Sunday Rewind: Where Will The Cowboys Bowl?

The Tulsa World's Jimmie Tramel opened Mike Gundy's teleconference with media members on Sunday by firing away with the open-ended question as to whether the video showed anything different than what the naked eye showed Saturday in Norman as Oklahoma State lost a hard fought 51-48 overtime game with rival Oklahoma.

"Not really, we were mostly dead on (with what was discussed in the postgame)," said head coach Mike Gundy. "There were so many momentum swings in that game that it was hard to talk about all of them.

"The big (punt) return was a huge play," continued Gundy of a play that he questioned officials on several times.

I was on the other end of the Oklahoma State bench area and did not see what happened at the start of the return. I did see Oklahoma State punter Quinn Sharp get pushed down by Brennan Clay in the back, but often times that block is made after a player turns and won't get called.

However, I heard from several people through text on my phone that there was a blatant block in the back in front of Jalen Saunders as he started the return. I was emailed a clip of the play from the ESPN broadcast and saw OU reserve linebacker Jayden Bird block an OSU player in the back, but it was the TV copy on my computer.

Then I stopped in and watched the coach's copy both pan and end zone and it was blatant. Bird obviously blocks Teddy Johnson, one of the Cowboys special team cover specialists, in the back.

Gundy wasn't asked about it, and likely wouldn't have commented but he had seen it and knew it when he said the return was a huge play.

"We had a dificult time covering their receivers," he said of the OU passing game that delivered 512 of the Sooners' 618 yards of total offense. "Those two transfers really make a big difference. We didn't get to the quarterback as much as we wanted to."

That last comment will likely get revisited as Oklahoma State fans have been very noisy about wanting a more aggressive plan on defense.

That said, when you look at it the Cowboys only allowed 38 points in regulation. The Sooners had the punt return for a touchdown, and the Cowboys defense did hold OU to two punts and two field goal tries, and one of those was missed. In the Big 12, holding a power opponent to under 40 points is considered in some corners as a good defensive performance.

The Cowboys now turn their attention to Baylor in Waco on Saturday. The Cowboys have a five-game win streak over the Bears, but Gundy said the Bears have his full attention.

"They've scored on everybody all year," he said. "They were number one in the nation in total offense and they may still be. They average 45 points a game and they are rushing for about 200 and throw for around 300. They are 46 percent on third downs and 73 percent on fourth downs."

Okay, that all adds up to another monumental challenge for a beleagured OSU defense.

It also will be the last step to deciding where the Cowboys go bowling. We now know that won't be the BCS and the Sugar Bowl, where OU, if they win, will likely be playing Florida.

The word is that Texas wants no part of a Texas A&M reunion and a Lone Star showdown in the Cotton Bowl, and that OSU may be a prime candidate to go to Arlington against either the Aggies or possibly LSU. If Texas is Cotton Bowl-bound, then OSU is looking at the Alamo Bowl against the Pac-12 championship game loser, either UCLA or Stanford.

"It doesn't work that way," answered Gundy when asked if coaches could do any lobbying for their bowl destination. "It hasn't been that way with me as a coach. The bowls know who they want and they are going to go after them. I wouldn't know who to pick up the phone and call to begin doing that (politicking for a bowl game)."

Gundy was also asked (by Tramel) about next season as the Cowboys will return a bunch of players, including everyone who has scored this season with the exception of Isaiah Anderson and kicker Quinn Sharp. Tramel asked if it could set up OSU for a championship run.

"We will have a number of players returning, but I really don't think the schedule is falling in place for that," answered Gundy. "We will have a lot of players back."

That final comment could be tied to the fact that Gundy is rumored to not be very happy with the 2013 schedule.The Cowboys head coach may not be happy that Oklahoma State's leadership agreed to play The Opening game in Houston with Mississippi State, and the fact that it will call for OSU to play three of its first four games away from Stillwater and Boone Pickens Stadium.

He also may not be happy with the Big 12's decision to put together an elongated schedule that starts with a game on Aug. 31 and ends on Dec. 7, and includes three open weeks for the Cowboys. It makes the regular season schedule very long for the players and it also could handicap recruiting as coaches could be on the road as soon as the Monday after Thanksgivng but not for coaches still preparing for games.

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