STILLWATER — Some, like preseason magazine prognosticators, think it's never too early for college football bowl projections.
Others think all bowl projections are silly.
But after Oklahoma State's loss to No. 2 Kansas State on Saturday night in Manhattan, the Cowboys' postseason picture becomes a bit clearer.
Barring madness, the Big 12 title and a BCS bowl berth are now out of reach for this OSU squad with two conference losses. But with home games against West Virginia and Texas Tech — two teams that lost again Saturday — on tap the next two weeks, then contests at Oklahoma and Baylor to end the season, the Cowboys still have a chance to go to a more-than-respectable bowl.
Here's a snapshot at those possible destinations:
Date: Jan. 4
Matchup: Big 12 No. 2 vs. SEC
History: Lost to Mississippi 21-7 in 2010; Lost to Mississippi 31-28 in 2004; Beat TCU 34-0 in 1945
Possible opponents: LSU, South Carolina, Texas A&M
How OSU gets here: The Cowboys have a chance to climb this high if they finish third in the conference and a BCS bowl takes a second Big 12 team (likely Oklahoma). But Texas is also in position to finish here, and holds the tiebreaker over OSU because of its win in Stillwater. Not to mention, the Cotton Bowl could have the chance to peg the Longhorns against Texas A&M.
Location: San Antonio, Texas
Date: Dec. 29
Matchup: Big 12 No. 3 vs. Pac-12 No. 2
History: Beat Arizona 36-10 in 2010; Lost to Ohio State 33-7 in 2004; Lost to Purdue 33-20 in 1997
Possible opponents: USC, UCLA, Stanford
Projected by: ESPN's Brad Edwards (vs. USC)
How OSU gets here: The Cowboys' Nov. 17 contest against Texas Tech could ultimately decide which team goes to San Antonio.
Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl
Location: Tempe, Ariz.
Date: Dec. 29
Matchup: Big 12 No. 4 vs. Big Ten No. 4/5
History: Beat Indiana 49-33 in 2007 (Insight Bowl)
Possible opponents: Northwestern, Michigan State
Projected by: CBS' Jerry Palm (vs. Northwestern), College Football News (vs. Northwestern), Sporting News (vs. Michigan State), ESPN's Mark Schlabach (vs. Northwestern)
How OSU gets here: Clearly, this is where most experts think the Cowboys will land right now. Splitting its final four games could send OSU back to the Grand Canyon State for the third time in less than a year.
Location: San Diego, Calif.
Date: Dec. 27
Matchup: Big 12 No. 5 vs. Pac-12 No. 3
History: Lost to Oregon 42-31 in 2008; Beat Wyoming 62-14 in 1988
Possible opponents: UCLA, USC
Projected by: ESPN's David Ubben
How OSU gets here: The middle of the Big 12 is going to be jumbled, so a 5-4 conference record put OSU here, as well.
Meineke Car Care of Texas Bowl
Date: Dec. 28
Matchup: Big 12 No. 6 vs. Big Ten No. 6
History: Beat Southern Miss 33-23 in 2002 (Houston Bowl)
Possible opponents: Minnesota, Iowa
How OSU gets here: If the Cowboys' November schedule is as brutal as we thought a week ago (or three days ago), they could limp to a 6-6 (4-5 Big 12) record and finish the season in the same stadium in which they will start their 2013 campaign against Mississippi State.