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.