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Fiesta Bowl matchup with Northern Illinois would be ideal in Mike Gundy's world

Win the Big 12 with a Bedlam victory Saturday, and OSU is headed for the Fiesta Bowl against the kind of foe Gundy craves. Mid-major.
by Berry Tramel Published: December 5, 2013

Easy bowl opponents had become the Sooners' staple until last season. In 2009, a Luck-less Stanford in the Sun Bowl. In 2010, Big East champ Connecticut in the Fiesta; those Huskies were a nice team but lost by two touchdowns to Temple. In 2011, Iowa in the Insight (now Wild Wings) Bowl. Any time you get a chance at a Big Ten opponent, take it.

Of course, the Sooners' string of pushovers ended with Texas A&M in the Cotton last season. So Stoops would love to get back into the Wild Wings against, say, Nebraska. He can't say that, of course, but who wouldn't want that script?

Traditional rival, marketability among national viewers and OU fans, and a team you could beat. Plenty of momentum for the offseason, as opposed to playing Oregon in the Alamo or LSU in the Cotton.

The Sooners aren't out of the BCS picture. Beat OSU, and OU joins the crowded group of BCS at-large hopefuls. If Northern Illinois loses Friday night, there's an extra spot for the contenders. Clemson and an SEC team seem likely to fill two of the slots, leaving Oregon, Michigan State (if it loses to Ohio State) and a 10-2 OU (or an 11-1 Baylor) to campaign for one or two BCS berths.

OSU's not on the campaign trail. Win, and the Cowboys are in the Fiesta. Where they absolutely will play a team void of pedigree.

Just like Gundy prefers.

Berry Tramel: Berry can be reached at (405) 760-8080 or at 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

by Berry Tramel
Berry Tramel, a lifelong Oklahoman, sports fan and newspaper reader, joined The Oklahoman in 1991 and has served as beat writer, assistant sports editor, sports editor and columnist. Tramel grew up reading four daily newspapers — The Oklahoman,...
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