In his first season at the helm of the University of Colorado football team, Karl Dorrell has led the Buffs back to the Valero Alamo Bowl where the Buffs will play in their first postseason bowl game in four years on Dec. 29. The last time CU competed for a bowl game title was in 2016 when they were the Pac-12 runner-ups following a conference championship loss to Washington. The Buffs’ subsequent destination was San Antonio, Texas in the 2016 Alamo Bowl, where they suffered a 38-8 loss to Oklahoma State.
Colorado’s opponent at the Alamodome this year will be the University of Texas Longhorns; a former Big 12 rival prior to the Buffs’ departure for the Pac-12 in 2011. The Longhorns enter the matchup 6-3 overall thanks to the Big 12 starting its season several weeks prior to the Pac-12.
The Buffs’ return to the Alamo Bowl is historical for the Colorado football program. Dorrell, who was hired in February following the unexpected departure of former head coach Mel Tucker, becomes the first coach in CU football history to lead a team to the postseason in his first year.
The opportunity to play in the Alamo Bowl this year arose for the Buffs when the Pac-12 runner-up USC Trojans collectively opted out of playing a bowl game. CU was forced to watch the Pac-12 championship game from Boulder last week without a game to play when the Oregon Ducks filled in for a COVID-hampered Washington Huskies. It was a strange end to the regular season for Colorado, who ended the regular season with a better national ranking and conference record than the Ducks.
In a press conference following the official announcement of the Alamo Bowl on Sunday, Dorrell was quick to praise his team for their perseverance under such unprecedented circumstances.
“This team has been very resilient with dealing with a new coach that they didn’t know,” Dorrell said. “We had to endure over the course of the offseason of just preparing to play in any way, shape or form.”
Dorrell noted that for the CU players, the Alamo Bowl would also provide a unique opportunity to play in front of a crowd this season. Following the Buffs’ first game against UCLA, where just over 500 people attended, fans were forbidden for the rest of the season.
“I don’t want to understate the importance of playing in a bowl game and having your family members be able to watch,” Dorrell said. “This is going to be a reward for our players and for their families to have a chance to be involved.”
The Buffs’ head coach also said that CU carries 22 players from Texas including senior wide receiver K.D. Nixon, freshman wide receiver La’Vontae Shenault, freshman cornerback Christian Gonzalez and standout sophomore running back Jarek Broussard.
In regards to whether CU considered forgoing playing in the postseason, like USC did, Dorrell insisted that the Buffs were excited for the opportunity, especially in the wake of how the Pac-12 championship played out.
“As soon as we were supposed to be a runner-up for our conference championship, our players felt like they were ready to play another game,” Dorrell said. “We just wanted to finish the season with the fruits of our labor being rewarded”.
The Valero Alamo Bowl is set to be played on Tuesday, Dec. 29 at 7 p.m. MST in San Antonio, TX.
Contact CU Independent Staff Writer Kieran Murphy at email@example.com.