, click through to Stewart Mandel's game preview.)
• What's all this, then? After a couple weeks of Beefo-come-lately bowls whose provenance might be described as "questionable," we're starting to break into the name-brand bowls. The Alamo has been around since 1993 and has featured at least one ranked team in 16-of-20 games since then (counting this year).
• Where will this game be played? The Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas.
• When is it on television? Coverage begins at 6:45 p.m. ET on ESPN. Sean McDonough and Chris Spielman are your announcers, with Quint Kessenich on sideline duty.
• Whom does it feature? Since 2010, the Alamo Bowl has pitted the Pac-12's second-place team against the third choice from the Big 12.
• What about this year? The 9-3, 13th-ranked Oregon State Beavers are your Pac-12 representative, while the 8-4, 23rd-ranked Texas Longhorns rep the Big 12. That makes this the 2012-13 bowl season's first occurrence of ranked-on-ranked action.
• Does the bowl have a social media presence? The bowl has a Twitter account at @valeroalamobowl, and it's spittin' trivia like hot lava:
• What wacky activities will be on offer during bowl week? The "Valero Alamo Bowl Bash," contrary to popular belief, is not set up to trash-talk the Alamo Bowl for not being played, Legends of the Hidden Temple-style, within the confines of the Alamo itself. It does feature "five gourmet action food stations." Like crab legs that walk off your plate by themselves? Precisely. Off the beaten path, you can explore San Antonio's native prehistoric wildlife for yourselves:
• What shiny baubles will be showered on the players? A goodie bag befitting an honest-to-goodness bowl: iPad mini, Fossil watch, Best Buy gift card, mini-helmet . . . and a "panoramic team photo," which could either mean a team photo taken at some sweeping south Texas vista or just a really wide-ass photo of all the players. We're looking into it.
• What's the pick? Stewart Mandel initially picked Texas to finally live up to its promise, but switched his prediction to Oregon State following the suspension of two Longhorns players.
• Please impart any miscellaneous knowledge you might have concerning the 2012 Alamo Bowl. Texas, it's been a weird year, but you've got a brass ring to reach for in this last game: