STILLWATER, Okla. (AP) — The Cotton Bowl Classic wasn't where No. 13 Oklahoma State wanted to wind up, but now that it is, they will take some solace in the friendly surroundings and familiar foe.
After losing to No. 11 Oklahoma in the final 19 seconds back on Dec. 7, a setback that cost them the Big 12 Conference championship and a trip to the BCS, the Cowboys (10-2, 7-2 Big 12) are now preparing to face No. 9 Missouri (11-2, 7-1 SEC).
The Tigers are coming off a 59-42 defeat to No. 2 Auburn in the SEC Championship game, reaching the final in just their second season since leaving the Big 12, where they resided since 1996.
But while there is considerable familiarity between the opponents, as Oklahoma State faces a team it knows fairly well, coach Mike Gundy doesn't necessarily see that as aiding his guys any more than Missouri's.
"They're a good football team and we're playing in a location that benefits us," Gundy said of AT&T Stadium, home of the Dallas Cowboys. "And they're as familiar with us as we are with them. I just think it's a great matchup. I don't know that it's an advantage either way."
Still, Oklahoma State, which beat the Tigers 45-24 on the road in their last conference contest in 2011, knows the Tigers' schemes, which should make devising a game plan a bit easier than if the opponent was one they'd never faced.
"They're real similar to the past in their style of play," Gundy said. "They have (32) players from the state of Texas, we have 77 players from the state of Texas. It's interesting. They've picked up some other players that are real similar to what they've used in the past. We've had some good battles with them and we've always had a lot of respect for them."
Of course, being more familiar with their style of play doesn't necessarily mean that Oklahoma State will have an easier time neutralizing them.
"We played them my sophomore year, but they're pretty much the same team as two years ago," Missouri linebacker Shaun Lewis said. "They're just a little more physical up front and the guys are a lot more experienced, so that allows them to play a lot faster in that offense. We watched a ton of film on them and they're impressive."