No. 11 CU vs. No. 13 Okla. St.

What: Valero Alamo Bowl

When: 7 p.m., Thursday

Where: Alamodome, San Antonio

TV / Radio: ESPN, 850 AM, 94.1 FM

SAN ANTONIO — Colorado has had plenty of time to put its last game in the rearview mirror.

The Buffaloes, however, certainly have not forgotten about the 41-10 loss to Washington in the Pac-12 championship game on Dec. 2.

In fact, it has helped to fuel them as they prepare for Thursday's Valero Alamo Bowl.

"I hope they still have a little bit of that in their gut," CU head coach Mike MacIntyre said.

The Buffs (10-3, No. 10 in the College Football Playoff, No. 11 in the Associated Press poll) take on Oklahoma State (9-3, No. 12 CFP, No. 13 AP) on Thursday at the Alamodome, and the goal is to make up for the loss to Washington with a strong performance to cap the season.

"Obviously the last time we played we weren't at our best," co-offensive coordinator Darrin Chiaverini said, "and we want an opportunity to get back out there and show what we're about."

The desire to finish strong has allowed the Buffs to keep their priorities straight this week in San Antonio, despite distractions that have come from bowl activities and being here during Christmas.


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"I feel like we've handled it great so far," running back Phillip Lindsay said. "We're an older team, a more mature team. We also know what we came here to do.

"When it's time to go out there and practice, it's about letting everything else go and playing ball and practicing hard. We understand that. We're excited, but we're ready. It's time to get back on the right track."

This week, CU is holding practices and workout at University of the Incarnate Word. The Buffs had their second practice on Monday, and they've been pleased with the effort in both sessions.

"There's a lot of intensity, a lot of focus throughout practice," linebacker Rick Gamboa said.

This is CU's first bowl appearance since 2007, while Oklahoma State is making its 11th consecutive trip to a bowl.

Breaking the bowl drought has been a source of motivation for the Buffs.

"In my mind, this is long overdue," said Chiaverini, who played for the Buffs from 1995-98. "This is where we're supposed to be. We're supposed to be in the national spotlight.

"When you talk to (recruits) and you see them talk about CU football and you see people wearing the logo and wearing the brand, it's special, and it's just the beginning for us. We're heading in the right direction."

To the Buffs, the right direction includes getting a win this week. After a stellar season that included the program's first Pac-12 South division title, it's only fitting to end it with a victory.

"We're just here to win a game," junior safety Afolabi Laguda said. "The festivities that come with the bowl game are great, but the focus is to win the game and send my seniors out on a good note. I know what my priorities are and I know the older guys on this team do as well."

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