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Fiesta Bowl 2012, Stanford Vs. Oklahoma State: The Battle For No. 2

Two teams in the national title picture for much of the season will collide in Glendale on January 3rd, as the Stanford Cardinal and Oklahoma St. Cowboys square off in the 41st edition of the Fiesta Bowl.

David Shaw's first season with the Cardinal was a highly successful campaign, as Stanford finished the year at 11-1. Unfortunately for Shaw, his first season at the helm is likely All-American quarterback Andrew Luck's last with the team, as Luck is set to move on to the NFL.

Stanford hovered around the top few spots in the national polls all season long and perhaps missed out on a golden opportunity to play for the national title with a 53-30 loss at the hands of Pac-12 champion Oregon. After the lone loss, the Cardinal were able to post wins over both California (31-28) and Notre Dame (28-14) to close out the regular season. It is the first time in school history that Stanford has posted back-to-back 11-win campaigns.

This game marks Stanford's 23rd bowl appearance. The Cardinal hold a 10-11-1 record in the postseason and are playing in their second straight BCS Bowl game following a 40-12 rout of Virginia Tech in last year's Orange Bowl.

Mike Gundy's Cowboys also won 11 games this season and also had one slip up, as OSU inexplicably lost to a huge underdog in Iowa State, 37-31 in mid November. Oklahoma State rallied though and made light work of rival Oklahoma (44-10) to earn the Big 12 crown and then had to sit and watch the last BCS poll to come out, leaving the Cowboys just percentage points away from a spot in the national title game.

OSU is playing in a bowl game for a school-record sixth straight season. The Cowboys are 13-8 all-time in postseason action. Oklahoma State's only prior visit to the Fiesta Bowl resulted in a 16-6 win over BYU in 1974. Last season, the Cowboys blasted Arizona, 36-10 in the Alamo Bowl.

For more on the Fiesta Bowl, visit Stanford blog Rule of Tree and Oklahoma State blog Cowboys Ride for Free.