#14 Arizona to face #12 Oklahoma in the 2023 Valero Alamo Bowl

--7th Top 20 matchup in 10 years of CFP era--


The #14 Arizona Wildcats will face the #12 Oklahoma Sooners in the 31st annual Valero Alamo Bowl on Dec. 28 at 8:15 p.m. CST in the Alamodome and will broadcast live on ESPN.

This year’s game is the highest ranked matchup outside of the College Football Playoff (CFP)/New Year’s Six and is the 7th time in the last 10 years a Valero Alamo Bowl has featured two Top 20 teams.

Arizona is 9-3 overall and 7-2 in Pac-12 play. Designated as the visiting team and occupying the east sideline, the Wildcats are led by Jedd Fisch who is in his third season as UA head coach. Fisch has led the Wildcats to their first bowl appearance since 2017 and the program’s seventh nine-win season.

Redshirt Freshman quarterback Noah Fifita ranks second in the Pac-12 in completion percentage (73.6%) and third in pass efficiency (167.5) in his first full collegiate season. Fifita also ranks sixth in the nation in total quarterback rating (85.5). 

Fisch approaches this year’s matchup with plenty of bowl game experience of his own. Despite spending 13 years on NFL coaching staffs, Fisch has coached in six bowl games, with one of those appearances as a head coach in 2017 when his UCLA Bruins played in the Cactus Bowl against Kansas State.

The Sooners enter the game with a 10-2 overall record and a 7-2 mark in Big 12 play. Designated as the home team and occupying the west sideline, the Sooners are led by second-year head coach Brent Venables, who leads a program that ranks third nationally by averaging 43.2 points per game and fifth in the country by averaging 502.4 yards per game.

Sooners quarterback Dillon Gabriel has accounted for 42 touchdowns this season to lead the Big 12 Conference. Gabriel also ranks fourth in the nation in total offense (336.4 YPG) and total points responsible for (252).

Venables, having served as a coach in the 1998 Builders Square Alamo Bowl with Kansas State, will be coaching in the 33rd bowl game of his career and just his second as a head coach. His previous post-season experience includes three national championships (one with Oklahoma, two with Clemson). Venables led Oklahoma to an improved record in his second season, having gone 6-7 overall in 2022.

Both programs will be playing in the Valero Alamo Bowl for only the second time in their history. Arizona previously played in the 2010 bowl game versus Oklahoma State, losing 38-10 as the Cowboys and quarterback Brandon Weeden outdueled the Wildcats and QB Nick Foles.

Oklahoma’s only other Valero Alamo Bowl appearance came in 2021 when it defeated Oregon 47-32 in an offensive shootout.  The Sooners also played in the Alamodome for the 2007 Big 12 Championship, upsetting #1-ranked Missouri 38-17.

Arizona and Oklahoma played each other on two previous occasions. The series is split 1-1 between the two teams, with Oklahoma winning the first matchup 28-10 in 1988 in Norman and Arizona winning 6-3 the following year in Tucson.

Fisch and Venables will be on Valero Alamo Bowl’s YouTube channel at 4 p.m. CST today to make introductory statements and briefly talk about their programs but not taking media questions. The coaches will then be in San Antonio on Thursday, December 7 and available in person and Zoom for questions. The tentative media schedule is here: https://www.alamobowl.com/media/media-schedule-information/

About the Valero Alamo Bowl

The Valero Alamo Bowl was created in 1993 to bring enjoyment to San Antonians, South Texans, and visitors alike while creating positive economic impact, experiences and national attention for our community and participating universities.

The organization has produced 30 bowl games and served as the local host for 11 neutral site games. The 30 Alamo Bowl games have combined to deliver $1 billion in total economic impact to San Antonio, 156 million viewers, 1.70 million attendees to the Alamodome and $143 million to higher education through team payouts and local scholarships.

The 2023 Valero Alamo Bowl will be played at the Alamodome in San Antonio on Thursday, December 28. Kickoff time will be 8:15 p.m. CST. Tickets are now on sale at https://www.alamobowl.com/

This is the tenth year of the Bowl’s partnership with the Big 12 and Pac-12 conferences to send their top schools outside the CFP to San Antonio. Here are the results from the first nine games:

  • Jan. 2, 2015:  #14 UCLA 40 vs. #11 Kansas State 35
  • Jan. 2, 2016:  #11 TCU 47 vs. #15 Oregon 41 (3OT)
  • Dec. 29, 2016: #12 Oklahoma State 38 vs. #10 Colorado 8
  • Dec. 28, 2017:  #15 TCU 39 vs. #13 Stanford 37
  • Dec. 28, 2018:  #14 Washington State 28 vs. #24 Iowa State 26
  • Dec. 31, 2019: Texas 38 vs. #11 Utah 10
  • Dec. 28, 2020:  #20 Texas 55 vs. Colorado 23
  • Dec. 29, 2021: #16 Oklahoma 47 vs. #14 Oregon 32
  • Dec. 29, 2022: #12 Washington 27 vs #20 Texas 20


To get up-to-the-minute information, follow the Valero Alamo Bowl on Facebook, Instagram, TikTok and Twitter (@valeroalamobowl) or visit https://www.alamobowl.com/media/