Two of the nation's best and most prolific passers meet in what qualifies as "must-see TV." Luck was everyone's preseason Heisman favorite and he has put together an impressive season with 3,170 passing yards to go with 35 touchdowns and nine interceptions. He will face the Cowboys in his last game at Stanford before he becomes, in all likelihood, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2012 NFL Draft.
Weeden will also be playing in his final college game before heading to the league and the 28-year-old senior has built quite the résumé of his own. Weeden has 4,328 passing yards with 34 touchdowns and 12 interceptions and will posture himself for a rise in NFL Draft status.
This matchup alone will create enough buzz that this game might rival the national championship in viewers.
2. OSU's first BCS bid earns a worthy opponent
Many teams get to BCS bowls and then face seemingly a lose-lose scenario. (See: Oklahoma vs. Boise State in 2006, Georgia vs. Hawaii in '07 or Alabama vs. Utah in '08.) Both Oklahoma and Alabama lost those games to unbeaten non-BCS automatic qualifiers, ending both school's seasons with a bitter taste. Georgia beat the Warriors but the feeling wasn't much better. Reason being: it beat Hawaii.
OSU is in no such situation. The Cowboys drew the closest thing it could to themselves in a No. 3 vs. No. 4 tilt. And that was fortunate because of at least four others possible opponents the Pokes avoided.
Either Orange Bowl selection, No. 15 Clemson or No. 23 West Virginia, would have been an uninspiring opponent that would have let the national title snub taste linger. Same goes for both Sugar Bowl participants, No. 13 Michigan or No. 11 Virginia Tech. None of the four teams are ranked as highly as the team OSU beat most recently in then-No. 10 Oklahoma. Also, previously unbeaten Houston would have been a bad draw had it not been upset by Southern Miss in its conference title game.
The fact of the matter is, OSU drew a worthy opponent to test its mettle and a Jan. 2 victory against No. 4 Stanford would be a perfect end, all things considered, to the best season in Cowboy football history.
3. Phoenix area in January
The average temperature in the Phoenix area on Dec. 2 is 64 degrees. That's about perfect in my estimation. Heading to the desert in the dead of winter will be a nice escape for Cowboy fans who journey to watch the game. Also, the Fiesta Bowl is known for its hospitality and fan bases rave about the overall experience when they leave. Add in a classy fanbase from Stanford and it should provide a positive experience regardless of the outcome on the field.
4. OSU matches up well with the Cardinal
Stanford is known for creating matchup problems with its pro-style offense and ranks fifth in points with 43.6 per game. It also has tremendous balance, ranking 26th in passing and 22nd in rushing. While that will pose a headache for the Cowboy defense, OSU's offense poses an even more daunting threat to the Cardinal. Stanford has faced only one team with a similar offensive approach this season and it accounted for Cardinal's only loss. And it was a big loss.
Against Oregon's fast-paced, balanced offense, Stanford fell flat in a 53-30 blowout loss.
The only other quality offensive team Stanford faced was USC, who finished 23rd in total offense, and it took three overtimes for Stanford to prevail. That bodes well for a Cowboy team that finished the regular season No. 3 in total offense (557) and No. 2 in scoring (49.3).
5. Because it's a BCS bowl
Sure it might not be the National Championship down in the Bayou, for which OSU fans have a legitimate gripe, but it is the school's first BCS berth and that is something truly special for this university and this team. Thumping Oklahoma to earn the trip to Arizona while wrapping up the school's first Big 12 title was a nice bonus, too.
There is no doubt this is the second biggest game left on the college football schedule and it will rival the national title in viewers because of the tantalizing matchup. Sure the title game snub still stings but I can't think of a better alternative than a matchup of top-four teams in one of the premier bowl venues.
This season is a huge step for Oklahoma State football and it will conclude in primetime at 7:30 p.m. on ESPN. So grab some Tostitos and have a fiesta!