The football programs representing the state's two largest universities can't seem to stay away from each other.
Oklahoma and Oklahoma State will each wrap up their 2012-13 football seasons in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex on or after New Year's Day.
OSU will face Purdue in the Heart of Dallas Bowl at Cotton Bowl Stadium, scheduled for 11 a.m. Jan. 1; the co-Big 12 champion Sooners will meet Texas A&M in the Cotton Bowl Classic, played at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, on Jan. 4 at 7 p.m.
The bowl games, announced Sunday night, come two weeks after a Bedlam shootout in Norman, one week after the schools played regular-season finales within two hours of each other, and a year after each won a Phoenix-area bowl game.
Oklahoma (10-2 overall, 8-1 Big 12) claimed a share of the Big 12 championship with its 24-17 win at TCU in Fort Worth on Saturday.
Because the Sooners and Kansas State finished with identical conference records, they'll share the conference title; Kansas State, though, earned the Big 12's automatic Fiesta Bowl berth by way of its head-to-head victory Sept. 22 in Norman.
Still, the No. 11 Sooners were expected to earn an at-large Sugar Bowl berth and face No. 3 Florida.
OU was ultimately bit by rules designed to provide smaller, worthy programs opportunities to compete in the biggest bowl games.
Mid-American Conference champion Northern Illinois finished ranked No. 15 in the final BCS Standings, thereby ensuring its berth in — and Oklahoma's exclusion from — a major bowl game.
Champions of the ACC, Big East, Big 10, Big 12, Pac-12 and SEC automatically qualify for BCS bowl games. But if another, non-automatic qualifying conference champion is ranked in the top 12 of the final BCS Standings — or the top 16 and above an AQ conference winner — that program is ensured an BCS berth.
On Friday, then-No. 21 Northern Illinois beat 17th-ranked Kent State in the MAC championship game.
The same weekend, two other teams ranked above Northern Illinois lost, elevating the Huskies to No. 15 and above the Big East and Big 10 champions.
While Oklahoma was beating TCU on Saturday, Oklahoma State was two hours south of them in Waco, dropping its second straight game to end the regular season.
The Cowboys, who a little more than a week ago were still in the discussion for a BCS at-large berth, finished the regular season 7-5 (5-4 Big 12), including back-to-back losses at Oklahoma and Baylor in their final two games.
Though OSU finished tied with Texas for third in the Big 12 standings, the Cowboys were part of a logjam of five conference teams with 7-5 record; Oklahoma State ultimately became the one to slide the furthest.
The pecking order fell like this: TCU to the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl, Baylor to the Holiday Bowl, Texas Tech to the Meineke Car Care Bowl of Houston and West Virginia to the Pinstripe Bowl.
OSU went 3-1 against those teams, but bowl selections are often about politics, taking into account expected fan travel, geography, a marketable matchup and other factors.