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Players like Oklahoma State's Cooper Bassett make bowl games relevant

The Cowboys' senior lineman is excited to be playing, and it doesn't matter who or where, just that his team is bowling
by Jenni Carlson Modified: December 31, 2012 at 9:22 pm •  Published: December 31, 2012

DALLAS — Cooper Bassett knows the college football world isn't paying much attention to his team or its game during this bowl season.

Doesn't matter to him.

He's fired up to play Purdue in the Heart of Dallas Bowl. He's excited to wear the Oklahoma State uniform one last time.

“As football players, we train and prepare for 365 days,” the senior defensive end said. “We only get 12 opportunities guaranteed a year.

“If you're lucky enough, you get a 13th game.”

Few believe the Cowboys are lucky to be in this lowly bowl, but Bassett is one of those guys who doesn't care where they're playing or who they're facing. All that matters is that they're bowling.

Truth be told, it's players like Bassett who make bowls relevant.

Evidence grows that the bowls don't matter like they once did. There is a four-team playoff is on the horizon. There is an ever-growing number of teams going into bowls with interim coaches or coordinators. There is chatter that change may be coming to how bowls are organized and funded.

What keeps bowls going are the players and the fans who cheer them. They are the ones who care about these games.

And no one cares more than Cooper Bassett.

Last we saw him after an OSU game, he had been reduced to tears. The loss at Baylor and the Cowboys' two-game, late-season slide hit hard the hulking lineman.

But he didn't apologize for his emotions. That's just how much he loves playing college football.

More succinctly, it's how much he loves playing for OSU.

Bassett grew up a Cowboy fan. He bled so much orange that when his hometown of Tuttle gathered to celebrate Sooner star Jason White with a photo, the 13-year-old Cooper wore his Cowboy cap.

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by Jenni Carlson
Jenni Carlson, a sports columnist at The Oklahoman since 1999, came by her love of sports honestly. She grew up in a sports-loving family in Kansas. Her dad coached baseball and did color commentary on the radio for the high school football...
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