'Disappointed' Texas Accepts Holiday Bowl Bid

Texas will face Washington State in the Pacific Life Holiday Bowl in San Diego on Dec. 30, head coach <B>Mack Brown </B>announced Sunday. As Brown watched Kansas State methodically manhandle Oklahoma in the Big 12 Championship Saturday, he said, &quot;The way it turned out surprised all of us&quot; before adding, &quot;I&#146;m disappointed for us but I&#146;m proud for (Kansas State).&quot;

"We’re disappointed we’re not going to play in the BCS," Brown said, "but we’re excited that we still have an opportunity to play Washington State who also had a chance to be in the BCS but who lost late."

Coaches met with players Sunday night to brief them on bowl preparations. While acknowledging that the team will be just as disappointed, Brown said, "This is the not the worst they have ever faced" and praised the 2003 Longhorns for their resiliency.

"They’ve always come back and fought," Brown said, "so our guys will come back. They’re probably glad we’re not playing today but this team has overcome a bunch during the last two or three years and especially this year. They were given up for dead six weeks ago and they did everything they could after the OU game to put themselves in a position to be in the BCS and it was out of our control at the end. Next year we need to make sure it’s in our control. All we can do now is go play great, try to win in the Holiday Bowl, and that’s what we’ll do."

Texas finished the regular season ranked No. 5 in both the Associated Press and ESPN/USA Today (coaches) poll, the highest rated team and one of only two Top 10 squads not to receive a BCS Bowl berth.

Part of what makes this not just disappointing but excruciating is that, once again, Texas was on the cusp on a BCS invitation only to be denied late in the game. It’s become such a trend that Brown was asked to comment on what may appear to many as a continuous run of bad luck.

"I don’t believe in luck, good or bad," Brown said. "You make your own luck."

But as a means toward reversing his team’s fortunes, Brown said he intends to remind players that Texas beat LSU in the Cotton Bowl last season and now the Tigers will be competing in the national championship game.

"Our guys need to understand that we’re right there," Brown said. "We don’t need to allow someone else to have our destiny in their hands. If we win one or two other games this year, we’re not sitting here waiting to see what some other score will be."

After courting Oklahoma State the last four weeks of the season, Cotton Bowl officials passed on Texas and invited the Cowboys to face Ole Miss on Jan. 2. Athletic Director DeLoss Dodds met with Cotton Bowl officials this past week and the consensus was it would be best "for all involved" if Texas did not return to Dallas for what would have been the second consecutive year and fourth of the past six, Brown said. Current freshmen and sophomores have not made the California trip, Brown said.

"The Cotton Bowl people have been great to The University of Texas," Brown added. "We had an open conversation with them, if things happened like they did, what would be the best for everybody."

Of course, this will be Texas’ third Holiday Bowl appearance in four years. Yet the San Diego venue is usually one of the most competitive games of the bowl season and typically commands a high percentage of television viewers relative to other matchups.

"If you look at the matchups they’ve had," Brown said, "when you match the Big 12 and the PAC-10, you’ve usually got a lot of scoring and some great games."

The team will have a 45 minute session Tuesday before beginning bowl preparations Saturday. The team will travel to San Diego on Dec. 23.

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