CU’s con­so­la­tion OK (St.)

The Bu≠s miss out on the Rose Bowl and will in­stead go to San An­to­nio.

The Denver Post - - SPORTS - By Nick Kos­mider

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

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