No. 20 Texas, Colorado renew rivalry in Alamo Bowl

Field Level Media

December 22, 2020 at 10:47 pm.

Upstart Colorado and No. 20 Texas, two teams with different expectations entering the 2020 season, will look to end the COVID-19-influenced campaign in style when they square off in the Alamo Bowl on Dec. 29 in San Antonio.

The Longhorns will play in the Alamo Bowl for the fifth time and second straight year, while Colorado will appear in the postseason game for the third time and first since losing to Oklahoma State in 2016.

Texas (6-3, 5-3 in Big 12 play) came into the season with an experienced and talented team that was expected to challenge for the Big 12 Conference title. But the Longhorns were derailed by early-season losses to TCU and Oklahoma and dropped a crucial game to Iowa State on the day after Thanksgiving that kept them out of the Big 12 championship game.

Still, Texas won four of its last five contests, including a 69-31 road win over Kansas State on Dec. 5 in its most recent outing. That stretch also included a road win over then-No. 6 Oklahoma State, which marked Texas’ first road victory over a top-10 opponent since 2010.

The Longhorns were supposed to play a rescheduled game at Kansas on Dec. 12 but the game was canceled because of positive COVID tests in the Texas program.

“Obviously, for us, it’s a return trip, and I know our kids will be excited, regardless of the circumstances that 2020 has thrown everyone’s way,” Texas coach Tom Herman said. “We are honored and proud to be a part of it, and I know we will definitely have our hands full.”

The Alamo Bowl marks the 57th all-time bowl appearance for the Longhorns, the second-most in the country behind only Alabama. It is the fourth-straight year Texas has appeared in a bowl game under Herman, with the Longhorns winning each of the first three.

“It will be bittersweet, but I’m going to savor every last practice, every last minute I have with this great group of seniors,” Herman said. “Most of them came in when we took this program over and have been great models of leadership for our team and our university.”

The Buffaloes were the surprise team of the Pac-12 this season and made the most out of their limited opportunities, finishing the regular season with a 4-1 mark, and 3-1 in league play for a second-place finish in the South Division.

With a roster that sports only a handful of seniors and a long list of underclassmen who earned valuable playing time, the bowl bid serves as another validation of what coach Karl Dorrell, who was not hired until February, is building in Boulder.

“We feel like our program’s on the rise,” Dorrell said. “We’re trying to get better week after week and keep improving the depth of our team with our freshmen and sophomores that are playing. This has really been an extra bonus year for us to build a foundation in our program. It was just another step.”

The Buffaloes head to San Antonio after losing their final game of the regular season 38-21 at home to Utah on Dec. 12. Colorado was set to play Oregon on Dec. 19 but that game was cancelled after the Ducks were elevated into the league’s championship after COVID issues kept Washington from playing in the title game.

Once conference foes in the Big 12, Texas and Colorado will face off for the 19th time in school history and for the first time since 2009. The Longhorns will be the first ranked opponent the Buffaloes will play in 2020.

“We’re looking forward to extending the fruits of our labor from what we’ve done so far this year,” Dorrell said. “To be able to play this game and celebrate the game of football and particularly postseason — it’s fun to be a part of that. We’re very, very thankful for the opportunity to play.”