The game itself is not as prestigious, but Oklahoma State will play Tuesday in a traditional stadium in a traditional time slot — the Cotton Bowl on the morning of New Year's Day.
Like many college football fans, that's how Cowboy coach Mike Gundy usually started his new year while he was growing up.
“Back then we had three channels,” Gundy said. “But you knew exactly which channel to go on after one game, and the Rose Bowl always overlapped with the one in between. It always made me mad. But I remember the Cotton Bowl started the day off.”
JONES PLEASED WITH DEVELOPMENT OF YOUNG CORNERBACKS
OSU will for sure have one new starting cornerback in 2013, as senior Brodrick Brown will play his final game as a Cowboy in the Heart of Dallas Bowl.
But if Justin Gilbert decides to forgo his senior season and jumps to the NFL, the Cowboys will have holes on both sides.
That means the experience true freshmen Kevin Peterson and Ashton Lampkin gained in 2012 could prove to be especially valuable.
Because of early season serious injuries to Devin Hedgepeth and Jonovan Griffin, Peterson and Lampkin were thrown into playing time early and often. Peterson, at times, even pushed Gilbert for a starting spot.
Cornerbacks coach Jason Jones said he's been pleased with how those young corners have developed.
“(Being thrown into playing time is) how you learn,” Jones said. “You have to grow up in a hurry. Both of them are good young men as far as I guess they're more mature than some of the freshmen that you bring in.
“Some of the guys, as you go through two-a-days, you know that they can't put them out there. Mentally, he's not ready. But mentally, they were in tune, and they're still in tune.”
CHELF NOT AFRAID TO BUNDLE UP
Bowl week has brought colder-than-average weather to the Dallas area, with OSU and Purdue often practicing in temperatures in the 30s and 40s.
Despite the chill in the air, the Cowboy offensive line vowed to practice without any extra layers of clothes.
Quarterback Clint Chelf, however, had no problem throwing on a long-sleeve shirt under his jersey.
Did he even consider going sleeveless?
“Absolutely not,” he said with a laugh. “That has not even crossed my mind ever. (The offensive linemen are) a little bit tougher than I am, I guess.”
NICKEL AND DIMING
A challenge of defending OSU's offense is the balanced attack it runs out of the spread system.
To match up against the Cowboys' receivers, Purdue will need to play a fair amount of nickel and dime coverage, with five or six defensive backs. But it will also need to try to stop All-Big 12 running back Joseph Randle, who rushed for more than 1,300 yards and 14 touchdowns this season.
“Your defensive line has to play an integral part in that,” Boilermakers interim coach Patrick Higgins said. “If you can get your defensive line to dominate their offensive line, and to create havoc, then you're gonna be OK.
“We have to win the battles up front. That's how the game is won. You win it on the offensive line and defensive line.”
Purdue does have one crucial piece on the defensive line in All-American tackle Kawann Short. He tallied 42 tackles (14.5 for loss), six sacks, one forced fumble and two fumble recoveries this season.
EVAN EPSTEIN'S GRAND ADVENTURE
With so many players on OSU's roster from the Dallas area, getting to the bowl site after Christmas was an easy trip.
Certainly much simpler than the one Evan Epstein and former Cowboy Justin Blackmon endured last year while traveling to Phoenix for the Fiesta Bowl.
Because of an overbooked flight in Dallas, Epstein and Blackmon were put on a plane to North Carolina, then flown all the way back to Phoenix.
What should have been about a two-hour flight turned into an all-day adventure, complete with full walking tours of the Dallas-Fort Worth and Raleigh airports to kill time.
“We literally walked in like five minutes before practice started,” Epstein said. “… It was just one of those things. You can't get mad about traveling. That's the way it is these days, I guess.”
Purdue safety Landon Feichter said he's enjoying the bowl experience.
“This is the second time I've played in Dallas,” Feichter said. “Last time we played wasn't a good outcome in Dallas, when we played Rice last season. We're hoping to change that.”
Uh, Feichter had the right result — Rice beat Purdue 24-22 — but the wrong city. That game was played in Houston.