Originally posted on Fox Sports Arizona  |  Last updated 12/4/11
PHOENIX -- Maybe the Davey O'Brien Award ceremony should be held in the Valley, too. Three of the top quarterbacks in the nation, including top Heisman candidate Andrew Luck of Stanford, will play in the Fiesta and Insight bowl games here this season. Luck and pass-happy Brandon Weeden will oppose each other in the Fiesta Bowl, when No. 4 Stanford meets No. 3 Oklahoma State on Jan. 2. Luck opened the season as the Heisman favorite and has done nothing to diminish his chances, breaking John Elways school record for career touchdown passes while leading the Cardinal to an 11-1 season. Oklahoma State also is 11-1, and some believe that either Fiesta team would be a better opponent for No. 1 LSU in BCS championship game than No. 2 Alabama, which played and lost an overtime game at home to LSU on Nov. 5. We certainly wanted to play in that (BCS title game)," Cowboys coach Mike Gundy said. "Let's put that to rest. Our team is very excited in being in the Fiesta Bowl." Quarterback Landry Jones will lead Oklahoma (9-3) the Insight Bowl on Dec. 30 against repeat visitor Iowa, which is unranked this year but won the Insight Bowl last year, beating Missouri and quarterback Blaine Gabbert, a first-round pick in the NFL draft. The Sooners also will be making their second straight trip to the Valley after beating Connecticut, 48-20, in the Fiesta Bowl last season. Landry was named the MVP in that game after passing for 429 yards and three touchdowns. Iowa (7-5, 4-4 in the Big Ten) was chosen by the Insight Bowl over troubled Penn State (9-3, 6-2). Luck, a fourth-year junior who surprised many by opting to stay in school rather than enter the NFL draft last May, has passed for 3,170 yards and 35 touchdowns while throwing only nine interceptions. His passer rating is 167.5. Weeden, a senior who plays in a more pass-oriented attack than Luck, completed 379 passes, fourth in the NCAA, for 4,328 yards with 34 touchdowns with 12 interceptions. Only Houstons Case Keenum and the UAs Nick Foles threw for more yards. Stanford, which did not play in the Valley this season, had its second consecutive 10-victory season, a school first. The Cardinal had a 17-game winning streak stopped in a 53-30 loss to Oregon on Nov. 12. Stanford will make its first appearance in the Fiesta Bowl. Oklahoma State won its first 10 games before falling to Iowa State 37-31 in double overtime on Nov. 18. The Cowboys have made one previous Fiesta Bowl appearance, beating BYU, 16-6, on Dec. 28, 1974, the bowls four year. Jones, a junior, has thrown for 4,302 yards and 28 touchdowns this season, although the Sooners closed their season with a 44-10 loss to Oklahoma State in the annual Bedlam game Saturday. Oklahoma would have made the Fiesta Bowl as the Big 12 champion had it won that game. Iowa lost three of its last five games but had a notable victory against Michigan, beating the Wolverines 24-16 on Nov. 5 with a game-ending goal-line stand. The Stanford-Oklahoma State game marks only the second time that the Fiesta has matched teams ranked 3-4 in the final poll. The first came when in 2002, when No. 3 Oregon beat No. 4 Colorado 38-16. Oregon was ranked No. 2 in the AP poll and Colorado was ranked No. 3 before the BCS bowl standings were released, but both were left out of the national championship game in favor of Nebraska, a team that Colorado buffaloed 62-36 in the final regular-season game.
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