Texas home for holidays this bowl season

Monday, December 4th 2006, 6:36 am
By: News On 6

Texas gets to stay home for the holidays, and still play in a bowl game.

Without a chance to defend their national championship after consecutive losses, the Longhorns (9-3) on Sunday accepted an invitation to play in the Dec. 30 Alamo Bowl against slumping Iowa (6-6). It will be Texas' first appearance at the bowl in San Antonio, only a 75-mile trip from its campus.

While disappointed in not being able to play in the Bowl Championship Series again, coach Mack Brown doesn't think his players are disappointed to be close to home.

``I think they'll really like it,'' Brown said. ``They'll be around their high school coaches, their friends and family. When you don't finish like you wanted to, it's always great to have that tremendous support.''

Texas finished the regular season with losses against Kansas State and Texas A&M. The Longhorns didn't even make it into the Big 12 title game after winning the Rose Bowl the past two years, including over USC in January for the national title.

Next year's Big 12 championship game is at the Alamodome.

Texas Tech (7-5) found out its bowl destination Sunday, against Minnesota (6-6) in the Insight Bowl on Dec. 29 in Tempe, Ariz.

Six Texas teams will be in bowl games, but the other four knew where they would play before Sunday.

_ No. 25 TCU (10-2) is playing in the first of the 32 bowl games this season, against Northern Illinois in the Poinsettia Bowl at San Diego on Dec. 19.

_ Texas A&M (9-3) will play in the same stadium nine days later, representing the Big 12 against California in the Holiday Bowl.

_ Rice (7-5) will make its first bowl appearance since 1961 in the New Orleans Bowl on Dec. 22, against Troy.

_ Conference USA champion Houston (11-3) plays South Carolina in the Liberty Bowl at Memphis on Dec. 29. The Gamecocks are making their second straight bowl appearance for Steve Spurrier, the first South Carolina coach to take his first two teams to bowl games.

Texas Tech will make its seventh bowl appearance in seven seasons under coach Mike Leach. It is the Red Raiders' 30th overall.

``The Insight Bowl is a great bowl in a great location that provides a great matchup with the Big 12 and Big Ten conferences,'' Leach said.

Minnesota, with a three-game winning streak, will be appearing in its fifth consecutive bowl game.

Texas still doesn't know the status of injured quarterback Colt McCoy, who suffered a severely pinched nerve in the final seconds of the 12-7 loss to Texas A&M.

``We're going to leave that up to the doctors,'' offensive coordinator Greg Davis said Sunday. ``If they say he can play 100 percent, then we'll go from there. He has made great progress to this point and we'll continue to evaluate the situation.''

Without McCoy, the Longhorns wouldn't have an experienced quarterback. Backup quarterback Jevan Sneed has decided to transfer and is no longer on the team.

Iowa finished in ninth place in the Big Ten, losing its last three games and five of its last six. The Hawkeyes are playing in their fourth Alamo Bowl, their first since 2001 when they beat Texas Tech 19-16.

No Texas teams are playing in the other bowl games in the state: the Cotton (Auburn vs. Nebraska), Sun (Missouri vs. Oregon State), Texas (Rutgers vs. Kansas State) and Armed Forces (Tulsa vs. Utah).

_ Nebraska (9-4) is playing in a January game for the first time in five seasons. The New Year's Day game will be only the Cornhuskers' fourth Cotton Bowl _ and first since 1980.

Auburn (10-2) will play in its third straight January game, but only its second Cotton Bowl. The Tigers lost to Texas A&M in the 1986 game at Dallas.

_ Missouri (8-4) is making back-to-back bowl appearances for the first time since 1997-98 when it plays in the Dec. 29 Sun Bowl at El Paso.

No. 24 Oregon State (9-4) was invited last week, then wrapped up its regular season with a 35-32 win at Hawaii on Saturday night to get ranked for the first time in three years.

_ Kansas State (7-5) will make it first postseason trip in three years against No. 16 Rutgers (10-2), which missed the Big East's automatic BCS berth because of a triple-overtime loss to West Virginia on Saturday night. The Texas Bowl is Dec. 28 in Houston.

_ Tulsa (8-4) will make its third bowl appearance in four seasons under coach Steve Kragthorpe in the Dec. 23 Armed Forces Bowl on the TCU campus in Fort Worth against Utah (7-5). The Utes are in their fourth straight bowl.