STILLWATER — Around 7:05 Sunday night, the Oklahoma State players and coaches filed into the team meeting room to watch the revealing of the final BCS standings on ESPN.
Many of the Cowboys were sporting their new Big 12 championship gear. Some held up cameras to capture what was about to be shown on the giant projector screen. They groaned when host Reece Davis first revealed No. 1 LSU and then jumped over to No. 10 Wisconsin.
But when Davis tapped the spot next to No. 3 in the standings, and the words “Oklahoma State” appeared, there were no yells. No objections. No reaction.
For a program heading to a BCS bowl for the first time in school history, a Fiesta Bowl showdown against No. 4 Stanford on Jan. 2 in Glendale, Ariz., there was little emotion shown from anybody sitting in the oversized theater chairs.
That's because the Cowboys wanted a shot at No. 1 LSU in the national championship game after completing their 11-1 regular season with a 44-10 thumping of Oklahoma to clinch the school's first Big 12 title. Instead, No. 2 Alabama will face the Tigers on Jan. 9 in New Orleans in an SEC rematch.
“They wanted to play in that game, and that's the way it should be,” OSU coach Mike Gundy said. “We've come a long way around here. I told them in the locker room, ‘Listen, you need to be excited about this.' And they will be tomorrow. But it's human nature.
“You're just upset, because you had a chance to play for the big one.”
But the Cowboys also already knew what would show up on that screen. Gundy had briefed his players before the show aired, telling them to be prepared to be No. 3.