STILLWATER — Oklahoma State's two-game skid to end the regular season caused the Cowboys to slide down the bowl pecking order, too.
OSU on Sunday accepted an invitation to the Heart of Dallas Bowl, formerly the TicketCity Bowl, on Jan. 1 at the Cotton Bowl, where it will match up against Purdue.
The game will kick off at 11 a.m. and will be televised by ESPNU.
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 the logjam of five conference teams with 7-5 records. The pecking order eventually 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.
Also contributing to OSU's slide was that Northern Illinois finished 15th in the final BCS standings, which earned it an automatic BCS berth to the Orange Bowl and squeezed OU out of the BCS equation. The Sooners instead fell to the Cotton Bowl, and Texas was picked for the Alamo Bowl.
OSU will be facing a Purdue team that finished 6-6 and fired coach Danny Hope on Nov. 25. Assistant Patrick Higgins will serve as interim coach in the bowl game. The Boilermakers rallied to get bowl eligible, finishing the regular season with three consecutive victories over Iowa, Illinois and Indiana.
The Cowboys have never played in the TicketCity/Heart of Dallas Bowl, a game that was established just two seasons ago. OSU has faced Purdue just once, a 33-20 loss in the 1997 Alamo Bowl.