Receiving an invitation to the Valero Alamo Bowl is a reward for a good season for the Colorado football team.
It’s also an opportunity for the players and their families to be reunited.
On Sunday, CU (4-1) accepted an invitation to play Texas (6-3) in the Alamo Bowl on Dec. 29 in San Antonio. It will be the Buffaloes’ first bowl appearance in four years, and just the second time this season they will play in front of fans.
The Alamodome, home to the Texas-San Antonio Roadrunners, has limited capacity to 11,000 fans this season, but that will make it, by far, the largest crowd of the season for a CU game.
CU played in front of 554 family and friends for the Nov. 7 season opener at Folsom Field against UCLA. Since then, every game they’ve played has been without fans.
“I don’t want to understate just the importance of playing in a bowl game, and having your family members be able to watch,” head coach Karl Dorrell said. “Our whole season was no fans on the west coast. That was a different level of football to be desired, to be honest with you.
“This is going to be a reward, not only for our players, but also for the families that haven’t had a chance to watch their sons play, and to be involved in it. I think it’s a great reward for everyone in a number of circumstances. We’re excited for the change of scenery.”
CU has 22 players from Texas on the roster and Dorrell said, “I think (they) are excited about getting home and getting their families involved, so it should be a great experience for us.”
Clayton opts out
Freshman running back Ashaad Clayton has officially opted out for the remainder of the season and will not play in the Alamo Bowl.
The top-rated recruit in CU’s 2020 class, Clayton ran the ball seven times for 31 yards and two touchdowns this season. He had been getting more involved lately, however, with six of his carries and both of his touchdowns in the last two games.
Texas last played on Dec. 5, when it routed Kansas State, 69-31, in Manhattan, Kansas.
The next day, the Longhorns announced they were pausing football activities after three players and two staff members had tested positive for COVID-19. That led to Texas canceling its Dec. 12 matchup with Kansas.
On Sunday, head coach Tom Herman said, “We’re still dealing with some COVID issues ourselves. We’ve got a couple players that will not be able to play (against CU).
“We’ve got some more COVID issues than we did (after the K-State game), so that might elevate a few more young guys into some key contributor roles, but I know that the young guys that we have played with have fared very, very well and I expect the ones that will be playing for the first or second time this year will do much the same.”
Unlike most years, there will not be several days of team activities and festivities leading up to the bowl game.
Dorrell said he gave the players the weekend off and they will return to practice Monday. CU plans to arrive in San Antonio on Sunday.
“The change of scenery, I think all of that is going to be really good for us,” he said. “We’re fortunate to get two or three days (in San Antonio), which we’re very happy to be able to do so.”
Texas also gave its players a few days off. The Longhorns’ campus is only about 80 miles from the Alamodome, and Herman said he didn’t know what day the team would arrive in San Antonio.
Beginning with the Cotton Bowl on Jan. 1, 1938, CU has played in 29 bowl games in its history, going 12-17. The Buffs have lost three consecutive bowl games, dating back to a 33-28 win against UTEP in the Houston Bowl on Dec. 29, 2004. … This will be CU’s third appearance at the Alamo Bowl, as it also played there in 2016 and 2002. In its history, CU has made more appearances at just two other bowls: Orange (five times) and Bluebonnet (four). It also has three appearances at the Fiesta Bowl. … The Longhorns lead the all-time series, 11-7, including five consecutive wins. CU’s last win against Texas was on Dec. 1, 2001, in the Big 12 title game, 39-37. … The Buffs and Longhorns have met one other time in a bowl game, the 1975 Bluebonnet Bowl in Houston. Texas won, 38-21.