For our Cotton Bowl primer in Sunday’s Oklahoman, I talked chairman Tommy Bain.
You can read some of his comments — mostly about this game being a dress rehearsal for when the Cotton Bowl hosts the national title game next season — in this story, but here’s more:
What are your first thoughts on this matchup?
“We’re really excited about it, because both these teams going into the very last week of the season were playing for their conference championships. Both of them had just tremendous years, highly competitive and both highly ranked. We think it’s one of the best postseason matchups.”
Can you pull back the curtain a bit on how and why OSU and Missouri were your picks?
“Some of it is by choice and some of it is by elimination, the way it’s done these days. In the case of Oklahoma State, we were looking very, very closely and both Oklahoma and Oklahoma State. And right there at the end, the others in contention were Baylor and Texas. Those four kind of came down to the last weekend. And then it’s just a matter of how do those games play out and who is available. Fortunately, Oklahoma State, with the great year they had, was available to us.”
How much did the fact that OSU and Missouri were Big 12 foes two years ago factor into your bowl decision?
“It really doesn’t play into it a lot. If they had played each other in the out-of-conference schedule or they had played each other in the last year or two in bowl games, you try to avoid having matchups that are not too frequent. Other than that, we’re delighted to get these two teams together with their two fan bases.”
What are you expecting as far as fan support?
“Both Oklahoma State and Missouri in their last visit to the Cotton Bowl, both their fan bases were wonderful. They certainly purchased tickets and made the ticket a hot item. They came down and supported their team well. Both of them really took part in all our activities and really engaged in what we do for the whole Cotton Bowl week. I’d say the combination of the fans and both coaches and athletic departments are just classy people, the kind of people that you really want to be around. We know we’re set up for a great week.”
What are you most looking forward to during Cotton Bowl week?
“Well first of all, I think it’s gonna be extremely competitive with two teams that are a lot of fun to watch and play at a high level. And then I’d say the other thing is Coach (Mike) Gundy and Coach (Gary) Pinkel are both some of our favorite people to be around. In Coach Gundy, you have a guy that really operates with such a high level of integrity and really kind of creates a family atmosphere around the program, and you really sense that, so we just look forward to spending time with the whole Oklahoma State family.”