Woman at church Sunday night asked where OU was going. Dallas, I told her, not wanting to explain that the Cotton Bowl game is not played in the Cotton Bowl stadium.
Then she asked where OSU was going. Again, to simplify, I bore it down to bedrock. Dallas.
Hey, she wondered. Are they playing each other? Be still my heart. Nope, no Bedlam rematch, though nothing equally surprising.
Bowl Selection Day brought disappointment to both Sooners and Cowboys. No BCS for OU, a mighty fall for OSU.
The Sooners absolutely can blame an old foe, by the name of Boise State. The Cowboys' villain is not so clear, but I have my guesses.
Boise State's epic upset of the Sooners in the Fiesta Bowl six years ago still reverberates through college football. Turned Boise into a power. Made us look differently at mid-majors. Even got the BCS criteria changed so that whippersnappers would have even greater access to the major bowls.
Thus Northern Illinois is Orange Bowl bound, at OU's expense.
Bad for the Sooners, but good for college football. College basketball gives the little guy a chance to shine — really the only thing campus hoops have over the gridiron — and shame on football if it doesn't do the same.
So the Sooners fell to the Cotton Bowl (game, not stadium) against Texas A&M, a matchup only slightly less in stature than an OU-Florida Sugar Bowl would have been.
Let's list the best bowls, based purely on rankings: 1. Alabama-Notre Dame Big Bowl; 2. Oregon-Kansas State Fiesta; 3. OU-A&M Cotton.
Granted, you'd rather be in a BCS game for prestige, and from an intrigue standpoint, Sooners-Aggies doesn't feel like OU-Florida would have.
OU-A&M will have a bizarro feel. Part OU-Texas (neutral field in Dallas). Part Big 12 title game (OU played Nebraska in JerryWorld two years ago). Part Texas Tour (OU's fifth game in Baja Oklahoma this season). Part old-fashioned A&M regular season game, with the Aggie band and yell leaders alongside.
But nationally, this is a game that appeals to fans. Johnny Football against Marlboro Man Landry. The expatriate Aggies, in their first SEC season, against their old pals from the Big 12.
Meanwhile, OSU will be playing across town, not in the Cotton Bowl but in its namesake stadium. The Cowboys draw Purdue, a weak team from a weak Big Ten, in the Heart of Dallas Bowl. This is a game nobody outside Oklahoma will watch.
How did the Cowboys, who tied Texas for third place in the Big 12, become No. 8 in the league's bowl selection?
Here's who passed on OSU.
Alamo: Had OSU in 2010, and always wants Texas.
Buffalo Wild Wings: OSU was in Greater Phoenix in 2011, so took TCU.
Holiday: Always looking for a school that's never been to San Diego, so took Baylor.
Houston: Took Texas Tech. Don't know why.
Pinstripe: The Big 12's only Eastern team makes sense for the Big 12's only Eastern bowl.
Maybe this was a case of not enough schmoozing. I know it's distasteful, but that's the way the business works. OSU athletic director Mike Holder, not a warm and cuddly personality, needs to let these bowls know that the Cowboy fan base has responded in bowls past and will respond in bowls future.
And maybe Holder did. But perhaps he didn't sell Phoenix or San Diego or Houston enough on the Cowboys. Certainly OSU's fans have done their part in recent years.
Of course, there's not much difference between playing Minnesota in the Meineke Car Care of Texas Bowl (Houston) and playing Purdue in the Heart of Dallas Bowl.
Maybe there's not a reason for OSU's plummet. Maybe it's just a bad break.
At least the Sooners know why they fell. Blame it on Boise State.
Berry Tramel: Berry can be reached at (405) 760-8080 or at email@example.com. He can be heard Monday through Friday from 4:40-5:20 p.m. on The Sports Animal radio network, including FM-98.1. You can also view his personality page at newsok.com/berrytramel.