CU Alamo Bowl opponent glance

Opponent: No. 12 Oklahoma State Cowboys

Game time: Dec. 29, 7 p.m. MST, at the Alamodome in San Antonio

TV: ESPN

Coach: Mike Gundy, 12th season (103-50)

Record: 9-3, 7-2 Big-12

Last week: Lost at Oklahoma, 38-20

Key players: RB Justice Hill, Fr. (187 carries, 1,042 yards, 5 TD); QB Mason Rudolph, Jr. (262 of 416, 3,777 yards, 25 TD, 4 INT); WR James Washington, Jr. (62 catches, 1,209 yards, 9 TD); WR Jalen McCleskey, So. (69 catches, 762 yards, 7 TD); DT Taylor Vincent, Jr. (44 tackles, 6 sacks, 12 TFL); S Jordan Sterns, Sr. (96 tackles, 3 INT)

Notable: CU and Oklahoma State were both members of the Big Eight/Big 12 conference from 1960 to 2010. ... The Buffs have a 26-19-1 lead in the series against the Cowboys. ... Their last meeting came on Nov. 19, 2009, in Stillwater. ... CU's last bowl appearance came in the 2007 Independence Bowl, when it lost to Alabama, 30-24. ... Oklahoma State is making its 11th consecutive bowl appearance, and their fourth trip overall to the Alamo Bowl.

Getting passed over for a trip to the Rose Bowl brought a measure of disappointment to the Colorado football team on Sunday.


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That gave way to excitement, however, as the Buffaloes accepted an invitation to the Valero Alamo Bowl. Ranked No. 10 in the College Football Playoff ranking, the Buffs (10-3) will play No. 12 Oklahoma State (9-3) on Dec. 29 at the Alamodome in San Antonio. Kickoff is slated for 7 p.m. MST.

It'll be the first bowl appearance by the Buffs since 2007.

"If you'd have 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," junior left tackle Jeromy Irwin said. "We didn't go to the Rose. USC is a great team and they're going to the Rose Bowl. We're going to go to the Alamo Bowl and we're going to play well there."

CU won the Pac-12 South division before losing to No. 4 Washington in the conference title game, 41-10, on Friday. With Washington being selected for the CFP national semifinals, the Buffs were hoping to still get the Rose Bowl spot. That went to USC (9-3), which finished No. 9 in the CFP and defeated the Buffs, 21-17, on Oct. 8.

After it was announced that USC would play No. 5 Penn State in the Rose, a few players expressed disappointment on social media. Receiver Bryce Bobo tweeted, "How do we not go to the rose bowl when we are the PAC 12 South Champs ? Smh but good luck USC."

Athletic director Rick George said that in conversations with Rose Bowl officials, he was told that the bowl had a "strong preference" to take the team with the highest CFP ranking.

"You either agree or you don't agree with that," George said. "Unfortunately, we were 10th and they were ninth.

"I think there's some disappointment that we didn't go because we were eighth in the country (before the Pac-12 championship), we fall back two places and we get jumped having been defeated in the conference championship game. I respect the decision that was made by the Rose Bowl, and our focus is on the Alamo Bowl and our next opponent."

For the Buffs, this is ultimately a reward for what has been a great season to this point.

After five consecutive last-place finishes in the Pac-12 South, the Buffs by far exceeded the outside expectations and the reached a bowl that is considered the top bowl game outside of the coveted "New Year's Six."

"It's exciting for us," MacIntyre said. "Getting that monkey off our back with the bowl games is a lot of fun.

"I'm real excited for (the seniors). They're going to really enjoy it. It'll be great for them and the excitement around it."

Despite the long layoff before the game, MacIntyre believes his team will be ready to go when they hit the field against Oklahoma State, which finished as the runner-up in the Big 12.

"I think they'll be energized for the bowl game," MacIntyre said. "They'll still have the taste of the loss (to Washington) in their mouth when we go to the bowl game, which I think is a good thing.

"Hopefully we can win the bowl game, if we do we'll be one of four teams (in CU history) to win 11 games. We'll be considered up there with the greatest teams in the history of Colorado football."

The Buffs haven't had any trouble finding motivation for games this year, and Irwin doesn't believe it'll be a problem for the Alamo Bowl, either.

"Honestly, and my coach says this all the time, it's because it's our next game," he said. "We treat all the games the same. This one has maybe a bigger magnitude because it's our first bowl appearance since 2007, but it's another game for us."

Notable

The Buffs have been designated as the home team. ... CU is required to take at least 6,000 tickets for its allotment available to fans, but the school has requested more. ... For Alamo Bowl tickets, visit cubuffs.com/bowl. ... This will be CU's second trip to the Alamo Bowl, as they played there at the end of the 2002 season, losing to Wisconsin, 31-28 in overtime. ... In addition to dropping two spots in the CFP ranking, CU dropped to No. 11 in both the Associated Press and Amway Coaches polls on Sunday. ... CU's coaches will be out of town recruiting this week. The will resume practice on Friday. ... MacIntyre said he believes quarterback Sefo Liufau, who injured his ankle against Washington, will be able to practice on Friday. ... MacIntyre said he believes guard Gerrad Kough, who missed the last three games with an ankle injury, should be able to make it back for the bowl game. ... MacIntyre said he will wait until after the bowl game to determine when the Buffs will conduct spring practices.

Brian Howell: howellb@dailycamera.com, on Twitter: @BrianHowell33.