Bedlam will be a little bit bigger than normal Saturday.
Oklahoma State will be playing its most important game in its Big 12 history when the Cowboys visit Oklahoma.
The Cowboys are playing for style points when they gun for their first victory in Norman since 2001. OSU has produced one of two victories against Bob Stoops at Owen Field in his 11-season coaching tenure for the Sooners.
But an impressive victory in Saturday’s game over the skidding Sooners would boost the Cowboys’ BCS at-large hopes into a possible berth into the Fiesta Bowl.
Since losing to Texas on Oct. 31, the 9-2 Cowboys have played as well as any Big 12 team. Their comeback against Colorado last week was a revelation of the grittiness the Cowboys have shown.
Despite playing without starting quarterback Zac Robinson, and after a sputtering start by backup Alex Cate, third-stringer Brandon Weeden directed the Cowboys back from an 11-point deficit to claim a 31-28 victory over the Buffaloes.
Robinson is considered questionable for Saturday’s game against the Sooners and Weeden has been installed as the Cowboys’ second-stringer if Robinson can’t go.
After zooming from 19th in the BCS standings to 12th last week, the Cowboys remained static in Sunday’s most recent standings. But snapping the Sooners’ nation-best home winning streak would likely have some national bounce, despite the Sooners’ disappointing 6-5 record so far this season.
In order for Oklahoma State to make the BCS as an at-large team, Texas must win the Big 12 title. If the Longhorns are upset in the conference championship game next week by Nebraska, the Cornhuskers would earn the Big 12’s automatic BCS berth and Texas would earn the at-large berth.
The Cowboys must finish in the top 14 in the BCS standings when it is announced after next week's games. Undefeated TCU appears to be a lock if the Horned Frogs can wrap up their season with a victory over New Mexico on Saturday.
Another BCS at-large berth appears likely for the SEC title-game loser. That would leave the Cowboys attempting to make their case for BCS worthiness against other contenders like Boise State, Iowa or Penn State and the Cincinnati-Pittsburgh loser for two BCS at-large spots.
The Fiesta Bowl has had a long association with the Big 12. That connection might boost the Cowboys’ chances when all other things are considered.
The game of football musical chairs will play out over the next few days. But if the Cowboys can finish the season 10-2, they will have a legitimate claim at an at-large spot.
Then, the excitement of fans about the chance to make a BCS bowl will be critical. If Oklahoma State athletic director Mike Holder can convince bowl officials that his supporters will flock to a BCS game, the Cowboys might be playing in their first BCS bowl game in January and their first major bowl since beating St. Mary’s in the 1946 Sugar Bowl.