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The Cactus Bowl is just the Cactus Bowl...or not.

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A lost season was saved by a burned redshirt and a miracle punt return in Bedlam. But there is still much at stake in the Arizona desert, for this season and beyond.

Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports

Think about it.

If Daxx Garman isn't concussed vs Texas, he definitely plays in Waco and Norman. Baylor is still a loss, but what about Bedlam?

A losing season, no bowl game, and NOTHING but speculation about 2015. Gundy would NOT be taking selfies with the media, and he likely wouldn't be yapping about Boone and dedication to the program.

All the Gundy "streaks" would have been done, and the offseason would have been nothing but turmoil.

And Gundy was obviously willing to go there in order to save Mason Rudolph's redshirt.

But that didn't happen, and now that we've gotten more than a glimpse of OSU's QB of the future, the lower tier TicketCity Cactus Bowl, sandwiched among some much bigger games, suddenly carries a tremendous amount of weight for the Cowboys.

As for Gundy "streaks," a winning season. OSU made it to a bowl, keeping that string alive, but the even number of games in the regular season resulted in a .500 record. Not a losing season, but not a winning season either. The bowl game outcome will decide that, and while the bowl game streak feels more critical, a winning season is also pretty big, historically speaking.

But the bigger implications point towards 2015.

OU is in turmoil.

UT is still a big question mark.

Kansas State will be the same as long as Snyder is in charge.

West Virginia will likely still be running around in the middle somewhere.

Tech, Iowa State, and KU will stink.

Baylor loses a lot, but I'm pretty sure Briles will reload, then Baylor will shit themselves in another bowl game.

TCU should be in the top 5 in the preseason polls and a strong favorite to win the Big 12.

But Rudolph and the Cactus Bowl outcome could determine whether or not the Cowboys are picked in the middle of the pack again, or as a potential challenger to TCU and Baylor. A strong performance AND a win could launch OSU to a preseason #3 Big 12 ranking. A strong performance and a loss could keep them in the top half of the league's early predictions.

The energy would be extremely positive going into spring ball. Rudolph would definitely be the starter. How could he not be? Based on what the coaches have said, a lot of things improved for the offense over the last two games that had nothing to do with Rudolph.

I don't care what they say, the Reindeer's insertion transformed what the offense looked like, and you can't sell me on anything else. Walsh, always the good soldier when he's not scratching his nuts on the top of BPS on national TV, would be a fantastic backup, the kind that can come in for an injured Wes Lunt and LEAD the team. Daxx would be as good a 3rd string QB as you could have.

Gundy would be answering positive questions from the media, and as we all know, he is WAY better at that than the alternative. No big reason to track down Boone for controversial comments.

Gundy has stated that the team has had the 9 best practices of the season in preparation for Washington, so expectations rise.

So how about you?