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Originally published December 3, 2011 at 10:04 PM | Page modified December 4, 2011 at 3:33 PM

Huskies most likely headed to Alamo Bowl to face Big 12 opponent

Sunday, around 5 p.m., Washington will officially be invited to a bowl game. The announcements will come after the final BCS rankings and pairings are released.

Seattle Times staff reporter

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Steve Sarkisian knows a little bit about where he'll be for the holidays.

"I'm just going to be happy that Christmas morning I'm going to be waking up in a hotel room," he said Saturday. "That's a good thing."

Sunday, around 5 p.m., he'll find out where that hotel will be located as Washington will officially be invited to a bowl game. The announcements will come after the final BCS rankings and pairings are released.

And almost all indications are that UW will be headed to the Alamo Bowl in San Antonio, a game played at 6 p.m. on Dec. 29 against a member of the Big 12.

Washington has been rumored to be heading there since ending its regular season with a 38-21 victory over Washington State. And events of the past few days only further seemed to punch UW's ticket to Texas — specifically, Oregon winning the Pac-12 title and Houston losing the Conference USA title.

Oregon will represent the Pac-12 in the Rose Bowl, while the Houston defeat — knocking Conference USA out of the BCS — seemed to only further assure that Stanford will also be invited to a BCS bowl.

The Alamo has the first pick of Pac-12 teams following the BCS, and would have had to take Oregon or Stanford if either were available. Now, it will almost certainly be left with UW, California or Utah as its options, and every indication is that the Alamo will pick the Huskies.

A Saturday story in the San Antonio Express-News reported UW is "in the driver's seat" to represent the Pac-12 in the game.

Who UW might play is still unclear. The Houston loss may have opened up a second BCS bid for the Big 12 (Kansas State), which could have the Alamo — which has the Big 12's second choice after the Cotton Bowl — choosing between Baylor or Oklahoma.

Sarkisian and UW players said that they had no preference as to bowl or opponent.

"You get to go to a bowl game either way," linebacker Cort Dennison said.

And as a fifth-year senior who first arrived in 2007 and has ridden a rollercoaster in his time at Washington, Dennison is just happy to be going somewhere.

"Especially a lot of the older guys, we don't take anything for granted," he said. "We've been through the lowest of low, so we know what it feels like. Getting an opportunity to play in a special game like a bowl game, we cherish that."

The bowl will be the second straight for UW after a seven-year drought that was snapped with a 19-7 win over Nebraska in the Holiday Bowl in San Diego.

Should the Alamo pass on UW, the Huskies would likely return to San Diego.

"Our work is done, it's out of our hands," Sarkisian said, "and whichever bowl decides they want us to be part of we will gladly embrace that."

Notes

• A Los Angeles Times columnist wrote Saturday that UCLA should pursue Sarkisian to fill its head-coaching vacancy. There have been no reports linking Sarkisian to the job, however. And asked after Saturday's practice if he would be interested, Sarkisian said "nah," and continued to say: "I think this is the best way to start this, because hopefully we can continue to be successful here and those rumors and different things come about and I can start now and say I can't talk about 'what if's' and 'speculations,' and so I'm not that concerned about it."

• Practices Saturday and Sunday are being largely devoted to the team's younger players, giving many of the veterans more rest time. UW will also take off most of next week before again returning to the field next weekend to begin preparation for the bowl.

• Among those limited is quarterback Keith Price, continuing to deal with seasonlong knee issues.

Price said his goal this weekend is to "just rest and stay locked into practice. I still have to practice a little bit, so I'll try to be perfect with the limited snaps that I get."

Bob Condotta: 206-515-5699 or bcondotta@seattletimes.com.

On Twitter @bcondotta

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