BOULDER - The University of Colorado has accepted an invitation to play in the 10th annual Alamo Bowl, presented by MasterCard, as the Buffaloes will play Wisconsin in the Dec. 28 game in San Antonio. Kickoff is 6:00 p.m. mountain time at the 65,000-seat Alamodome.
Colorado, ranked No. 14 in both final regular season polls, was the Big 12 Conference North Division champion with a 7-1 league record. The Buffs were denied a second straight conference title after dropping a 29-7 decision to Oklahoma Saturday night and are now 9-4 overall on the season.
Wisconsin is 7-6, and tied for eighth in the Big Ten with a 2-6 record; but the Badgers opened 5-0 before losing their next three games by a combined 11 points, including a 19-14 setback to now No. 2 Ohio State. Wisconsin suffered four of its losses to ranked teams (by 32 total points).
The bowl has a $1.35 million payout for both schools. Wisconsin will be the home team, as the bowl alternates conference for the assignment; this is the eighth year the Alamo Bowl will be a Big 12-Big 10 pairing, with Big 10 schools owning a 5-2 edge.
Colorado will begin bowl practices this Wednesday, and will likely head to Texas either Dec. 22 or 23 to begin its on-site game week preparations.
"Coming off a disappointing loss, we feel extremely fortunate we have another chance to play, and we will want to make the best of that," head coach Gary Barnett said. "We have a chance to win 10 games, and that's something we would take great pride in. The sting of last night's loss will subside after a few days, so we'll be excited to play in this game and look forward to going to San Antonio and the battle against Wisconsin."
"This is a good date for our fans, as the bowl falls between the holidays on a Saturday night, so travel arrangements and costs should be easier and more affordable," CU athletic director Dick Tharp said. "We've heard nothing but great things from our colleagues about the experience they've had in San Antonio."
"We are looking forward to Colorado bringing their power running attack along with their devoted fans to San Antonio for this year's Alamo Bowl presented by MasterCard," said Diane Rath, Alamo Bowl chairman. "We feel the match-up between Colorado and Wisconsin will be am exciting one to watch, highlighted by two of the top running backs in the nation."
Colorado's Chris Brown is the NCAA's third leading rusher at 158.5 yard per game, while Wisconsin's Anthony Davis is 13th at 121.3. CU's two-back tandem of Brown and Bobby Purify lead the nation with 2,493 yards, the most by any two players, while UW's Davis and Dwayne Smith have combined for 1,993 yards, the 12th most by any duo and eighth most by a running back combo.
Both Brown and Davis have 300-yard games this year, Brown posting 309 in a 52-39 CU win at Kansas on Oct. 12, Davis netting 301 in a 49-31 Wisconsin win over Minnesota in the season finale. Brown missed the last two games of the season with a bruised sternum, but is listed as probable for the bowl game.
Not only do both schools boast two of the nation's top running games, but two of the four running backs to win the Heisman Trophy since 1989 have hailed from each: Colorado's Rashaan Salaam in 1994 and Wisconsin's Ron Dayne in 1999.
Colorado and Wisconsin have played five times, starting with a classic 0-0 tie in the first meeting between the two in 1965. CU has won four straight since, including a sweep of a home-and-home series in 1994 (a CU 55-17 win in Boulder) and 1995 (a 43-7 Buff triumph at Madison).
Both are 6-1 in their last seven bowl games, the top two records in the nation, but this will be the first post-season meeting between the two. In fact, this will be Colorado's 25th bowl game all-time, but only the second time it will line up across from a Big 10 opponent. CU lost to Ohio State, 27-10, in the 1977 Orange Bowl after it won a share of the '76 Big Eight title.
For the Alamo Bowl, CU has received an allotment of 10,832 tickets. Prices are $45.50 (lower level), $35.50 (upper level) and $65.50 (club level).