The Heart of Dallas Bowl, formerly the TicketCity Bowl, on New Year's Day is set as Oklahoma State and Purdue will meet in a Big Ten/Big 12 clash. The Cowboys were a bit of a surprise team in the bowl after finishing 5-4 in the Big 12 in a tie for third place with Texas. As Cowboys Ride For Free stated, it was a shock:
I'm still trying to figure out how the 4th best team in the Big 12 gets the 8th best bowl. Was Holder too busy convincing his coach to stay rather than lobbying for a better bowl? Why all the hate? What have we done to everybody? What on earth did the fourth-best team in the Big 12 do to drop 4 spots?
With seven bowl eligible teams the Big Ten did not have as much parity. The Boilermakers were 3-6 before finishing the season on a three-game winning streak over Iowa, Illinois, and Indiana to sneak into a bowl game. By record, Indiana, Illinois, and Iowa were the only Big Ten teams not eligible for a bowl game. That was not enough for Danny Hope to keep his job, as he was fired last week and Purdue is now courting Butch Jones to replace him. Patrick Higgins will coach Purdue in the bowl game.
Purdue's Hammer & Rails was also surprised to play the Cowboys:
This is a major surprise, and it is likely the result of Northern Illinois getting into the BCS. That knocked Oklahoma into the Big 12 pool and shifted everyone back down a spot. Instead of getting a game against a 6-6 Iowa State or a 7-5 team like West Virginia or Texas Tech we get an 7-5 Oklahoma State team that has the fourth best offense in the country at 44.7 points per game.
Purdue and Oklahoma State have only met once, and that was also in a bowl game played in Texas. Purdue defeated Oklahoma State 33-20 in the 1997 Alamo Bowl behind 325 yards passing from Billy Dicken. A freshman backup quarterback named Drew Brees was on that Purdue team.