BUFFS FIND OUT BOWL BID SUNDAY
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.”
CU’s Phillip Lindsay (23) looks for running room against the Washington defense in the Pac-12 championship game Friday night.