Where will Oklahoma State play in a bowl?
The Cowboys had a shot at the Big 12 Championship Saturday night but fell to No. 3 Oklahoma 58-23 in Stillwater.
The new AP rankings have OSU at No. 14, TCU at No. 11 and Baylor at No. 12. If those rankings hold true (Baylor still has one game left against lowly Texas), OSU presumably would be the fourth seeded team behind OU, TCU and Baylor.
Nothing is sure until next Sunday but it looks like OU will be in the national playoff in the Cotton Bowl. The next best spot would be in the Sugar Bowl (Big 12 versus the Southeastern Conference) and it would seem that TCU would get that bid.
That would perhaps put the Cowboys in the Alamo Bowl in San Antonio on January 2 in San Antonio or in the Russell Athletic Bowl in Orlando on December 29.
The Alamo Bowl pits the Big 12 against the Pac-12 and the Russell Athletic Bowl is the Big 12 vs. the Atlantic Coast Conference (or Notre Dame).
Nearby San Antonio would be a boost to Cowboy fans but a winter bowl trip to Orlando might draw a good crowd, too.
The Big 12 also has ties to the AdvoCare V100 Texas Bowl (Big 12 vs. SEC in Houston on December 29), the Liberty Bowl (Big 12 vs. SEC in Memphis on January 2), the Cactus Bowl (Big 12 vs. Pac-12 in Phoenix on January 2) and the Heart of Dallas Bowl (Big 12 vs. Conference USA in Dallas on December 26). The Peach Bowl is also a possibility in Atlanta on December 31.
After going 10-0 to start the season, the Cowboys faded with back-to-back losses to OU and Baylor. But a lot of teams around the nation would love to have 10 wins and a shot at a good bowl trip.
“Looking at the big picture, we’re very blessed to be in this position,” said OSU linebacker Seth Jacobs. “A lot of people around the country don’t get to say that they’re in a bowl game or that they’re 10-2, and looking at it overall, we’re not happy with how it came out tonight, but we had a good season.”
Still, a 35-point loss at home in Bedlam when the Big 12 title is on the line is a bitter pill.
“I was disappointed because the score will take away some from the players and what they were able to accomplish this year,” OSU coach Mike Gundy said Saturday night after the loss to OU. “Both teams we lost to were ranked in the top 10 in the country so I don’t want them to forget that. I felt like we could have played better tonight. I didn’t feel like our plan, coaching-wise, was the best either. Sometimes that happens. Sometimes they don’t work as good as you don’t want them to, and it’s just not fun. It happens, and it’s the unfortunate part about what we do. I don’t want to take anything away from the players and what they were able to accomplish this year. They have brought a lot to us, and they continue to build this program.”
Oklahoma State defensive coordinator Glenn Spencer said the Bedlam loss will take awhile to heal – even though OSU overachieved and won 10 games.
“Maybe down the road we can reflect on that, but right now we can’t,” Spencer said. “Right now, it’s just anger, disappointment, hurt for the kids that we didn’t give a better showing, especially for those seniors. We’ll reflect on that later, just not now.”
With the Cowboy’s hurry-up offense, the OSU defense had to play a lot of snaps because the offense scored so quickly. Fatigue sets in eventually.
“That was the fear,” Spencer said. “I’ve said that all week. Everybody that has played (OU) has probably had their highest missed tackle total of everybody they played. Between the two running backs and (Baker) Mayfield, they’re good players. I’m disappointed. I hoped we would’ve tackled better, but it was evident that they’re strong and they broke tackles.”
OSU cornerback Kevin Peterson, a senior, doesn’t want the year to end with three straight losses.
“I’m just going to prepare,” Peterson said. “We have to be prepared to not lose again. We lost the last two, and we never want to go out like that. Last year we won our last two so we just have to go back and figure out the mistakes we made and correct them and battle back for the bowl game.”
Cowboy quarterback J.W. Walsh started and played most of the way due to an injury suffered by starter Mason Rudolph. It was his first start since the second game of the 2014 season.
Walsh hit 11 of 15 passes for 122 yards in the first quarter and ended with 325 passing yards.
Walsh accounted for at least one touchdown in every game this season. He added two passing scores against OU to bring his season total to 11 passing and 11 rushing scores.
“We like J.W., and we like what he brings to the table,” said Gundy. “We felt comfortable with what he could do for us offensively. As I said earlier, they had some big plays, and we looked tired. That’s my fault. I’ve got to do a better job of managing our players’ bodies and giving them a chance to play harder. We looked tired on the kickoff they returned, and there were a number of times when their backs bounced off of our guys. We hadn’t really seen that much this year. I don’t want to take away from those guys, though. They’re good players.
“During the week, we felt like J.W. needed to play more. We didn’t really feel that Mason [Rudolph] was healthy enough to play the game at full speed and protect himself. We gave J.W. most of the reps, and we felt like that was the best way to go. Then we tried to make a little change there, and in my opinion, Mason wasn’t really that comfortable with throwing the football. It didn’t work out for us.”
“Obviously Mason (Rudolph) wasn’t 100 percent so we had to do what is best for the team, and J.W. (Walsh) being 100 percent was our best shot today and that’s what we decided to do,” said OSU offensive coordinator Mike Yurcich. “I thought he played pretty well.”
James Washington hauled in a 72-yard touchdown catch in the second quarter. Washington entered the game leading the nation with three TD catches of at least 70 yards. Washington finished with 169 receiving yards, marking his fifth 100-yard receiving game this season.