Alvarez Verbatim: Alamo Bowl Bound

Here is what Coach Barry Alvarez had to say in the aftermath of the Badgers' invitation to the Alamo Bowl.

Probably an hour ago, I received a call from Derrick Fox and went on with them and he officially offered the invitation and I'm thrilled. I think our players are filled and I anticipate our fans will be excited about it. I think it's a great opportunity for us. I know we'll have a quality opponent, whoever it is from the Big 12, and the people that he named off are all quality teams. I think all the people there know how I feel about bowl games in general. But it's great for our program. I think it will be something that we really need for our football team, allow us to really work with our young players. I'm thrilled to have the opportunity to go to San Antonio and play in the Alamo Bowl.

Q: Are you happy to know now rather than having to wait until the weekend, or does it not make much of a difference?

Alvarez: No, I'm happy to know right now. I wanted finality in it. I knew we would go…it appeared we would end up in Texas someplace. But now it allows us to make plans. We had all the information on the Alamo Bowl prior, even to this weekend, but just to know that we can go ahead and move forward with it, our players know where they can go, they can make plans after the game and that type thing. So I'm very excited and pleased that we're able to know it now rather than wait until Sunday or Monday.

Q: You mentioned Derrick talked about teams you might face. Did he mention anyone outside of Colorado or Kansas State?

Alvarez: He did. He mentioned Colorado, Oklahoma, Kansas State and possibly Texas Tech. He mentioned all four teams.

Q: If Oklahoma wins the Big 12 championship game, would you expect to see Colorado?

Alvarez: He indicated, and a lot depends on what the Holiday Bowl would want to do, but if Oklahoma would win, it appeared as though he felt Colorado would be the team.

Q: How would you feel about that matchup?

Alvarez: You know what? I'm just excited about going to the bowl game. I'm happy for our players and the opportunity that it gives us. We really don't have anything to do with who our opponent would be. I know it will be a quality opponent. I know we'll have our work cut out for us. So I really don't even want to comment on who it would be. Do I have druthers? No. I just, whoever we're going to play, we'll play them, we'll prepare…we've played a number of good teams already and we know we'll play a good team. So when we find out, we'll prepare for it. I'd really hold back on how I feel about any individual team.

Q: Outside of playing Texas Tech, you will probably be a decided underdog. If that happens, does that give the team an opportunity to make a statement about where this team is and its progression?

Alvarez: Well it would give you that opportunity, certainly. We've been in that position before. It wasn't long ago we were labeled the worst team ever to represent the Big Ten in the Rose Bowl against a team that thought they should be in the national championship game. So we've been in that role before. We've been in the favorites role before in bowl games. It really doesn't make any difference. It just gives us an opportunity, because with the majority of those teams we would be an underdog and that's okay. That's why you play bowl games, to get an intersectional matchup and give us an opportunity to play a different style. I'm just excited about our extra preparation and the extra work we can have with our players.

Q: Because this game is in Texas, does that help your recruiting in that part of the country?

Alvarez: It does. It gives you a little more exposure. Just thinking back to Dan McCarney, really focusing on Texas when they went to the Big 12, just because they're on TV and people know in his case, who Iowa State was. I think the fact that we will be down there, playing there, just makes us a little more familiar with some of those people. We have two coaches in Texas now where in the past we've had one. So I certainly think that could help us in recruiting. I happen to be scheduled to be in Texas next week recruiting, so I'll just work my schedule around…I have to be at a press conference in San Antonio on Thursday but I was already scheduled to be in Texas on Monday, the majority of the week. So it can help us.

Q: Is it hard to justify in your eyes that this team deserves to be in this bowl?

Alvarez: I don't worry about that at all. It seems to be something you guys want to write about, and you guys seem to focus on that. But I knew what the rules were going in. If we won seven games, we were going to be bowl eligible and we were going to go to a bowl. So I knew the rules beforehand. I don't worry about it, I don't think about it, I don't try to justify anything. I know we're bowl-worthy. I don't really worry much about that. That's just talk that doesn't make much difference to us. We knew the rules beforehand.

Q: Has your staff been doing a lot of recruiting since the end of the season?

Alvarez: Well we went out, we had a few days left of evaluation before Thanksgiving. We took advantage of every day that we could. We had two days left I think of evaluation, before Thanksgiving. We used them. Sunday was the first day we could go into homes and see players face-to-face and have home visits. We can have seven (coaches) on the road and we have taken full advantage of that. So yes, we've been recruiting. We're just going by the calendar and doing what we normally do.

Q: What did the non-conference schedule meant to you in getting to this point?

Alvarez: Well obviously it gave us five wins and we played some different styles of teams. I think you see some quality opponents in there. I think you take a look at West Virginia now, a nine-win team. Northern Illinois is an excellent football team. I thought that when we played them. I thought Arizona was close to being a very good football team. They thought they were a very good team when they came in to play us. But it gave us an opportunity to play different styles from different parts of the country, and more importantly we were able to get five wins in the non-conference. Let me throw UNLV in that mix, because they are a dangerous team. I think Colorado State found that out the other day. All five of the non-conference games that we played are teams that certainly, potentially could have beaten us had we not played well. Fresno State is going to bowl game and I think they were a little stronger when they played us. They had their quarterback and (Bernard) Berrian, the good receiver. I don't think those guys have played since our game. So we played a good, quality non-conference schedule and had the experience of different types of schemes and different types of football that we had to prepare for.

Q: Do you think the non-conference schedule made the difference in getting to a bowl?

Alvarez: It did because we won all five of them. Obviously had we not, we would not have been in this game.

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