Outside of the BCS bowls, the Big 12 Conference is tied to two New Year's Day games, the Gator and Cotton Bowls.
And since 1950, the Cowboys have only played one football game in January, that being the 2004 Cotton Bowl. But after that season, OSU's star players, Josh Fields and Rashaun Woods, were on their way out.
Reaching one of the elite non-BCS bowls this season would be a building block for next season, when several key players return and the schedule gets easier.
The Gator Bowl only recently partnered with the Big 12 and, thanks to a quirky contract, can choose anywhere between the No. 2 to No. 5 Big 12 team, or not take one at all. The Cotton Bowl continues to be a local favorite because of prestige and proximity, and the other Big 12 bowls still carry some clout.
"It depends what you make of it,” Jones said. "But any of them are good.”