The Denver Post - - SPORTS - By Nick Kosmider

Fri­day night’s blowout loss to Wash­ing­ton in the Pac-12 ti­tle game is in the past, as Colorado awaits its bowl bid Sun­day. The Rose, Cot­ton, Alamo and Hol­i­day Bowls are all pos­si­ble des­ti­na­tions.

The Colorado Buf­faloes walked off the field at Levi’s Sta­dium here late Fri­day night past the pur­ple con­fetti and gold stream­ers, slowly ma­neu­ver­ing around the cel­e­bra­tion of a dream reached by some­one else.

Their 41-10 loss to No. 4 Wash­ing­ton in the Pac-12 cham­pi­onship game stung these Buffs, who had spo­ken since the warm days of the sum­mer about be­com­ing league cham­pi­ons. Out­siders scoffed, view­ing it as a ridicu­lous no­tion for a team with one league vic­tory a year ago, but the Buf­faloes moved to within an arm’s reach of re­al­ity af­ter CU stormed to the South Di­vi­sion ti­tle.

Then it all dis­ap­peared Fri­day night in by far CU’s worst per­for­mance of the sea­son.

“This cuts deeper than most,” said CU se­nior quar­ter­back Sefo Li­u­fau, who threw three in­ter­cep­tions.

The Buffs left California hurt and de­jected, but the true barom­e­ter of a spe­cial sea­son will be mea­sured by what comes next.

CU awaits the an­nounce­ment of its bowl se­lec­tion Sun­day morn­ing, and a pow­er­ful op­po­nent will be on the other end of any post­sea­son des­ti­na­tion.

The Buf­faloes may hold on to the Rose Bowl bid they covet and face one of the Big Ten’s best teams. There may be an at-large spot in the Cot­ton Bowl avail­able, which would likely fea­ture a matchup with un­de­feated “group of five” team Western Michi­gan. Or they could end up in San An­to­nio for the Alamo Bowl, in a game against a top­tier Big 12 team.

No mat­ter where the Ral­phie logo pops up, the Buffs will be in for a ma­jor chal­lenge in a few more weeks. How well CU fares could de­pend on how quickly they can wash away the sting of the let­down in Santa Clara.

“That’s the thing about sports. Sports are some­times tough,” CU coach Mike MacIn­tyre said. “When you play re­ally good teams and on a big stage, it’s mag­ni­fied even more. You learn great life lessons in it also. So hope­fully … well, not hope­fully. I know we’ll bounce back and we’ll be ready to roll.”

The Buffs may well have lost their hold on a spot in the Rose Bowl, long cel­e­brated as the premier and cov­eted des­ti­na­tion for the Pac-12 cham­pion. Wash­ing­ton will likely be se­lected for the Col­lege Foot­ball Play­off. The Rose Bowl is then ob­li­gated to put “a strong pref­er­ence” on se­lect­ing the next Pac12 rep­re­sen­ta­tive that is ranked high­est in the CFP rank­ings.

Colorado was ranked No. 8 this past week, with USC slot­ted at No. 11. With a 31-point loss in front of a na­tional au­di­ence, the Buffs could fall be­hind the Tro­jans.

CU is left to wait and won­der. But as the Buffs’ locker room in­side Levi’s Sta­dium be­gan to clear out late Fri­day night, all they were ask­ing for was a chance to prove they were a dif­fer­ent team than the one that fell so flat on the big stage.

Asked whether he be­lieved his team de­served to be viewed as the Pac-12’s No. 2 team, run­ning back Phillip Lind­say was de­fi­ant.

“I’m al­ways go­ing to say that we’re the No. 1 team, hands down,” Lind­say said. “We didn’t show it (Fri­day). Any given day some­thing can go wrong. It wasn’t our best per­for­mance, but we do have a chance to re­deem our­selves and bring our se­niors a win one last time.”

Andy Cross, The Den­ver Post

CU’s Phillip Lind­say (23) looks for run­ning room against the Wash­ing­ton de­fense in the Pac-12 cham­pi­onship game Fri­day night.

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