Still defending the Alamo: Texas headed back to San Antonio to battle Colorado
Longhorns making their third appearance in San Antonio since 2012 as Tom Herman shoots for 4-0 postseason record
Texas’ postseason destination has usually boiled down to two places in recent years — San Antonio or Houston. This year, it’s the Alamo Bowl again.
No. 20 Texas (6-3) will face Colorado (4-1) in the Alamo Bowl at 8 p.m. on Dec. 29 at the Alamodome.
Teams all over the country have decided to opt out of the postseason, citing COVID-19 fatigue and contact tracing as the primary reasons. The Longhorns have dealt with that all season, too. Their regular-season finale was also scrapped because of Big 12 protocols.
But UT coach Tom Herman said last week that his team was likely all-in on a postseason appearance, wherever it may be. For the history books, it's worth noting the Horns finished 20th in the final College Football Playoff rankings.
“These guys are competitors,” Herman said during an Alamo Bowl teleconference. “Any time you tell them you’re going to go play a game, they’re going to be extremely excited.”
Alamo Bowl officials can’t be too excited about getting Texas, though. The Longhorns upset No. 11 Utah 38-10 last season in the Alamodome. Typically, bowl officials loathe having the same team two years in a row. They like different teams for variety.
But once USC, the projected Pac-12 opponent, opted out of the postseason, Alamo officials needed a big name for TV purposes.
Texas holds an 11-7 all-time record over Colorado. The two teams have not met since 2009 when the Buffaloes were still in the Big 12. Most fans still remember the 70-3 demolition administered in the 2005 Big 12 championship game as the Horns were on their way to the national title.
The Horns have won five straight in the series and seven of the last eight dating back to 2000.
Texas will be without some key personnel, though. Five team captains have opted out to start preparing for the NFL draft — left tackle Samuel Cosmi, defensive end Joseph Ossai, safety Caden Sterns, defensive tackle Ta’Quon Graham and safety Chris Brown. Senior center Derek Kerstetter, another captain, suffered a season-ending foot injury at Kansas State.
That leaves senior quarterback Sam Ehlinger as the only captain that will be available for the Horns.
“I think we’re all excited to send him out, or attempt to send him out, and all the seniors that will be leaving our program with another bowl victory,” Herman said.
The Horns had some good personnel news recently, too. Cornerbacks D’Shawn Jamison and Josh Thompson along with senior tight end Cade Brewer have all announced they plan on returning in 2021.
Colorado’s shortened season was the result of the Pac-12’s late start due to the pandemic. Coach Karl Dorrell’s club beat UCLA, Stanford, San Diego State and Arizona to climb into the Associated Press Top 25 rankings. Then, Colorado lost to Utah on Dec. 12.
While other Pac-12 programs decided to skip the postseason, Dorrell said, “I think our players felt like they were ready to play another game. We’re just a growing program. We’re trying to get better week after week.”
Dorrell said he can’t overstate the importance of playing a game in front of fans. All Colorado games have been played with no fans. “I think it’s a great reward for everyone in a number of circumstances,” he said.
“We’re excited for the change of scenery,” Dorrell added. “We’ve got some Texas kids on our team that I think are excited about getting home and getting their families involved. It should be a great experience for us.
This will be the Horns’ third appearance in the Alamo Bowl since 2012. Texas has played in the Texas Bowl in 2014 and 2017. The school has made only one out-of-state bowl trip since the 2011 Holiday Bowl, the Sugar Bowl to cap the 2018 season.
Texas coach Tom Herman has a 3-0 record in postseason games at UT. One of those came at the Texas Bowl in Houston (2017) and the Alamo Bowl last season.