Oregon State generated the biggest one-year turnaround in school history and could secure its third 10-win season by beating Texas in the Alamo Bowl.
The Longhorns are trying to reverse a three-year slide from a time when 10 wins were just a footnote on the way to championship games and other BCS bowls.
Beating the 15th-ranked Beavers on Saturday night would be another baby step back to the elite for Mack Brown and company, with still a long way to go. An Alamo loss would mean a second straight eight-win season for the Longhorns (8-4), this time with a three-game losing streak to finish it.
Oregon State (9-3) is trying to complete a strong rebound for consecutive losing seasons, including a 3-9 mark a year ago.