Gator or Alamo?
Considering the luck of this season, it pretty much has the same relevance as "paper or plastic?" But, there are advantages and disadvantages to either choice.
The Gator Bowl
-This would be the first appearance for Texas in the Gator Bowl since 1974. We don't really get much opportunity for return visits so it is a novelty. Anything that doesn't start with "Cotton" or "Holiday" is a bonus.
-Jacksonville is a relatively warm winter spot. Horn fans with lots of post-Christmas money get a chance to visit the east coast as a change from our back-to-back west coast visits.
-Probable matchup would be against Virgina Tech. We owe them some payback from our last meeting in the Sugar Bowl. Beating a 10-2 team is a good note to go out on.
-Ocala, Florida is not terribly far from the bowl site. Jonathan Brantley, Texas' verbally committed blue chip QB, may be able to see the Horns live. Rumor has it that Steve Spurrier and Bob Stoops, friends of the Brantley family, are throwing the kitchen sink at the Brantleys' for a commitment. While Jonathan has stated that he is firmly committed, it's never a bad idea to assert your presence. That's a lesson learned courtesy of Ryan Perriloux.
-Obviously travel is a factor. It's much easier to go to take a road trip to San Antonio than it is to journey out to Jacksonville. The argument could be made that Texas had an outstanding bowl presence in Pasadena which is roughly equi-distant. But, the stakes for those games were much higher than this year.
-Furthering the above, this isn't for any sort of title. The smart move would be to sit out Colt and not risk further injury. Snead is a question mark for eligibility should he register at another school. That leaves Matt McCoy...or Quan Cosby. While somewhat entertaining to see this spectacle, it will be a turn off considering the financial commitment entailing hotels, food, transportation and tickets. (Which are currently sold out)
-The Gator Bowl is a New Year's day event. While the bowl schedules have not been finalized, chances are that one or two other teams may draw attention away from the Horns. The Alamo Bowl is pre-bowl rush and probably would draw a larger audience nationally.
The Alamo Bowl
-Travel and cost as covered above.
-Opponent will be Iowa so it is basically a home game.
-Allows you to spend New Year's eve with friends and family. (Or Dick Clark for that matter)
-A lot to do in San Antonio and the Tex-Mex is outstanding.
-Going from the Fiesta Bowl to the Alamo Bowl is a pretty hefty drop. While we will end up #3 in the conference, it's still a pride thing. Speaking of, someone needs to explain to me how we are #3 if NU beats ou in the Big 12 championship game. We would have beaten both head-to-head and posses the same conference record. Yes, I get the idea of divisions, ou would have a better conference record than Texas if they didn't have to play the championship game, etc. But, it's good debate fodder none the less.
-Part of the distaste for the Cotton Bowl is because Texas plays there annually anyway and it's nice to get away from the norm. San Antonio is only an hour south of Austin and 5 hours from Dallas. The Alamo is only interesting once...except for the basement.
-Iowa isn't much this year. Texas has nothing to gain and everything to lose by playing them. Win, and we beat a 6-6 Iowa team. Lose and it gives the internet more fodder to carry into the offseason and some worry with recruitment. Basically, it's the same scenario as playing Boise St. without a Big 12 title and BCS win to hang on the wall.
There really isn't an answer out there that can completely satisfy everyone. If the Horns play in San Antonio...I will go. If they play in Jacksonville...I won't be able to go but the matchup is much better. It's a real pick-your-poison scenario.