Monday, December 26, 2011
OSU has plenty to play for in Fiesta Bowl
By David Ubben
Brandon Weeden hadn't watched the TV broadcast of his finest moment since it happened: A thorough, 44-10 undressing of rival Oklahoma, which had tormented Oklahoma State for eight consecutive years -- with the previous two Sooners victories even coming as underdogs.
But nearly three weeks after an epic evening in Stillwater, the Cowboys quarterback sat down to take it all back in. His assessment?
Quarterback Brandon Weeden says Oklahoma State isn't satisfied with its first conference title.
"Satisfying as hell," he said.
Weeden and his teammates, though, are far from satisfied.
"We’ve accomplished things no one’s ever done here," Weeden said of his fellow seniors. "We’ve won 10, won 11, won a conference championship. We've done a lot of things, and one thing we still haven’t done is win 12 and win a BCS bowl game, so there’s still a lot of feats that we’d like to go out on and go out on a high."
Some like to believe that the team that wants to play in its bowl game more wins its bowl game. Oklahoma State's beatdown of Oklahoma opened up the possibility that the Cowboys could jump SEC power Alabama and play LSU, which beat Alabama in its home stadium back in November, for the national title.
Voters didn't oblige the Cowboys, who settled for a Jan. 2 date against Andrew Luck and Stanford in the Fiesta Bowl.
There was disappointment, but it hasn't outweighed the elation from a second consecutive historic season with Weeden at the helm.
The Cowboys are a bit like the kid who asked for a Ferrari for Christmas and found a brand-new Corvette in the driveway.
"Guys were still extremely excited about the opportunity we had," Weeden said. "We’ve never played in the national championship, much less a BCS game, so I think the opportunity just to play in one of the four or five biggest bowl games there is a huge deal and I think guys are extremely excited about it."
Not to mention a great matchup and a team that demands attention, unlike an ugly beatdown Oklahoma delivered against eight-win Big East champion Connecticut in last season's Fiesta.
Oklahoma State will line up against fellow one-loss team Stanford, the nation's No. 4 team and one boasting what will almost certainly be the No. 1 pick in next April's draft, Cardinal quarterback Luck.
"The thrill of winning the Big 12 championship and the thrill of beating Oklahoma, all that went down on the third [of December], there’s nothing to be disappointed about," Weeden said. "We’re going to a heck of a bowl and as much as we wanted to play in the national championship game, we realize this is a sweet bowl as well."
The experienced, senior-laden Cowboys understand that, and those same seniors who have lifted Oklahoma State to new heights know what else is at stake in the Arizona desert.
"You always want to win the last one. That’s the most important. I think there’s still a lot of opportunity ahead for us," Weeden said. "We realize where we’re at, we realize there’s some bowl games that are a lot of fun, but they don’t quite mean as much as what we’re about to play in, we realize it. ... A lot of people are going to be watching. It’s going to be a lot of fun."