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Missouri 41, Oklahoma State 31: 2014 Cotton Bowl links and initial reflections

The regular season creates the legacy. Bowls matter in the present tense, but long-term your 12-13 regular season games matter much more. Take Oklahoma State, for instance. Ten or 20 years from now, the 2013 season will go down as another check in the box, another piece of evidence for how good the Mike Gundy era has been in Stillwater. This was their third 10-win season in four years and their fifth nine-win season in six; the Cowboys will finish in the top 20 for the fourth time in six seasons, something they didn't even manage to accomplish in the era of Barry Sanders and Thurman Thomas, when Gundy was quarterback.

Bowls, however, set the tone for the offseason. They are the last taste in your mouth for eight months, and they feel like they matter significantly until games begin again. And in that sense, the present tense is pretty unfriendly for OSU. The Cowboys were 10-1 and on the doorstep of another BCS bid but got a bit unlucky and couldn't close out rival Oklahoma, and of course then they went to Dallas and got strip-sacked with a minute left. Go ahead and try to convince OSU fans that bowls don't really matter right now.

Missouri, meanwhile, gets to bask for a little while. For the second time in the Gary Pinkel era, the Tigers will finish ranked in the top 6 (or so) in the polls. For the second time in the Pinkel era, Mizzou made the "Final Four" of sorts, coming within a single win of the national title game. In their second year in the SEC, they have finished with a better record than Alabama and might finish higher in the polls, too. (I'm not going to try to guess how the No. 2 through 8 spots are going to take shape just yet, so I'm being conservative.)

We are still waiting to see what the 2014 team looks like; there are still a couple more spots to fill in the 2014 recruiting class, and we don't yet know Henry Josey's stay-or-go-pro decision. But in the coming days, we'll do a little basking. Enjoy.

Recaps No. 9 Mizzou Outlasts No. 13 OSU 41-31 in Cotton Bowl Cotton Bowl Post-Game Notes
The Trib: Cotton Bowl kings
The Trib (Behind the Stripes): Sam sack leads to decisive score in 41-31 Missouri win over Oklahoma State in the Cotton Bowl
The Missourian: Missouri football defeats Oklahoma State 41-31 in Cotton Bowl
The Missourian: Cotton Bowl champs: Missouri players celebrate with thanks and sleepless night
Post-Dispatch: Mizzou survives wild Cotton Bowl
KC Star: Sam’s sack, Ray’s return lift Missouri to 41-31 Cotton Bowl win over Oklahoma State
KC Star: Cotton Bowl report: Missouri 41, Oklahoma State 31
PowerMizzou: A Fitting End
PowerMizzou: The Day After
PowerMizzou: Cotton Bowl notebook (Campus Union): Henry Josey, Mizzou snatch Cotton Bowl win over Oklahoma State
The Tempo-Free Gridiron: Week 19: Friday In-Game Win Probabilities


PowerMizzou: The Sideline View
Mizzou Network: HIGHLIGHTS Mizzou defeats OSU 41-31 in the 2014 Cotton Bowl
Mizzou Network: COTTON BOWL HIGHLIGHT Andrew Baggett gives Mizzou a 27-24 lead
Mizzou Network: COTTON BOWL HIGHLIGHT Braylon Webb's Interception
Mizzou Network: COTTON BOWL HIGHLIGHT Marcus Lucas TD makes it 14-7 Mizzou
Mizzou Network: COTTON BOWL HIGHLIGHT EJ Gaines Interception
Mizzou Network: POSTGAME REPORT: Max Copeland after the Cotton Bowl Win
Mizzou Network: POSTGAME INTERVIEW: Shane Ray on the Cotton Bowl Win

The other side

Daily Oklahoman: Cotton Bowl: Late fumble return for TD lifts Missouri past Oklahoma State, 41-31
Daily Oklahoman: Cotton Bowl hasn't been kind to Oklahoma State
Daily Oklahoman: Cotton Bowl report card: Grades reflect Cowboys difficult night
Daily Oklahoman: Cotton Bowl: Fox crew agrees with pivotal interference call against OSU
Daily Oklahoman: Cotton Bowl: Clunker of a Cotton Bowl ending draws close to disappointing OSU season
Daily Oklahoman: Cotton Bowl: What they're saying about OSU's Cotton Bowl loss
Daily Oklahoman: Cotton Bowl: Oklahoma State offense stumbles out of gates, can't produce in final minutes
Daily Oklahoman: Cotton Bowl: Big 12 sure could have used a Cowboy victory
Daily Oklahoman: Cotton Bowl: Cowboys' defense hung tough for most of the game


KC Star: Missouri had to win this game to make this season special (Oh, BS.)Post-Dispatch (Burwell): At last, a happy ending for Tigers on a big stage : Sports


Post-Dispatch: Tigers have firepower and look to reload next season
The Missourian: Missouri football left with holes to fill, attitude to build on in 2014