OSU Headed Toward Alamo Bowl

An official announcement was expected at 4 p.m. Tuesday with Ohio State headed to the Alamo Bowl to face a Big 12 opponent. Click here for the latest.

Bucknuts.com has learned that Ohio State will play in the MasterCard Alamo Bowl Dec. 29 in San Antonio against an opponent from the Big 12 Conference. An official announcement is imminent.

Here is our general story on the Alamo Bowl from yesterday. We will update this article with more details as they become available.

All eyes seem to be set on Texas as Ohio State awaits word on its bowl placement for the 2004 season.

The Buckeyes (7-4) wrapped up their season Saturday with a resounding 37-21 win over Big Ten co-champion Michigan. That victory has propelled OSU into position to probably go to the MasterCard Alamo Bowl, set for Wed., Dec. 29, in San Antonio, Texas.

Michigan (9-2) still secured the Big Ten's Rose Bowl bid because of its head-to-head win over co-champion Iowa (9-2). Iowa will then likely edge out Wisconsin (9-2) for the league's bid to the Capital One Bowl in Orlando, Fla. The Hawkeyes blasted Wisconsin 30-7 on Saturday.

Officials from the Capital One Bowl are awaiting word from the Bowl Championship Series that it has released Iowa and Wisconsin from consideration. Capital One selection committee members met this morning.

"I think we have a pretty good idea of where we're headed with the Big Ten," Capital One Bowl's Tom Mickle said after the Selection Committee's regular Monday morning meeting. "However, we have to wait to see what the BCS does before we can offer an invitation."

The BCS was expected to release Iowa and Wisconsin early Tuesday, setting the stage for the Big Ten's bowl partners to make their official invitations. After the Capital One Bowl, the Outback Bowl would then be expected to take Wisconsin.

The Alamo Bowl would come next and the decision is expected to be between Ohio State and Purdue, which also finished 7-4 after decimating Indiana 63-24. The Big Ten has been affiliated with the Alamo Bowl for nine seasons and Purdue has already made two appearances (1997 and 1998) in that bowl game. OSU has never played in the Alamo Bowl.

According to sources at OSU, they have been told the Alamo Bowl "really wants Ohio State."

However, it will not be official until late Tuesday. If for some reason the Alamo Bowl takes Purdue instead, OSU would land in the Sun Bowl, set for Dec. 31 in El Paso, Texas. OSU has also never played in the Sun Bowl.

After Purdue, Minnesota (6-5) is also bowl eligible. Northwestern (6-5) must win at Hawaii Saturday to finish above .500 and become bowl eligible. Those two schools would likely be slotted between the Music City and Motor City bowls.

Alamo Bowl officials have scouted OSU games the last several weeks. At Purdue, they were able to see that nearly 30 percent of the crowd, listed at 64,639, was rooting for OSU. And, of course, the spectacle and momentum gained from Saturday's win over Michigan had to be impressive.

In terms of ratings, OSU played one of the highest rated games in the history of ESPN2 at Northwestern earlier this season. (The Alamo Bowl is on ESPN with an 8 p.m. start time Dec. 29.)

"We'd be very excited about Ohio State if the availability is there and based on what the picks are," said Alamo Bowl committee member Frank Felicella. "We are always looking to try and balance the game with attendance and television ratings."

Travel agents will come up with packages that include air travel, hotel accommodations and tickets to the game. An online survey of airline prices showed several airlines selling round trip tickets at $370 and up for those departing Columbus Dec. 26 and returning Dec. 30. Tickets to the game are reasonably priced in the $50 and $60 range and are available on the bowl's web site at www.alamobowl.com.

"We would hope that the BCS would be able to tell the Big Ten whether one of its other teams would go up there or not as soon as possible," Felicella said. "It helps the fans. If you can make a flight arrangement four weeks out, it is a heck of a lot easier than if you try to do it two or three weeks out."

Since the Big Ten's arrangement with the Alamo Bowl began in 1995, Big Ten teams are 6-3 against Big 12 opponents. Iowa and Purdue have appeared in San Antonio twice, while Michigan, Penn State, Northwestern, Wisconsin and Michigan State have all appeared once.

The Big 12 bowl picture will begin to sort itself out this weekend as several of the top teams are in action. However, the Big Ten's Alamo representative may not know its opponent until Dec. 5 because of the conference's championship game, which will be held Dec. 4. Another variable is the possibility that Texas (9-1) heading into its finale with Texas A&M (7-3) could move up to the BCS.

Those two schools as well as Oklahoma State (7-3), Texas Tech (6-4), Iowa State (6-4), Colorado (6-4) and Nebraska (5-5) could also be in the running. After the BCS makes its picks, Big 12 teams will then be slotted to the Holiday and Cotton bowls before the Alamo.

"It has been an exciting season and we are happy to have our relationships with the Big Ten and the Big 12," Felicella said. "That has been fantastic for our game."

The Alamodome is located in downtown San Antonio, just minutes from the city's Riverwalk area. That area is replete with hotels, shops, restaurants and entertainment venues.

According to www.weather.com, the average daily high for San Antonio in December is 62 degrees, while the low is 41.

"The two biggest things are our people and our weather," Felicella said. "San Antonio hospitality is the best bar none. I'm a transplanted Texan. I've only been there 18 years and I call it home. The people are great and the weather is great. You get to fly in and then you get to leave your car.

"Every event is within walking distance right downtown in San Antonio. You march to the game behind your band, then you stagger back to the Riverwalk after the game and enjoy your celebration."

Stay tuned to Bucknuts.com for details on OSU's bowl placement as they become available.

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