CU’s consolation OK (St.)
The Bu≠s miss out on the Rose Bowl and will instead go to San Antonio.
boulder» The comeback season will not end with a rosy scent for Colorado, but the Buffaloes insist they are still eager to punctuate a resurgent season with a stroll along the Riverwalk.
The Rose Bowl on Sunday announced a matchup of USC against Penn State for its marquee Jan. 2 game, relegating the Buffs to a spot in the Alamo Bowl on Dec. 29 at the Alamodome in San Antonio against Oklahoma State.
The game matches ranked teams, with Colorado landing at No. 10 in the final College Football Playoff rankings and Oklahoma State coming in at No. 12. It’s the first bowl berth for the Buffs since a 34-20 loss to Alabama in the Independence Bowl in 2007.
“We’re extremely excited to be playing in San Antonio in the Valero Alamo Bowl,” CU coach Mike MacIntyre said. “Oklahoma State is an excellent team, really high-powered. Mike (Gundy) has done a real good job there, and it’s going to be a heck of a football game with a great atmosphere.”
MacIntyre said he is familiar with “every square inch” of the Alamodome. When he was an assistant coach for the Dallas Cowboys, the team held its training camp in San Antonio.
The Buffs will play their first game against a Big 12 opponent since leaving the conference after the 2010 season. CU holds a 26-19-1 edge over Oklahoma State in the series.
CU had been in position to grab a Rose Bowl bid after finishing the regular season 10-2 and winning the Pac12 South Division. The Buffs entered the final weekend of the season at No. 8 in the College Football Playoff rankings, three spots ahead of USC, which finished 9-3 in the regular season.
But a 31-point loss to Washington in the Pac-12 championship game Friday night changed the scenario. The writing was on the wall early Sunday when the Buffs dropped to No. 11 in The Associated Press poll, two spots behind the Trojans. The Buffs were ranked No. 10 in the final CFP rankings. USC was one spot ahead at No. 9.
The Rose Bowl puts a “strong preference” on picking the Pac-12 representative ranked the highest in final poll. The lopsided nature of CU’s slide gave way to the fall in the rankings.
Several CU players voiced their displeasure with missing out on the Rose Bowl on social media.
“How do we not go to the rose bowl when we are the PAC 12 South Champs?” receiver Bryce Bobo tweeted. “(Shaking my head) but good luck USC.”
Asked about any disappointment CU was feeling about missing out on the Rose Bowl, MacIntyre kept the focus on what lies ahead.
“We’re excited about playing in the Alamo Bowl,” he repeated. “We’re playing the 12th-ranked team in the country. It’s going to be a heck of a game. Our kids are excited about playing in that bowl.”
Though Friday’s game brought plenty of disappointment to the Buffs, the Alamo Bowl provides the chance to finish a remarkable season on a high note. CU will match up with the No. 2 team in the Big 12 in a 7 p.m. game on ESPN.
“If you’d had asked me at the beginning of the season where we’d be at, it would be hard for me to say we’d be at this point, honestly,” said offensive tackle Jeromy Irwin, a senior captain and one of several CU players from Texas. “We didn’t go to the Rose. We’re going to go to the Alamo Bowl, and we’re going to play well there.”
The Buffs were picked to finish last in the Pac-12 South after winning only two of their 27 league games in the previous three seasons. Instead, they went 8-1 in Pac-12 games, and the seven-game turnaround from the previous season was the largest in league history.
The Huskies earned a berth in the national semifinals and a matchup with No. 1 Alabama in the Peach Bowl. The winner will play the winner of the Fiesta Bowl matchup between No. 2 Clemson and No. 3 Ohio State for the national championship.
Colorado running back Phillip Lindsay tries to gain yardage against Washington safety Budda Baker on Friday night in the Pac-12 championship game in Santa Clara, Calif. Andy Cross, The Denver Post