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Heart of Dallas Bowl: Oklahoma State vs. Purdue

Frank Schwab
Dr. Saturday

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(USA Today Sports Images)

Heart of Dallas Bowl
Oklahoma State (7-5) vs. Purdue (6-6)
Jan. 1, 12 p.m. ET (ESPNU)

About the Cowboys: Losing quarterback Brandon Weeden and receiver Justin Blackmon to the first round of the NFL Draft was a big blow. So was losing freshman quarterback Wes Lunt to a pair of injuries that cost him seven games this season. Backup J.W. Walsh deal with injuries too, so the Cowboys turned to Clint Chelf, who played well down the stretch and kept the offensive humming. Despite all the craziness at quarterback, Oklahoma State still finished the regular season fourth in FBS in scoring offense and fifth in total offense.

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Purdue QB Robert Marve (USA Today Sports Images)

About the Boilermakers: Purdue is another rare team that will play in a bowl after firing its coach. The dismissal of Danny Hope was a bit unusual because the Boilermakers won their last three games to become bowl eligible. But, Hope was 22-27 in four seasons so it wasn't a total shock. The most unusual part of Purdue's season might be that starting quarterback Robert Marve started eight games with a torn ACL. He tore the ligament early in the season but returned in less than a month. Marve, a transfer from Miami (Fla.), threw seven touchdowns and one interception in Purdue's three-game winning streak to finish the regular season.

Key number: 30
Oklahoma State wasn't just good on offense this season, despite playing three quarterbacks extensively because of injuries, it was consistent too. In 11 of 12 games this season the Cowboys scored at least 30 points. The only time that didn't happen was a 20-14 win against Kansas.

The breakdown: So, this game is an early start on New Year's Day between a .500 team and one that was barely over .500, in a bowl with almost no history (it was the TicketCity Bowl for its first two years before changing names this season) on ESPNU as it overlaps with the much more intriguing Gator, Capital One and Outback bowls. Was there a contest to see how low the ratings could get for a bowl game? Add in that it's the bowl game with the largest spread - Oklahoma State is a 17-point favorite - and this would have to turn into a tremendously good game to get people tuning in for the second half.

Predictions
Frank Schwab: Oklahoma State 38, Purdue 24

The Cowboys are going to score a lot of points, we know that. Purdue won't be able to keep up. Perhaps the game is a little more competitive than the point spread would indicate, but probably not too much.

Graham Watson: Oklahoma State 42, Purdue 21
Oklahoma State is going to make this a track meet and Purdue doesn't have the horses to keep up. If the Cowboys get out to a big lead, this will be a blow out. I full expect that to happen.

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