Alamo Bowl Can Be Springboard for 2007

Texas' Alamo Bowl matchup against Iowa has as much to do with the 2007 season as it does finishing the current 9-3 campaign on a positive note, head coach Mack Brown said.

"The seniors want to leave with a good taste in their mouth," Brown said, "but we also want it to be a kickoff for next year for this team. The bowl practice is so important. We've actually had a spring training here during (bowl preparation) which is exciting for the future."

The Alamo Bowl has recently served as a springboard for tradition-rich programs that parlayed appearances into championship caliber seasons, Brown noted. Case-in-point: Ohio State routed Oklahoma State in the 2004 Alamo Bowl, and the Buckeyes went on to win the Fiesta Bowl (2005 season) before entering the 2006 BCS National Championship game as the nation's top-ranked team. The 2005 Alamo Bowl match-up between Michigan and Nebraska was "a classic," Brown added. "They both came out of it and, after a good season last year, had a great season and played for their conference championships this year."

The Horns will say goodbye to 26 seniors on December 30, but coaches want the venue to serve as a precursor to the 2007 season for underclassmen. The 2007 Big 12 Championship Game is slated for San Antonio on the first Saturday in December.

"The fact that the championship game is there next year is exciting for our young players because they want to go back and be in that game," Brown said.

Starting QB Colt McCoy was cleared to play in his first-ever bowl late Thursday afternoon. It could be a shot in the arm for a disappointed Texas team that played with sporadic enthusiasm during a 12-7 home loss to Texas A&M. Will the defending national champs, winners of consecutive Rose Bowl, give a passing interest to a 6-6 Iowa team that finished eighth in the Big Ten?

"If you're only playing now because it's the national championship, it's a bad message," Brown said. "You need to play because you like the game and because it's important to you and to your teammates to be good. That's an important message for this bowl game."

Part of the impetus this week is to extend the current NCAA streak of consecutive 10-win seasons, Brown added. Texas is the only school in the nation to notch at least 10 wins in the last five seasons. Brown also wants his team to 'show up' as a way of honoring fans who bought Alamo Bowl tickets in record numbers. Approximately 65,800 fans are expected to fill the 65,000-seat stadium, and at least 32,000 of those tickets were purchased in the San Antonio area within two days of Texas accepting its first Alamo Bowl bid. It marked the quickest sellout in the 14-year history of the bowl game.

"Our players understand how important it is to our fans for us to play well and win because they bought their tickets so quickly. It sent a great message to the team, so the team wants to send a great message back to them."

Brown privately wished for an in-state bowl site after three consecutive post-season dates in California.

"We've stretched our fans pretty thin the past three years with two trips to the Rose Bowl and one to the Holiday Bowl."

Bowl week activities include a San Antonio Spurs game on Tuesday and a Wednesday afternoon trip to Sea World.

"This is a business trip for us," Brown noted. "The players can drive back to the RiverWalk in the spring if they want to."

The Horns are slated to report to San Antonio by 2 p.m., Monday. They are scheduled to resume practice in the Alamodome at 4 p.m.

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