WESTWOOD—UCLA football officially has a date to the New Year’s bowl bash.
They won’t be competing for a national championship, but on January 2, an Alamo Bowl match-up with 11th-ranked Kansas State will provide the Bruins another platform to showcase their national relevance.
Though embarrassing home losses to conference opponents Oregon, Utah, and Stanford will keep UCLA out of the inaugural college football playoff. At 9-3, UCLA will have an opportunity to secure back-to-back 10-win seasons, an accomplishment the program has pulled-off only twice in its 95-year history.
To do so, 14th-ranked UCLA will have to defeat a Kansas State team eager to secure its own 10-win season.
Like the Bruins, the Wildcats have failed to notch a truly signature win, amassing an impressive nine-win season by feasting on lesser conference opponents. However, unlike UCLA, dominated at home by Oregon, Kansas State suffered a heartbreaking 20-14 loss to then fifth-ranked Auburn, just missing an opportunity to seize a marquee win.
The Wildcats ended their season with a 38-27 loss to now fifth-ranked Baylor, securing their position as the third-place team in the Big 12.
Taking the turf of San Antonio’s Alamodome, both teams will be hungry to prove themselves underachievers, as a strong Alamo Bowl showing could springboard title-contending 2015 campaigns.