SEC runner-up Missouri, Oklahoma St in Cotton Bowl

Missouri and Oklahoma State came so close to conference titles

and being in the Bowl Championship Series.

The No. 9 Tigers and No. 13 Cowboys, who in the past have been

in two leagues together, will instead play each other Jan. 3 in the

Cotton Bowl, a pretty nice consolation a day after both missed

shots at conference championships.

”Playing in the Cotton Bowl is a great reward for our team,”

Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy said Sunday after the matchup was

announced. ”Certainly you want to be in a BCS bowl because it

means you won a conference championship. … This location and

venue, this is a great opportunity for the team and our fans.”

After this season’s game, the Cotton Bowl will become part of

the annual rotation for semifinal games in the new College Football

Playoff. The game is played in the Dallas Cowboys’ massive stadium

where the first national championship in the post-BCS era will be

held next season.

Oklahoma State (10-2) was on track for a Big 12 title and a spot

in the Bowl Championship Series before a 33-24 loss at home to

Oklahoma on Saturday.

Missouri (11-2) is coming off a 59-42 loss to Auburn in the SEC

championship game in only its second season in that league.

”We know firsthand just how great of a trip this is, and how

first-class of an operation the Cotton Bowl runs,” said Missouri

coach Gary Pinkel, who is taking the Tigers to their ninth bowl in

13 seasons there.

Mizzou made its SEC debut in 2012 with its first losing season

in eight years, and went only 2-6 in league play. The Tigers this

season were SEC Eastern Division champions with a 7-1 conference


When Gundy cast a vote last week for some organization’s coach

of the year honor, he voted for Pinkel.

Oklahoma State and Missouri were in the old Big Eight Conference

together and then moved together from there to the Big 12. The

Tigers have a 29-23 lead in the overall series and won five of

their nine Big 12 meetings from 1996-2011, though Oklahoma State

won the last three.

”I don’t know if it seems weird” playing Missouri, Gundy said.

”We are still familiar with them. We played them so many years in

a row and have watched them play. They’re very similar to the way

they were.”

SEC teams have won nine of the last 10 Cotton Bowls, all over

Big 12 teams. The lone exception in that span was the 2008 game

when Missouri, then in the Big 12, beat Arkansas 38-7.

Oklahoma State is in its 11th bowl in 12 years, including Cotton

Bowl losses to Mississippi in 2004 and 2010, the latter being the

first time the bowl was played in the NFL stadium after leaving its

namesake stadium at the State Fair of Texas.

The Cowboys’ only other Cotton Bowl was a 34-0 win over TCU in

the 1945 game, a year before Missouri beat Texas in its only

appearance in the game other than six seasons ago.

In last year’s game, Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel set a

Cotton Bowl record with 516 total yards as Texas A&M wrapped up

its first SEC season with a 41-13 victory over Oklahoma. The Aggies

had lost twice as a Big 12 team in the Cotton Bowl the previous

eight years.