Can OU, OSU football teams get excited when they'd rather be somewhere else?
CHIPS ON THEIR SHOULDER — How difficult will the Bedlam brothers trips to the desert be? OSU would rather be playing in the BCS big bowl and the Sooners would rather be anywhere else, frankly, as long as it was better than the Insight Bowl.
The Bedlam brothers head to the Valley of the Sun in the coming days, and truthfully, both would rather be elsewhere.
The Cowboys, thrilled to be playing Stanford in the Fiesta Bowl, still would prefer LSU in the Big Bowl, which they missed by a whisker.
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How teams that thought they belonged in the national title game have fared in their bowl game in the 2000s:
* 2000 Miami: 37-20 over Florida in Sugar Bowl
* 2003 Southern Cal: 28-14 over Michigan in Rose Bowl
* 2004 Auburn: 16-13 over Virginia Tech in Sugar Bowl
* 2008 Texas: 24-21 over Ohio State in Fiesta Bowl
* 2006 Michigan: 32-18 to Southern Cal in Rose Bowl
* 2007 Virginia Tech: 24-21 to Kansas in Orange Bowl
* 2007 Oklahoma: 48-28 to West Virginia in Fiesta Bowl
How OU has done in bowl games in which it would rather be elsewhere:
* 2001: Beat Arkansas 10-3 in Cotton Bowl
* 1994: Lost to BYU 31-6 in Copper Bowl
* 1988: Lost to Clemson 13-6 in Citrus Bowl
* 1981: Beat Houston 40-14 in Sun Bowl
* 1976: Beat Wyoming 41-7 in Fiesta Bowl
The Sooners, a little shamed at falling to the Insight Bowl against Iowa, figure they were made for something better, considering they were ranked No. 1 in October.
So how difficult will it be to win in the desert? Can both teams get to Greater Phoenix and play with an edge that produces victory? With apologies to the Fiesta title sponsor, can both OSU and OU play with a Tostito's chip on their shoulder?
For the third-ranked Cowboys, the hurdle is physical. Fourth-ranked Stanford is a heck of a ballteam.
“I know everybody across the country is excited about the Stanford vs. Oklahoma State game,” said State coach Mike Gundy. “We're really excited about it.”
Gundy said focus won't be a problem at all. The Cowboys will hunker down at the Scottsdale Plaza, go to practice and “spend a lot of time together as a group,” Gundy said. “There should be fewer distractions. I'm not as concerned about it now as I was during the season.”
The disappointment of the final BCS standings seems to have little carryover.
Said OSU defensive end Jamie Blatnick, “The Fiesta Bowl, there's no better place. I'm just excited.”
For the fading-fast Sooners, the hurdle is mental and emotional. Iowa is a pedestrian 7-5. But the Hawkeyes were 7-5 a year ago before beating 12th-ranked Missouri 27-24 in this very same Insight.
How much do the Sooners really want to be in the Fiesta's Little Brother Bowl?
Most admit the disappointment of the season. Most admit the difficulty of summoning motivation for what is viewed as a consolation game. But most vow to defend OU's honor against Iowa.
“I'm very motivated,” said cornerback Demontre Hurst. “Especially with the way we finished the season. The way we played against Oklahoma State (a 44-10 loss) kind of hurt.