By now, everybody knows that the Arizona Wildcats drew Oklahoma State for their bowl opponent.
OK, so it’s not Oklahoma. It’s the Sooners’ little brother, the Cowboys.
But, that’s probably a good thing. Sure, it would have made fascinating TV to watch the Stoops brothers battle it out in a bowl game.
Let’s face it, though. Despite the fact that the Wildcats climbed to a No. 9 national ranking at one point in the season, they aren’t ready for the Sooners. And they probably aren’t ready for the Pokes either.
But the Alamo Bowl officials came calling anyway, picking the Cats over Washington, which is going to the Holiday Bowl to play Nebraska.
We all remember Nebraska and the Holiday Bowl. That was last year’s post-season ‘reward’ for the Cats. But they hadn’t planned on the 33-0 pasting they got from the Huskers in San Diego to put a sour ending to the celebration of a second consecutive 8-3 season.
And now there is the very real possibility that the Dec. 29 Alamo Bowl in Texas might be a similar burial ground for this year’s 7-5 season.
There has to be a very real question as to whether the Cats can play with the No. 6-ranked Cowboys, who are making their fifth straight bowl appearance. The OSU program has reached the level of consistency that marks a good college program, winning nine games in each of the last three years.
Arizona, no longer ranked in the Top 25, finished the season on a four-game slide that culminated in losing to unranked ASU, which wasn’t even a .500 team when the rivalry game started.
OSU closed out a 10-2 season with one of the most potent offenses in the country, ranked fifth in total offense with 537 yards a game. The Cowboys are the second-most prolific passing team, throwing for 354 yards an outing, and are third in points per game, averaging 45.
Their only losses came at the hands of Oklahoma and Nebraska, which went on to play for the Big 12 Championship.
The Cats counter with the No. 9 passing attack in the country, averaging more than 300 yards a game, and a defense that played a major role in their 7-1 start.
But Arizona’s defense has had its troubles with fast, athletic opponents. Think about the losses to hurry-up, quick-strike Oregon and Arizona State.
And there’s more of that ahead when they reach San Antonio to take on the high-octane Cowboy offense.
When OSU and Oklahoma collided at season’s end, the two teams combined to put 40 points on the board in the fourth quarter alone. At one stretch in the game, the bitter rivals pounded each other for a combined 31 points in the span of just over three minutes.
The Cowboys’ Achilles heel, if you can call it that, is a defense that is ranked 90th in the country. But that’s not enough reason to take the underdog label off the Cats.
This is the first time the two schools have met since 1942 and this season has turned into a historic one for the Cowboys. The 2010 squad is the first in school history to win 10 regular-season games and a victory in the Alamo Bowl would make it the first time any OSU team has won a total of 11.
The Wildcats are going to have to play flawless football to keep from becoming a historical footnote in the archives of Oklahoma State football.
If this game gets out of hand, “Remember the Alamo” could take on a whole new meaning in the state of Arizona.