But an OSU source explained the reasoning behind why the Cowboys ultimately fell so far.
The Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl selected TCU because OSU had just played in the Fiesta Bowl in Arizona the previous year. The Holiday took Baylor because it wanted a fresh team, and the Bears had never played in that game. And the Pinstripe Bowl in New York City made sense geographically for West Virginia.
But the most interesting nugget of the selection process comes from the Meineke Car Care Bowl, which picks sixth, following the Buffalo Wild Wings and Holiday Bowls.
The source said about 35 representatives from that bowl met the morning of Selection Sunday and voted on a priority list of teams they would want for the bowl. They didn't even talk about OSU, because they did not believe the Cowboys would still available to pick.
But when Northern Illinois busted the BCS and pushed the entire Big 12 pecking order down a rung, the Cowboys suddenly fell past the Buffalo Wild Wings and Holiday Bowls. The Big 12 then called the Meineke Car Care Bowl and told it OSU was available to select.
The bowl had about 10 minutes to decide, a la the one-hour window James Harden had to decide if he wanted to take the Thunder's final contract extension offer or get traded to the Houston Rockets.
Rather than trying to call up all 35 representatives, the bowl leaders opted to go with what they had voted on earlier and picked Texas Tech.
So the Cowboys tumbled to the Heart of Dallas Bowl, a game that kicks off before noon on New Year's Day and is televised by ESPNU.
“Wherever the conference sends us, that's where we go,” Gundy said. “Obviously, the conference sent us to this bowl.”
Staff Writer Berry Tramel contributed to this report.