STILLWATER — Jeremy Smith doesn't spend much time mixing, matching and projecting Oklahoma State's possible bowl destinations.
“All that stuff is too confusing,” the Cowboy running back said with a laugh.
But this time of year, fans and followers like to speculate. Even OSU coach Mike Gundy said his kids have thrown out their predictions on where the Cowboys will finish their season in late December or early January.
And reaching a BCS game is still a possibility for the Cowboys, with this week's Bedlam showdown against Oklahoma serving as a knockout game of sorts, at least for OSU.
“I didn't even know that,” Smith said. “That's pretty exciting, but we're all just trying to get these last two wins.”
Kansas State is likely out of the national title picture after its loss to Baylor, but still has the inside track to the Big 12 championship and a Fiesta Bowl berth with a 7-1 conference record and just one game remaining. But OU, which stands at 6-1, sits just behind, while Texas and OSU are both 5-2.
That means the Sooners, Longhorns and Cowboys are all still in contention to grab a BCS at-large bid, most likely to the Sugar Bowl, if they win out. OU could also snag the Big 12 crown if it beats OSU and TCU, and K-State loses to UT on Dec. 1.
There's even a set of circumstances — OSU wins out, UT beats TCU and K-State and OU loses Bedlam but beats TCU — that would result in all four teams finishing tied atop the conference standings at 7-2. In that case, UT would earn the automatic bid to the Fiesta Bowl because it went 2-1 against the other co-champs and beat K-State, which also posted a 2-1 record against those teams.
“There's so many scenarios sitting there right now,” Gundy said. “I don't know if you could predict what would happen. I don't pay attention to them, because it's really just a waste of time.”
For OSU, this we know for sure — a Bedlam win would keep the Cowboys' BCS hopes alive. But if OSU loses to the Sooners, it has virtually no chance of finishing in the top 14 of the final BCS rankings, a requirement to be selected as an at-large team.
If the Cowboys split their final two games, a trip to the Alamo Bowl in San Antonio or the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl in Tempe, Ariz. are the most likely destinations. In fact, every major bowl projection currently pegs OSU for one of those two bowls.
Should the Cowboys lose their final two games, they could slip to the Holiday Bowl in San Diego or the Meineke Car Care Bowl in Houston.
Some OSU players, like Smith, are totally oblivious to bowl scenarios. But wide receiver Isaiah Anderson acknowledged that his friends and family have talked to him about several postseason possibilities, including returning to a BCS game.
And with madness ensuing across the college football landscape the last two weeks — with Alabama, Oregon and K-State all losing — why shouldn't the Cowboys dream big?
Because Gundy knows what can happen if players and coaches prematurely get caught up in those scenarios. The Cowboys learned a hard lesson last season when they lost to Iowa State in Game 11.
And Gundy acknowledged he's had to remind his team of that as it heads into its final two regular-season games, starting with Bedlam.
“I think everybody's aware of the situations,” Gundy said. “But I go back to what I always say, and I really mean it — we're certainly not good enough to think past Oklahoma and (Tuesday's) practice.”