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Photo by: National Underclassmen Football Combine

Big 12 Conference - Bowl Preview: #3 Oklahoma State vs #4 Stanford

Courtesy: Ryan Maloney / National Underclassmen Combine
          Release: January 01, 2012
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Tostitos Fiesta Bowl

January 2, 2012, 8:30pm EST

Stanford (11-1, 8-1 Pac 12)

Oklahoma State (11-1, 8-1 Big 12)

When is it a giant letdown to finish the regular season at 11-1 and play in the Fiesta Bowl  against a national power house in a game that millions will be watching?

When you could have been playing in the national title game.

Oklahoma State had a memorable 2011 season. Whether it is remembered for the outstanding offensive achievement, or simply how offensive their fans found the season crushing loss to Iowa State remains to be seen.

The Oklahoma State Cowboys will play the Stanford Cardinal on January 2nd in what should be a match-up of two high-scoring offenses with respectable defenses offering up an outcome that should be one of the closest this bowl season. The two quarterbacks were regarded highly all season long - Andrew Luck of Stanford and Brandon Weeden of Oklahoma State - Luck coming in second place in the Heisman voting to another Big 12 star quarterback, Baylor's Robert Griffin III. The game for each of them will take on a different meaning. For Luck, it will be one more opportunity to display why he should be the number one pick in the NFL Draft next year. For Weeden, it will a game full of ups and downs that fans will constantly be thinking, 'that should have been against Alabama or LSU'.

If the Cowboys are going to defeat the Cardinal, they are going to have to forget all about the fact that the Fiesta Bowl is not the result of reaching a season long goal, yet the consolation assignment they earned in a tight upset loss to the Iowa State Cyclones. Luck and the Cardinal offense are simply too good to not focus on beating them solely. If the Cowboys are at all distracted, it will spell out sure defeat come January 2nd.

Luck threw for 3,170 yards, completed 70% of his passes and posted an astonishing 35-9 touchdown to interception comparison during the regular season. It was good for a 167.5 quarterback rating and the eyes and ears of NFL scouts everywhere as he wrapped up his senior season.

Weeden threw for 4,328 yards, had one of the best receivers in the game on his side in Justin Blackmon, completed 72.6% of his passes and posted 34 touchdowns against 12 interceptions this season. His senior campaign could not have gone any better (except perhaps a trip to the BCS title game).

Between the two signal callers, there will be a lot of impressive passing strategies used in this bowl game. For those fans looking forward to another potential 9-6 title game, wait for the championship battle. This one is going to be high-scoring...and a lot of fun.



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