SAN ANTONIO — In recent college football history, very few teams have been as good, or as consistent at Oklahoma State.

While the Cowboys don't get the national attention that powers such as Alabama, Ohio State and Oklahoma get, coach Mike Gundy's crew has been among the elite.

Coming into the Thursday's Valero Alamo Bowl, the Cowboys (9-3, No. 12 College Football Playoff, No. 13 Associated Press) are hungry to reach the 10-win plateau once again.

"Any time you can hit double-digit wins at this level, it's huge," OSU offensive lineman Zach Crabtree said. "Not many people in the country win 10 games a year, and so this game has big-time implications on it for us. We want this 10th win. It means a lot.

"It just puts you in elite company, and we're there, and we want to stay there."

Oklahoma State has not really been in the national title hunt in recent years, but the Cowboys' consistency has been impressive.

Gundy, in his 12th season, is 103-50 at Oklahoma State with seven top-two Big 12 finishes in the last eight years.

Prior to 2010, the Cowboys had not produced a 10-win season since 1988. They've now had four 10-win seasons since 2010, and have a chance to become one of 11 teams in the country with five such seasons in that time span.

In addition, Oklahoma State's current streak of 11 consecutive bowl seasons ranks 11th nationally.


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"It's because of these guys (the players) we're in a position where that's the expectation in Stillwater now," defensive coordinator Glenn Spencer said.

Expecting success contributed to standout quarterback Mason Rudolph and receiver James Washington announcing this week that they will return for their senior seasons, rather than leaving early for the NFL.

"I think we would have both been ready (for the NFL), but we also just what college means to us and what we've been enjoying," Rudolph said. "We've been enjoying these first three years, and we know the tremendous talent and opportunity we have next year coming back."

Next year, the Cowboys are expected to once again be in contention for the Big 12 title, which they haven't won since 2011.

Of course, this week, their focus is on beating Colorado and putting a cap on what has been yet another great season.

"In doing this for a long time now, each week is a new challenge," said Gundy, who is 67-23 since 2010. "We're playing a great football team. It's a challenge. We're responsible as coaches to get our players prepared during that time to play the very best that they can. Once it's kicked off, they have to go out and have fun.

"We always want to win, but it's important that they go out and have fun after they've dedicated themselves to the team in preparation for each game."

Brian Howell: howellb@dailycamera.com, on Twitter: @BrianHowell33.