Oklahoma State vs. Purdue: Heart of Dallas Bowl Breakdown
Oklahoma State (7-5) vs. Purdue (6-6)
Jan. 1, Noon ET (ESPNU)
• Reason to watch: It's the perfect appetizer to a six-bowl slate on New Year's Day. And though a matchup between Oklahoma State and Purdue might not sound that appealing, it's still a game that promises plenty of offense, which could make for some very entertaining non-BCS action. The Joseph Randle-led Cowboys' attack ranked fourth nationally in scoring offense (44.6 points per game), fifth in total yards (548.9 per game) and eclipsed the 50-point plateau on five different occasions. The Boilermakers don't have the same caliber of high-octane offense, but they did average 42.6 points in their six wins in 2012. The scoreboard should also receive help from a pair of lackluster defenses. Purdue and Oklahoma State allowed more than 29 points and 400 yards per game, and the Pokes' defense has been heinous of late: It gave up more than 600 yards in each of its final two losses to Baylor and Oklahoma.
• Keep an eye on: The last hurrah of Purdue quarterback Robert Marve, the sixth-year senior who battled both controversy and injury throughout his career. Still, after a contentious transfer from Miami and multiple ACL tears, Marve has a chance to finish his career on a high note. He reclaimed the starting quarterback job from Caleb TerBush in November and helped Purdue snap a six-game slide with a three-game winning streak. And he looked sharp in the process, throwing eight touchdowns to just one interception. Marve may no longer be the dual-threat quarterback he once was, but he's shown that he's more than capable of generating offense. That could lead to big numbers against an Oklahoma State team that ranks 112th in the FBS in passing defense.
• Did you know: Oklahoma State became the first team in Big 12 history -- and the first in the NCAA since 1996 -- to have three 1,000-yard passers in the same season. Due to injuries, J.W. Walsh (1,478 passing yards), Clint Chelf (1,391) and Wes Lunt (1,096) each saw significant time under center in 2012. Chelf will start his fifth consecutive game in Dallas on Tuesday.
• Final analysis: Purdue's 6-6 regular-season record was bad enough to get coach Danny Hope fired, but it wasn't bad enough to keep the Boilers from going to a bowl game. But though Purdue managed to play Notre Dame and Ohio State close this fall, its Kawann Short-led defense finished as the lowest-ranked unit in the Big Ten; that group could get exposed against an explosive Oklahoma State offense. The Cowboys' defense is nothing to brag about either, but it's respectable against the run (36th in the nation) and played well at home this season. With the Heart of Dallas Bowl just four hours south of Stillwater, expect the Cotton Bowl to be painted orange and black -- and for the Cowboys to feel right at home.
• The pick: Oklahoma State 44, Purdue 31