Former Texas Longhorns head coach Mack Brown knows the Alamo Bowl. He coached in three, winning two, and his final game as head coach in Austin was against Oregon in that very game in 2013. So, he’s worth giving a listen when he breaks down this year’s matchup between No. 10 Colorado and No. 12 Oklahoma State.

Brown will be on the call on Thursday in San Antonio, and he stepped away from dinner on the riverwalk to join Dan Jacobs and Ryan Edwards on Tuesday to give his thoughts on the game.

“The Alamo Bowl seems to get better every year,” Brown said, thinking back on last year’s triple-overtime thriller between No. 11 TCU and No. 15 Oregon. Even Colorado has played an exciting Alamo Bowl game, back in 2002. The No. 14 Buffs lost to unranked Wisconsin in that one, 31-28 in overtime.

As for what put the Buffs back in their first bowl since 2007 and delivered the school’s first Pac-12 South championship, Brown points to the commitment Mike MacIntyre and his players made four years ago when they came to Colorado together.

“I think it’s a senior team that Coach MacIntyre recruited his senior year that have been through all the tough seasons, and they’re so committed to him and the staff, and so committed to Colorado that they wanted to make sure they made this thing work,” Brown says.

Colorado made it work to the tune of 10 wins, their highest total since 2001. They can tie a school record with 11, sharing that honor with the great 1989, 1990 and 1994 teams, with a victory on Thursday. Brown says a victory will come down to which team can create the biggest mental and motivational edge.

“My experience, when you’re playing in a bowl game, is the team with the biggest edge is the team that usually wins. So they’re all pretty talented and they’re all pretty good, and you had good seasons where you’re going to be playing a team pretty much like you, but does Oklahoma State come in with more of an edge because they lost their last game to Oklahoma and didn’t get to go to the Sugar Bowl? Or does Colorado come in with an edge, like ‘we’ve got to get this thing right,’ finish strong with their senior class because they didn’t play well against Washington?”

Mental edge aside, the Buffs will still have to stop one of the nation’s most prolific passing attacks. Colorado boasts a spectacular secondary, led by Tedric Thompson and Chidobe Awuzie, but Oklahoma State has one of the best quarterback-wide receiver tandems in the country.

“Mason Rudolph can throw,” Brown asserts. “He’s 6-foot-5, 235 [pounds]; he’s a pro prospect … He’s got one of the faster, more dynamic receivers in the country in James Washington, so the secondary of Colorado matching up against Washington is going to be something that’s going to be a lot of fun to watch.”

For Colorado on offense, Brown says success in this game will be all about quarterback Sefo Liufau’s health.

“You go back and look at Colorado’s offense and you have to ask, ‘Can Sefo stay healthy?’ … Not only is he healthy [to start], but can he stay healthy throughout [the game]? Because without him being able to run the ball it was obvious in the championship game with Washington that they lose who they are.”

Brown knows very well, though, that motivation will be the key. His final game as a coach was a loss in the Alamo Bowl. Finding motivation when the season ended well, but not as well as you would have hoped can make that difficult. So Brown expects this will be a tight one.

“I think it’s going to be a close game; I really do. It’s a weird term, but in coaching, the team that plays the best is going to win the game, and in a bowl game you never know. So, which coach can create the edge?”

Listen to the full interview with Mack Brown, including his thoughts on marquee players sitting out bowl games, in the podcast below…

Catch The Final Verdict with Notaro and Jacobs every Monday-Thursday from 6p-8p on Mile High Sports AM 1340 | FM 104.7 or stream live any time for the best local coverage of Colorado sports from Denver’s biggest sports talk lineup.