Dec. 5, 2010
The University of Arizona football team will face the nation's No. 1 offensive unit in the Valero Alamo Bowl Dec. 29 in San Antonio.
UA (7-5) takes on a tremendous challenge in the No. 16-rated Cowboys (10-2), who tied for the Big 12 South at 6-2 but missed out on the Big 12 title game with a season-ending loss to co-South squad Oklahoma.
The bowl is played in the 65,000-seat Alamodome in downtown San Antonio. This year's match will be the 18th game in its history.
The Valero Alamo Bowl partnered with the Pac-10 last summer to take the No. 2 pick out of the Pac-10 -- this year made impossible with Oregon's pick for the BCS title game and Stanford selected to play in the Orange Bowl. Arizona, 4-5 in league play for a fifth-place tie, and Washington, 5-4 for a third-place tie, also are bowl eligible with six other league sqauds staying home for the holidays.
"We're honored to represent the university and the Pac-10 in the Valero Alamo Bowl," UA head coach Mike Stoops said. "It's great to be the first league team to play in this first year of the new Alama Bowl affiliation with the conference. Our players are excited to be playing in an outstanding bowl against a quality opponent like Oklahoma State."
Greg Byrne, Arizona director of athletics, said, "The UA is thrilled to be participating in the 2010 Valero Alamo Bowl. We know that with our strong Arizona connections to Texas, as well as a program like OSU on the other side, that there will be a lot of support from the University of Arizona family. It's going to be a great time for the team and all of us connected with the university."
The Cowboys will represent yet another offensive juggernaut to cap a season in which UA faced some of the top offensive squads in November. Oklahoma State is the national leader in total offense at 537.6 yards per game, with the second-ranked passing game at 354 yards per game and a solid rushing attack led by Big 12 leader Kendall Hunter (126 ypg).
But the firepower stems also from first-team All-Big-12 quarterback Brandon Beedon and possible Biletnikoff Award winning receiver Justin Blackmon, the national leader with nearly 10 receptions per game. UA will counter with QB Nick Foles and receiver Juron Criner to put a quartet of explosive players in the matchup.
OSU is currently on a streak of 10 weeks in the AP football poll, whereon it reached as high as No. 9 on Nov. 21. The Cats were ranked nine weeks this year, reaching as high as No. 9 on Oct. 3. UA has not been ranked since its loss at No. 1 Oregon on Nov. 26.
Arizona will be the third Pac-10 team to play in the bowl, with California and Washington State appearing in the first two years of its history. The bowl and Pac-10 officials settled on a new agreement last summer.
Arizona appears in its third consecutive bowl game, matching the best previous string from 1992-94.
The game kicks off at 8 p.m. (CST) on ESPN. UA will commence ticket sales tonight online, and tomorrow through the McKale Center Ticket Office (520-621-2287 or 800-452-CATS).