I lived in Austin a couple of years, and I think Salt Lick is overrated. I'd drive down to Lockhart - it's not much further from downtown Austin. Or for that matter drive over to Louie Mueller's in Taylor. There's several new BBQ joints in Austin, I think a couple in the East Side.Hmmm... Can't comment there since I just drive from Houston. Never have flown to Austin and only flew to SA once for business. But a solution could be to fly into and out of Austin, but still drive to and stay in SA if you can't find airfare you don't like to SA. I think we drove from Austin to the river walk in just under an hour (of course, going the typical 5-10 MPH over the posted limit ;-) ). Actually, San Marcos may even be a good call. Less of a drive, easy to Austin and back on gameday. Do the river walk one night, and the Salt Lick the other night (really popular BBQ place, but it's probably PACKED on game weekends).
Actually, a cool option IMO is to stay in New Braunfels and go to Gruene Hall Friday or Saturday night.