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Jeremy Papasso / Staff Photographer
When it announced on Sunday that the Colorado football team would be playing in the Valero Alamo Bowl, it didn’t take long for left tackle Jeromy Irwin to start hearing from family and friends.
“I’ll have a lot of family and relatives there, and friends,” Irwin said. ‘They’ve already been bugging me to get tickets.”
The No. 10 Buffaloes (10-3) will take on No. 12 Oklahoma State (9-3) on Dec. 29 at the Alamodome in San Antonio.
Irwin and his brother Sean, CU’s starting tight end, grew up in Cypress, Texas, located just outside of Houston. San Antonio is only about three hours away.
“I’m really excited,” Irwin said. “I haven’t been back to Texas and played a game there since high school. It’s pretty nice to go home.”
The Buffs have 10 players on the roster from Texas, including the Irwins, offensive lineman Jonathan Huckins and Sam Kronshage, outside linebacker Jimmie Gilbert and backup quarterback Steven Montez.
Head coach Mike MacIntyre will be quite familiar with his surroundings at the Alamodome from his days as an assistant with the Dallas Cowboys, from 2003-06.
“San Antonio is a phenomenal town,” MacIntyre said. “I got to spend time there, a couple different months there when I was coaching for the Dallas Cowboys. We had our training camp there. I know every square inch of the Alamodome, because we basically practiced in there every day, lived there.
“It’s just a fun, fun town.”
Of course, the Buffs will do their best to beat the Cowboys, but MacIntyre said the team will also try to take advantage of the extra weeks of practice to get younger players more experience for the future.
“It’s an extra spring practice, which will help accelerate their learning curve and their skill level,” MacIntyre said.
MacIntyre has coached in bowl games as an assistant, but never as a head coach.
He helped San Jose State earn a bid to the Military Bowl in 2012, but did not coach in that game because he left the Spartans to take the job at CU.
“It’s going to be a lot of fun,” MacIntyre said. “That was a tough, tough thing (in 2012). I guess it’s one of those sacrifices you make as a head coach.”
Several of his San Jose State assistants — who wound up following MacIntyre to Boulder — did coach in the bowl game.
“I watched it in the living room, texting them back and forth before the game, and at halftime,” MacIntyre said. “That was tough. This is going to be a lot of fun to experience this.”
Co-offensive coordinator Brian Lindgren, offensive line coach Klayton Adams, tight ends coach Gary Bernardi, cornerbacks coach Charles Clark and defensive line coach Jim Jeffcoat did get to coach in the bowl game in 2012, and will now get a chance to coach in this bowl.
CU is just the fourth top-10 team to play in the Alamo Bowl since it began in 1993. The previous three went 2-1. … This is the third consecutive year that the Alamo Bowl has featured two top 15 teams, but the first time that both have been in the top 12. … Oklahoma State will tie Iowa for the most Alamo Bowl appearances, with four. The Cowboys are 1-2 in this game. … CU has selected PrimeSport as the athletic department’s official fan travel and hospitality provider. For more information on official CU travel packages, visit www.primesport.com.
Brian Howell: firstname.lastname@example.org, on Twitter: @BrianHowell33.