BED­LAM REDUX

OU-OSU matchup re­turns to yes­ter­year

The Oklahoman - - FRONT PAGE - Berry Tramel btramel@ok­la­homan.com

No Big 12 cham­pi­onship on the line. No ESPN “Col­lege GameDay.” No na­tional buzz. Bed­lam foot­ball re­turns to yes­ter­year.

The Soon­ers and Cow­boys meet on Owen Field, 2:30 p.m. Satur­day kick­off, with an old-school feel. OU in na­tional cham­pi­onship con­tention; OSU in strict spoiler mode.

“You do the same thing if you’re play­ing in the sand­lot and no­body’s watch­ing,” OSU coach Mike Gundy said of his play­ers. “If you don’t feel that way, you shouldn’t sign up … they’ll be ex­cited to play in this game. They are go­ing to pre­pare and work their butt off.”

The Soon­ers have lived up to their nor­mal stan­dards this sea­son. The Cow­boys have not. OU is 8-1 and ranked sixth by the Col­lege Foot­ball Play­off com­mit­tee. OSU is 5-4 and scratch­ing to get the sixth win needed for bowl el­i­gi­bil­ity.

That’s quite a come­down for Bed­lam, which in this cen­tury has be­come a na­tion­ally rel­e­vant ri­valry, even if the Soon­ers dom­i­nate.

“GameDay,” ESPN’s iconic pregame show, has set up shop for Bed­lam six times in

the past 15 years. Since that time, 2003 on, only Alabama-LSU (eight times) and Ohio StatePenn State (seven) have been selected more. No other game — not Alabama-Auburn, not Michi­gan-Ohio State, not OU-Texas — has been picked more than four times.

But the stakes are mostly on the Sooner side Satur­day, like they were through most of the 20th cen­tury. Can the Cow­boys spoil OU’s cham­pi­onship hopes, as they did in 2001 and dang near did in 2000, back in the days when Bed­lam was a sleepy one-sided ri­valry that car­ried lit­tle in­trigue be­yond state lines?

“They’re an in­ter­est­ing team right now,” OU coach Lin­coln Ri­ley said, show­ing some diplo­macy. “Very, very tal­ented. They are just a play here or there away from prob­a­bly hav­ing the kind of year that they would want to be hav­ing right now.”

Well, that’s not quite true. The Cow­boys are 1-2 in games that went to the wire, but they were avalanched by Texas Tech and Kansas State. The Soon­ers are 1-1 in games de­cided by a touch­down or less. And both teams’ de­fenses have been leaky, which can pro­duce in­ter­est­ing scores.

Check out the re­cent Bed­lam fi­nals: 62-52 in 2017, 58-23 in 2015, 38-35 (OSU) in over­time in 2014, 51-48 in over­time in 2012, 47-41 in 2010, 61-41 in 2008.

Any­more, Bed­lam gets wild, no mat­ter the stakes. That’s not likely to change, even with a re­turn to yes­ter­year. Berry Tramel: Berry can be reached at 405-760-8080 or at btramel@ok­la­homan.com. He can be heard Mon­day through Fri­day from 4:405:20 p.m. on The Sports An­i­mal ra­dio net­work, in­clud­ing FM-98.1. You can also view his per­son­al­ity page at new­sok.com/ berry­tramel.

Go to Ok­la­homan.com to watch a video about Bed­lam

[PHOTO BY SARAH PHIPPS, THE OK­LA­HOMAN AR­CHIVES]

Ok­la­homa State’s Tyreek Hill runs a punt back to tie the game dur­ing Bed­lam in 2014 at Gay­lord Fam­ily—Ok­la­homa Me­mo­rial Sta­dium in Nor­man.

[PHOTO BY NATE BILLINGS, THE OK­LA­HOMAN AR­CHIVES]

OSU re­ceiver Rashaun Woods goes for a touch­down catch in front of OU’s Der­rick Strait in the fourth quar­ter dur­ing Bed­lam in 2001. Woods made the catch to win the game.

[PHOTO BY SARAH PHIPPS, THE OK­LA­HOMAN]

Ok­la­homa State’s Tay­lor Cor­nelius rushes in the fourth quar­ter of the game against the Uni­ver­sity of Texas in Still­wa­ter on Oct. 27.

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