DALLAS — First came the Bedlam heartbreak. Then the loss at Baylor. Then the slide down the Big 12 bowl pecking order.
Now here Oklahoma State sits in the Heart of Dallas Bowl, preparing to face Purdue in a New Year's Day matinee at the Cotton Bowl that appears to be a total mismatch.
So what, exactly, can be gained from a game that the Cowboys are expected to win — and big?
Start with the simple record up for grabs: 8-5.
“It sounds a whole heck of a lot better than 7-6,” defensive end Cooper Bassett said.
A whole heck of a lot better to the seniors — the second-winningest class in school history — who are trying to go out with a win and finish their careers with three consecutive bowl victories.
A whole heck of a lot better to the coaches who will pitch the program during the stretch run of recruiting season, and the players who will quickly move into winter conditioning.
And a whole heck of a lot better for a program that is about to begin a very intriguing offseason, featuring at least one major change at coordinator and possibly another quarterback derby.
“It makes everything a little bit easier,” Bassett said of winning the bowl game. “To go to weights at 6:30 in the morning, it just kind of makes everything a little bit more fun.”
But back to the sheer numbers. The win would swing an injury-filled, up-and-down season — one that still had BCS aspirations in late November — back up.