It’s the first BCS bowl berth for the No. 3 Cowboys (11-1, 8-1 Big 12), who captured their first outright conference title Saturday night with a dominating 44-10 victory over then-No. 10 Oklahoma at Boone Pickens Stadium.
But the Cowboys were close to earning a spot in the big game, finishing .009 points behind No. 2 Alabama in the final BCS standings released Sunday night. The Crimson Tide will take on unanimous No. 1 LSU for the second time this season on Jan. 9 in New Orleans.
OSU finished second in the final computer rankings but third behind Alabama in both the USA Today coaches’ and Harris polls. Saturday night’s convincing victory over the Sooners was enough to move the Cowboys up from No. 5 to No. 3 in both polls, but they ultimately did not gain enough votes to overtake the Crimson Tide.
Still, earning the automatic bid to the Fiesta Bowl as the Big 12 champions is another step in the elevation of the OSU program. The Cowboys started 10-0 this season and climbed as high as No. 2 in the BCS standings before a double-overtime loss at Iowa State on Nov. 18 ultimately ended the Cowboys' national title hopes.
But the Fiesta Bowl matchup between the Cowboys and No. 4 Cardinal is also one of the most intriguing of the entire bowl season.
Two of the nation’s premier quarterbacks will share the same field in OSU’s Brandon Weeden and Stanford’s Andrew Luck. It will peg OSU’s high-powered spread offense against Stanford’s physical defense. And the game’s winner could finish No. 2 in the final Associated Press standings.
The Fiesta Bowl will kick off at 7:30 p.m. from University of Phoenix Stadium and will be televised on FOX.