It isn’t very often a trip to mild Phoenix and an invitation to the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl is considered a consolation prize.
The Oklahoma State Cowboys football program agrees.
No, the Pokes (11-1-, 8-1) won’t be facing LSU in the BCS Championship Game in New Orleans, but they couldn’t ask for much much more as they get set to take on 3rd-ranked Stanford (11-1, 8-1) in Glendale on Monday evening.
It will be the Big 12 champions first BCS game appearance.
“We’re preparing to win this football game,” senior quarterback Brandon Weeden said Friday morning. “Guys are hungry. That was one thing…when we found out we weren’t playing in the National Championship we wanted to prove everybody wrong. Everybody is eager for Monday.”
The game features two of the top quarterbacks in the nation in Weeden and Stanford’s Andrew Luck who is expected to skip his final year of eligibility in Palo Alto and be the top pick in next spring’s NFL draft.
“With his ability to make plays in play-action and throw the ball down the field,” OSU coach Mike Gundy explained. “We don’t find any weaknesses with him. He’s certainly the best player and Stanford’s the best team we’ve played all season.”
The respect is mutual from their Pac-12 foe.
“The quarterback and receiver combo, Weeden to (Justin) Blackmon, is outstanding to watch as a football fan,” Stanford head coach David Shaw said.
With veteran quarterbacks and plenty of skill players, both offenses have the ability to score points in a hurry, but don’t overlook either teams defense.
“I think our defense is playing really well right now and Stanford’s defense is really good,” Weeden said. “That’s why this matchup is so intriguing for everybody. It’s going to be a good football game.”
Luck and Weeden have combined for nearly 7,500 yards and 69 touchdowns. The junior Blackmon, who has announced he’ll turn pro, has 1336 yards and 15 touchdowns.
Kickoff is set for just after 6:30 p.m. Monday with television coverage on ESPN.