Cowboys intrigued by possible SEC foe as they play for bowl positioning
BY JIMMIE TRAMEL World Sports Writer
Saturday, December 01, 2012
12/01/12 at 4:48 AM
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First things first: Oklahoma State must play a regular-season finale at Baylor.
But, if the Cowboys had their choice of bowl opponents, who would they select?
Offensive tackle Parker Graham paused to give the question some thought and said, "Maybe an SEC team, just because they are the best conference in the nation and I love playing those kind of power teams, just like a Texas or an Oklahoma."
Is that possible?
Only one non-BCS bowl is scheduled to match a Big 12 team and an SEC team against each other. And that's the Cotton Bowl. That bowl, plus the Alamo Bowl and the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl, are considered to be postseason options for the Cowboys.
You can't blame Graham for wanting a crack at an SEC team. It's an opportunity OSU didn't get last season, when the Cowboys finished third in pre-bowl BCS standings behind two SEC teams - LSU and Alabama - who happened to get better grades in college football's beauty pageant.
Could an OSU offense with two first-round NFL draft picks (Brandon Weeden, Justin Blackmon) have gotten the best of an SEC defense in last season's BCS championship game? Fans will have to settle for arguing about it because the Cowboys played themselves out of the BCS title game with a late-season loss to Iowa State.
But what if OSU was matched against an SEC team in a bowl this season?
"That would be nice, to see what they are like - to see what the defenses are really like," guard Lane Taylor said.
Of course, the Cowboys know what Big 12 offenses are like, and they'll get another dose Saturday.
Baylor ranks second nationally in total offense (575.5 yards per game), third in passing (358.5), fifth in scoring (44.4) and sixth in first downs (28.3).
"Our plan is try to slow them down some," OSU coach Mike Gundy said. "I don't know that anybody has been able to stop them. They played, I think TCU, and they turned the ball over six times and they didn't score as many points. But, other than that, it has been a track meet."
The Baylor game represents a chance for OSU to audition one last time for the best possible bowl.
Gundy doesn't get caught up in bowl speculation, at least publicly, but acknowledged that trips to Dallas, San Antonio and Phoenix are on the table.
"I've been lucky enough to coach in all three bowls, and you can't go wrong," he said.
"We would like to win the last game and then wherever they send us, they send us. We'll be excited about that and we'll support it. Past that, for us, for me as a coach, it's kind of a waste of oxygen (to talk about it) because they're all great opportunities for us."
If Parker's wish is granted and OSU finds itself in a bowl against an SEC team ...
"They are probably going to say you are not going to beat them," he said.
"And we love proving people wrong at this university."
No. 24 OSU at Baylor
11 a.m. Saturday
Floyd Casey Stadium, Waco, Texas
Radio: KFAQ am1170
Original Print Headline: Cowboys play for best bowl possible
Jimmie Tramel 918-581-8389
OSU's Joseph Randle finds a hole against OU in Norman last week. Randle and the Cowboys are playing for bowl positioning Saturday. STEPHEN PINGRY/Tulsa World
OSU's Joseph Randle is caught by Arizona defenders during their Alamo Bowl game on Dec. 29, 2010, in San Antonio. A return to San Antonio is possible for OSU this postseason. MICHAEL WYKE/ Tulsa World file