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Bowl Projections: After a Week 11 Loss, Where and Who is OSU Predicted to Play for its Bowl

A few rematches, a new Big 12 preview and even a first-ever meeting on the table



[Devin Wilber/PFB]

Spoiler alert: there are no NY6 bowl projections ahead. But, somehow, someway, that’s still not actually off the table for the Cowboys yet.

Oklahoma State was thumped by UCF 45-3 on Saturday in Orlando. And that loss has many predicting the Cowboys to go back to Orlando in December.

Despite that loss, OSU is still in the Big 12 title race. Although there aren’t any NY6 bowl predictions right now (and rightfully so), if the Pokes managed to rattle off three straight wins, including in the Big 12 Championship Game, then it’ll be a big-time bowl for OSU.

But let’s not put the power before the orange here. Let’s take a look at where pundits across the country have the Cowboys going to and who they could be playing for their bowl game.

North Carolina | Pop-Tarts Bowl | 5:45 p.m. Dec. 28 | Orlando, Florida

The sequel is usually worse, but this one couldn’t be, right?

The Cowboys going back to Orlando for the Pop-Tarts Bowl is a popular pick this week, but against three different opponents. The first time I wrote these bowl projections, Orlando seemed like a magical destination, but now that city might be even more avoidable than Norman for Cowboy fans.

ESPN’s Mark Schlabach predicted this particular matchup. North Carolina has one of the top NFL Draft prospects in quarterback Drake Maye, but he most likely wouldn’t play in this one. A Big 12 reunion between Mike Gundy and Mack Brown would be fun, though, especially since Gundy passed Brown on the all-time Big 12 wins list this season.

Notre Dame | Pop-Tarts Bowl | 5:45 p.m. Dec. 28 | Orlando, Florida

Another bowl date with Notre Dame after a loss in the Big 12 Championship Game again?

OSU beat the Fighting Irish in the Fiesta Bowl two seasons ago, then Gundy proclaimed to the world that OSU has a logo, too (with all due respect). It was the first time these programs ever met.

Since the sequel would be in Orlando, home of Disney World, I’ll compare this matchup to the Pixar movie, Cars. Cars is me and my son’s favorite movie, but Cars 2 is nearly unwatchable. I’d rather re-watch that first meeting than take the risk of OSU’s next meeting with Notre Dame being a real letdown.

Miami (FL) | Pop-Tarts Bowl | 5:45 p.m. Dec. 28 | Orlando, Florida

The third and final projected matchup in Orlando.

College Football News also has the Cowboys in the Pop-Tarts Bowl, but against Miami. OSU actually played Miami its last trip to Orlando for a bowl game. It was this same bowl, but in 2020 this was the Cheez-It Bowl. The Cowboys won 37-34 as a freshman Brennan Presley exploded for 118 receiving yards and three touchdowns.

Just prepare for an obnoxious amount of Disney puns from me and Marshall if one these Orlando matchups actually happen.

Utah | Valero Alamo Bowl | 9:15 p.m. Dec. 28 | San Antonio, Texas

The Alamo Bowl was the most popular pick last week, and both of ESPN’s writers even had this matchup projected. This week, Brad Crawford of 247Sports has this setup.

I would count this as an all-Big 12 bowl matchup, with Utah leaving the Pac-12 for the Big 12 after this academic year. It might be the first time OSU plays a team the following season that it met in its previous bowl game. For sure the first time OSU would play a team in a bowl game, then in a conference game less than a year later.

Texas A&M | TaxAct Texas Bowl | 9 p.m. Dec. 27 | Houston, Texas

I promised one of PFB’s readers from Houston last week that I’d take it easy on his city this time around. But the reality is, this OSU’s worst projected bowl destination at the moment unless the Cowboys lose another the next two weeks.

Steven Lassan of AthlonSports had this pairing last week, as well, and Bill Bender of The Sporting News also has this projection now.

The matchup itself would be intriguing, though, against an old Big 12 foe. This may also be the bowl that we one day see the first nonconference Bedlam because of the Big 12 and SEC ties.

The only time OSU and Texas A&M have met since the Aggies left for the SEC was in the Texas Bowl in 2019. Texas A&M won that meeting, 24-21.

Auburn | TaxAct Texas Bowl | 9 p.m. Dec. 27 | Houston, Texas

Action Network’s Brett McMurphy also has OSU in the Texas Bowl, but against Auburn. This is actually the first time I’ve seen the Cowboys playing in the Texas Bowl and not against Texas A&M.

At least Auburn still has a head coach, at least currently anyway. The Cowboys have actually never played Auburn before either, so any first-time meeting is always neat.

Memphis | AutoZone Liberty Bowl | 2:30 p.m. Dec. 29 | Memphis, Tennessee

I thought the Texas Bowl predictions were the worst for OSU, then The Athletic released its bowl projections on Tuesday after this was already published.

The Liberty Bowl is supposed to be a Big 12-SEC matchup, but because of bowl eligibility numbers and The Athletic having SMU in a NY6 bowl, the Cowboys match up with a team from the American here.

This would also be a home game for the American’s Memphis, which could influence this decision for attendance. OSU has never met Memphis before on a football field. The Cowboys aren’t strangers to the city of Memphis, though, having upset Missouri 38-33 in the Liberty Bowl in 2019.


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