Colorado accepted an invitation to play Alabama in the Independence Bowl, the Buffaloes' first postseason game under coach Dan Hawkins.
The game will be played Dec. 30 in Shreveport, La. It's the only bowl game being held on the final Sunday of the NFL's regular season.
Colorado (6-6) became bowl eligible with a 65-51 win over Nebraska in its final game of the season. The Crimson Tide (6-6) limp into the game on a four-game skid.
"This is an important game for us, and it's a privilege to be matched against a school with as rich a tradition as Alabama," Hawkins said Sunday in a statement.
Alabama was in the Independence Bowl last season, losing 34-31 to Oklahoma State on a late field goal.
The bowl committee selected Alabama over South Carolina, a team that finished 6-6 after losing its final five games.
"Colorado and Alabama is a great matchup for us," bowl chairman Joe Darwin said in a conference call Sunday night. "It's very appealing."
Alabama coach Nick Saban said he's looking forward to returning to Louisiana. Saban led LSU to a national championship before leaving for the Miami Dolphins following the 2004 season.
"It's not really an issue or a problem for us," said Saban, who spent two seasons in Miami before accepting the Alabama position last January. "It's a great opportunity for our seniors to try to change the tide of how the season ended and go out on a winning note."
Colorado has faced Alabama twice before in bowl games, beating the Crimson Tide in the 1969 Liberty Bowl and losing in the 1991 Blockbuster Bowl.
Buffaloes defensive end Alonzo Barrett is excited for the chance to play the Tide. He is the lone player from the state of Alabama on the Colorado roster.
"I think it's kind of icing on the cake," Barrett said. "It will let me play against a lot of guys I haven't seen in a while."
The Buffaloes' roller-coaster season included a 27-24 win over Oklahoma. Oklahoma won the Big 12 championship and is headed to the Fiesta Bowl. Colorado also went through a late stretch where it dropped four of five games.
"We've had some good moments," Hawkins said on a conference call. "We've stubbed our toe against some teams."
Hawkins welcomes the opportunity to face the Crimson Tide in a bowl game.
"They have a great program, great coach, great tradition," he said. "We're fired up."
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