This for a team that finished tied for third in the Big 12, and that just a little over a week ago led throughout the game in losing a 51-48 overtime decision to Big 12 co-champ but non-BCS participant Oklahoma.
Some of the Cowboys situation in the bowl selection can be chalked up to being part of a perfect storm in which OU was pushed out of the BCS when MAC champion Northern Illinois finished 15th in the BCS and took the non AQ position and will play Florida State in the Orange Bowl.
That bumped OU to the Cotton, Texas to the Alamo, and the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl (formerly Insight) took TCU. The Holiday chose Baylor as the Bears have never been out to San Diego.
It was a straight geography decision for the Pinstripe Bowl to take West Virginia, and then the Meineke Car Care Bowl of Texas in Houston is run by the same people putting on the OSU-Mississippi State opener next season, and they likely did not want OSU to end the 2012 season and then begin the 2013season there.
All of that activity and circumstances left the Heart of Dallas Bowl.
"I don't know much about Purdue," opened Gundy speaking of the opponent for the game. "I know they finished 6-6. I know that they let their coach go. The bowl was a surprise to us.
"The good thing is we play on January 1st and that lets us have a number of practices with our players before they go home for the break, spend Christmas at home and then bring them back a couple of days afterward and get to Dallas. It's a good trip for our fans and easy for our people to get there and I can't imagine that we wouldn't have a good crowd.
"It's another chance for us to spend some time together as a football team. With the game being played later it does allow us to have more practices and work with some younger players and get ready for the bowl.
"I'm surprised," continued Gundy in discussing how the Cowboys fell down the Big 12 bowl ladder. "Wherever the conference sends us is where we go, and they sent us to this one. I can only say that I'm surprised that we are in this bowl because I heard some feedback from you guys that Alamo and then aftet that one is Buffalo Wild Wings and then San Diego.
"We finished tied for third in the league, correct? I don't have a clue to know why we fell. I wouldn't know where to start (in trying to figure it out)"
Gundy was also questioned about his activities during the day as rumors were flying that he spoke with Tennessee officials, perhaps athletic director Dave Hart, about the open Volunteers head coaching position.
There were reports a plane from Tennessee landed in Stillwater. An executive jet was sitting on the tarmac at Stillwater Municipal Airport as late as 6:30 p.m.
Gundy would not speak about any possible talks with Tennessee or any other schools.
"Out of respect to all people involved I didn't want to speak about other jobs," said Gundy, who when asked said he spent the day, an off day for the football program, doing things around the house. "Some of our staff left to go recruiting today and the rest going out will be out tomorrow."
Gundy was asked several times about the rumors of the interview with Tennessee. He repeated his answer before finally just saying he would only talk about the bowl game.
There were internet reports that Oklahoma State athletic director Mike Holder had said he had not been contacted by Tennessee asking permission to speak with Gundy about the Vols football coaching job.
It is expected that Gundy will be on the road recruiting this week. Oklahoma State has 18 verbal commitments at this point with several important prospects hanging in the balance, including a pair of junior college defensive ends expected to make official visits over the next week.
Oklahoma State is also recruiting and expected to get visits from top national wide receiver Laquon Treadwell of Crete-Monee, Ill., and highly regarded running back and current Alabama commitment Altee Tenpenny of North Little Rock, Ark.
Obviously, these are some interesting times in Stillwater even though the regular season is over and the bowl game is just short of a month away.