OU-OSU matchup returns to yesteryear
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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
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.
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.
Oklahoma State’s Taylor Cornelius rushes in the fourth quarter of the game against the University of Texas in Stillwater on Oct. 27.