Need to know: 8:15 p.m. CT, Dec. 29, Alamodome, San Antonio, ESPN.
Team records: Oklahoma State 10-2, Arizona 7-5.
Story lines: Oklahoma State has never had an 11-win season so the Cowboys will be trying to make history with a victory in the Alamo Bowl.
“This group has a chance to separate themselves from every other team that has played at Oklahoma State,” coach Mike Gundy said. “They have a chance to win 11 games, and nobody has ever won 11 games.”
A pre-season pick to finish fifth in the South Division, Oklahoma State was one of the biggest surprises in college football. The Cowboys finished in a three-way tie with Oklahoma and Texas A&M for first place in the Big 12 South Division.
In his one season in Stillwater, offensive coordinator Dana Holgoresen blended the talents of running back Kendall Hunter (the Big 12’s leading rusher at 126 yards per game) plus first-year starters Brandon Weeden (the Big 12’s first-team QB) and Justin Blackmon (the Biletnikoff Award winner as the nation’s top wide receiver).
Holgorsen will move to West Virginia as its offensive coordinator in 2011 with the promise he becomes the Mountaineers’ head coach in 2012. He’ll officially start work at West Virginia on Jan. 1.
Arizona is coached by Mike Stoops, the brother of Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops. The Wildcats opened the season 7-1 but closed the season with a four-game losing streak. The defense allowed at least 30 points in each of those losses.
Arizona’s last game was a 30-29 double-overtime loss to rival Arizona State that saw kicker Alex Zendejas missed two critical extra points.
"We just have to regroup," Stoops said. "The loss is certainly disappointing. It would have been nice to finish better."
Oklahoma State update
Punter/kickoff specialist Quinn Sharp and snapper will not play in the Alamo Bowl because they failed to meet academic requirements. Kicker Dan Bailey will handle the punting duties against Arizona. … Justin Blackmon is close to 100 percent in recovering from an ankle injury that he suffered in mid-November.
The Wildcats are making their first appearance in the Alamo Bowl. … This will be the first game in Arizona history played in a domed stadium. … Arizona will be without senior center Colin Baxter, whose streak of 48 consecutive starts will end after he underwent knee surgery.
Oklahoma State and Arizona have played once – in 1942. The Wildcats won, 20-6, in a game played in Tuscon.