The first BCS standings will be released Sunday night (ESPN, 7:15 p.m.) and unbeaten Oklahoma State figures to play prominently in the picture.
Not that Cowboys coach Mike Gundy is paying attention. Not yet.
“Honestly, I didn't even know it was on. Really,” Gundy said. “I just know that when I go home, my boys usually have that on the TV, and they'll start giving me the information about what's going on.
“As a parent, you know how you kind of listen to 'em, but really, you want to get to something else. I don't like to know what's going on, I just like to coach the guys and get them ready for Missouri.”
Three teams – Alabama, LSU and Oklahoma – are generally considered the frontrunners at this point. Still, many projections place the Cowboys, which won Saturday's game at Texas 38-26, at No. 4.
Gundy's belief: just win.
“We'll have a chance to do whatever we want in the BCS,” he said, “because I would guess that two or three teams in the Big 12 and two or three teams in the SEC will control their own destiny.
“So we just have to do the best we can to keep winning games.”
MOVE THE CHAINS
Of the Cowboys' 13 real drives Saturday, seven times they recorded at least one first down. And five of the seven times they scored.
On the other two, OSU punted once and turned the ball over on downs while running the clock in the final minutes.
Quarterback Brandon Weeden considered it a sign of an off-kilter offensive day that never seemed to feature any real rhythm.
“If you look back, if we got a first down, we either scored or kicked a field goal,” Weeden said. “We've got to get first downs.
“It's just a momentum deal. And it's confidence. That first first down is key for us.”
With the Cowboys backed up at their own 1-yard line after a goal-line stand by their defense, Weeden stepped over the back line of the end zone for a safety – the lesser of two evils, since he proceeded to throw an interception returned for a would-be touchdown.
A touchdown would have pulled the Horns within 38-31. Instead, the safety was the final points Texas would get.
“It was a rush of emotions,” said Texas safety Blake Gideon, who had the interception runback. “You are thinking the game is turned around and you just scored a touchdown, but you turn around and everybody stops.
“It's one of those deals where it's a game of inches. He stepped out by a couple inches, so it turned out in a positive way for them.”
RETURN TO SENDER
The second half started with each team striking for touchdowns in the opening 24 seconds – on kickoff returns.
Justin Gilbert raced officially 100 yards as the Cowboys received the kickoff to start the half, taking the ball out of the end zone. Moments later, Fozzy Whitaker did the same for the Longhorns.
Did the Cowboys let down?
“I'd like to say we didn't,” Gundy said. “I don't think we did, we just have to get better at it.”
The returns provided a swing both ways.
“When you think you have the better team and you open the second half and you return it, to put us up 18 points,” Gundy said, “if you just don't let them return it, you hold them one time, you probably score and the game's over. And we don't go through all these issues at the end of the game.”
Gundy said it had been a long time since he'd seen back-to-back kickoff returns for scores.
“Not since about the sixth grade,” he said.
HORNS STICK WITH ASH
Texas had been alternating quarterbacks since replacing Garrett Gilbert, using both Case McCoy and David Ash in games.
Against the Cowboys, Ash went the distance, to mixed results.
He finished 22-of-40 passing for 139 yards, with two interceptions and no touchdowns. He ran 15 times for a net of 21 yards, with his rushing total taking a hit with five sacks, one of which led to a lost fumble.
“He has gotten better and better each week and he needs an opportunity to play,” said Texas offensive coordinator Bryan Harsin. “I thought he did a good job getting rid of the ball. The more opportunities he gets, the better he is going to get.”
BROWN IMPRESSED WITH WEEDEN
Weeden's passing day of 218 yards was a season low and tied his career low.
Still, he left an impression on the Longhorns.
“We kept him at bay some,” said Texas coach Mack Brown, “and then he'd come right back and just stick it. He's so good. He made some great throws. And those are not college throws. Those are pro throws.
“We'd have some guys covered, but he would just hit them.”
COWBOYS CLEAR BARRIER
Talk all week centered on how the Longhorns had never lost under Brown after the Oklahoma game, a 13-0 stretch.
That streak ended Saturday.
In this case, the Cowboys were favored. And while they used to have to have to count on things going right in the series, now they like to think they can count on winning if they just play well.
“We've got good players,” said OSU offensive coordinator Todd Monken. “And that makes things a lot easier. Whatever was then was then. And whatever is now is now.
“That's why all that stuff about Mack Brown being 13-0 after OU… well he's got a different team. He's got a new staff. That's a fact. And we've got a different team and we've got a different staff.
“I don't know what it'll be next week, maybe they haven't lost three games in a row, I don't know. They'll come up with something.”
PUNT FIASCO HURTS OSU
In the first quarter, an OSU punt bounced off UT's Quandre Diggs and the Cowboys recovered. But officials ruled Diggs was blocked into the ball.
In the second quarter, a Texas punt bounced off OSU blocker Andrae May and the 'Horns recovered at the Cowboy 15-yard line. The play was upheld upon review, and Texas scored on the next play.
* Jeremy Smith's streak of 10 straight games with a rushing touchdown ties Terry Miller for the second-longest in OSU history. Barry Sanders had 15 in a row.
* Hubert Anyiam had 47 receiving yards, giving him 1,019 in his career. He is the 23rd Cowboy in history to reach 1,000 yards receiving.
* Gilbert's 100-yard kickoff return gives him two touchdowns this season on kickoff returns and four for his career, tying Perrish Cox's school record.
* Gilbert also had a career high 11 tackles,
* End Jamie Blatnick and tackle Nigel Nicholas each had four tackles for loss, the most by a Cowboy since Nathan Peterson had five against Baylor in 2007.