SANTA CLARA, Calif. — At some point on Sunday, the Colorado football team will be given a reward for a great season.
Bowl selections will be revealed Sunday, and the Buffaloes are expected to be in the mix for either the Rose Bowl or Cotton Bowl on Jan. 2 or the Alamo Bowl on Dec. 29.
It may feel like a bit of a consolation prize after Friday’s 41-10 loss to Washington in the Pac-12 championship game, but through the cloud of defeat, most of the Buffs expressed their desire to get another shot prove themselves.
“No matter what bowl game we’re in, we need to go in there and we need to play football, and we need to come out with a win,” running back Phillip Lindsay said. “It’s a chance to redeem ourselves.”
CU’s primary goal this season was to win the Pac-12 championship, and falling short was a bitter pill for many of the Buffs (10-3) to swallow.
“Nobody remembers a loser,” linebacker Jimmie Gilbert said. “Everyone always remembers a champion. Even though we’ve done some great things this season, no one is going to remember, because we didn’t win; we didn’t come out on top like we wanted to.”
CU fans aren’t likely to forget this season any time soon, however, and winning a bowl game, regardless of which one, could make this season even sweeter and wash away some of the bad taste from Friday.
Several of the Buffs spoke after the game about making sure they make up for this loss by winning a bowl game.
“We’ll get refocused and do what we usually do,” receiver Bryce Bobo said.
Quarterback Sefo Liufau said: “(The bowl game) is very important, especially to go out on a high note and really send the seniors out the right away; but also send the rest of the team — the juniors, the sophomores, the freshmen — into a great offseason and help them continue to build a platform for years to come.”
For many of the players, Friday’s loss put a damper on the entire season, but head coach Mike MacIntyre hopes the players appreciate how special this year has been.
“No doubt we’ll look at it as a success,” MacIntyre said. “Of course, they’re down right now, but being Pac-12 South champs, winning 10 games and hopefully we’ll win 11; and we’re going to go to a nice bowl. To me that’s definitely a success.
“Of course, you always want more, but I think it’s phenomenal what these young men have done this year.”
Bobo, who missed the regular season finale against Utah with a sprained ankle, returned to the lineup against Washington. He was not himself, however.
“It just wasn’t my best game,” the junior said. “I didn’t feel a lot of strength in my ankle. I can’t really push off too much.”
Given that, he eventually gave way for backup Kabion Ento to come in the game.
“It was best for the team,” Bobo said.
Friday was the first time in 12 games played this season that Bobo did not have a catch. He finished the season with career highs in receptions (41) and yards (543).
CU does not count bowl game statistics in its season and career numbers, and therefore, Friday’s game brought the season to a close statistically.
Liufau finished the season completing 183 of 290 passes (63.1 percent) for 2,171 yards, 11 touchdowns and six interceptions. He closes his career with 9,568 passing yards and 10,509 yards of total offense, setting school records in both categories.
Lindsay finished the season with 1,189 rushing yards — the ninth-best single season total in CU history. He also finished with 47 catches, breaking the school record for running. He finished with 17 touchdowns and his 102 points ties for the sixth-best single season total in CU history.
Devin Ross led the team with 66 catches (seventh most in school history) and Shay Fields had a team-high 845 receiving yards (12th-best total in CU history).
Kenneth Olugbode finished as CU’s leading tackler for the second time in his career. He’s the first Buff to lead the team twice since Jordon Dizon (2006 and 2007).
Left guard Gerrad Kough did not play against the Huskies, as he continues to battle an ankle injury. … CU ran just 54 offensive plays against the Huskies, the third-lowest total in the MacIntyre era. … Over the last four games, opposing quarterbacks completed just 42 percent of their passes (60 of 143). Washington’s Jake Browning connected on 37.5 percent (nine of 24).
Brian Howell: firstname.lastname@example.org, on Twitter: @BrianHowell33.