It has been 13 years since the Wildcats have won back-to-back bowl games and with the Sunday announcement of the team’s trip to San Antonio, the opportunity to end the streak has been presented.
On Friday, Jan. 2, K-State (9-3, 7-2) will face UCLA (9-3, 6-3 Pac-12) in the Valero Alamo Bowl – the third game between the two schools in the last five years.
“It is the most prestigious bowl from the Big 12 perspective,” K-State Athletics Director John Currie said in a school conference call. “We certainly have outstanding partners, whether it was the Alamo Bowl or the Russell Athletic Bowl, it was going to be a significant reward for our student-athletes. This is a 65,000-seat climate-controlled venue (Alamodome) that will have two very, highly-ranked teams, both of whom were in the national spotlight this year and both of whom have tremendous players.”
This will be the fifth-straight bowl game that K-State has played in, which most recently includes appearance in the Fiesta and Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl in the last two seasons.
“The selection to the Valero Alamo Bowl provides a fitting end to a very successful season for our football team,” President Kirk Schulz said in a K-State Athletics release. “We are confident the K-State family will follow tradition and bring the purple to San Antonio. Congratulations to Coach Snyder, his staff and our hard-working student-athletes for this postseason honor.”
To head coach Bill Snyder, having the opportunity to reaching double-digit victories is a worthwhile goal that the university and program should be excited about.
“We are proud of the young men in our program and very pleased to represent the Big 12 Conference in the Valero Alamo Bowl,” Snyder said in the release. “Our team still has a chance to accomplish something special this season and finish the year with 10 victories. The Alamo Bowl is a first-class bowl organization and we appreciate Derrick Fox and the entire bowl staff for their efforts and support of college football.”
It has been 16 years since the Wildcats have played in the Alamo Bowl and they will hope to form better memories in San Antonio. They fell to Purdue 36-35 on Dec. 29, 1998 after losing the Big 12 title game to Texas A&M; and a shot to play for a national championship.
Snyder reflected on the more positive memories of the trip in the Sunday afternoon conference call.
“We were well-received the previous time and I think they do a wonderful job down there,” Snyder said. “They really care for the young people in our program. There are a lot of opportunities for them to experience new things. The community was very receptive as well.”
The Bruins are coming off of a surprising loss to Stanford that kept them away from an opportunity to play in the Pac-12 championship game. However, they had won five-straight games leading into the regular season finale against the Cardinals. That list includes a 38-20 victory over No. 24 USC.
“When you consider that the Valero Alamo Bowl has produced a number of the most-watched non-BCS Bowl Games in its broadcast partner’s history, we can’t wait to get on the field at the Alamodome, compete every down against a tremendous Kansas State team and fight for our second consecutive 10-win season,” UCLA head coach Jim Mora said in a released statement from the university.
With their 38-27 loss to No. 5 Baylor last Saturday, the opportunity to jump into a New Year’s Eve or New Year’s Day bowl game slipped away from K-State. The top four bowl games outside of the College Football Playoff are also selected by the hand-selected committee.
Big 12 conference foes Baylor and TCU are within the group that will be playing on those days, with their games coming against Michigan State and Ole Miss, respectively.
“We were very close,” Currie said. “Obviously we saw that the committee had us at No. 11. We were the next one out, essentially. It is what it is. I think our team has proven themselves with a lot of great victories this year. We played five road games in our league, which is something very few teams do nationally.”