By Bruce Campbell, Staff Writer
Enid News and Eagle
ENID, Okla. —
A question to consider for today’s Bedlam Series game: Is the OU-OSU game a better game/rivalry than OU-Texas?
True, there’s only one OU-Texas game, which wins on atmosphere with half the crowd wearing red and the other half orange at the Cotton Bowl and the rustlings of the Texas State Fair.
Texas usually is the program OU measures itself by. Legendary OU coach Bud Wilkinson said whatever he did was with the stipulation of: “Will it help us beat Texas?’’
A majority of OU players are from Texas, so they would have more emotion against the Longhorns.
A number of OU graduates got rich in the Texas oil fields. The OU-Texas game was for bragging rights with their Texas alumni friends, business associates or competitors.
Beat Texas and their wallets are a little more open for a big donation, whether it be for athletics or academics.
Now let’s go to another reality.
The game doesn’t always match the hype.
Current OU coach Bob Stoops has four blowout wins over UT — 63-14 in 2000, 65-13 in 2003, 55-17 in 2011 and 65-20 this season.
Now for Bedlam.
While a majority of the players may be from Texas, the majority of fans are Oklahomans, who live this rivalry 24/7, 365 days of the year.
The typical OU fan in the state may not see a Texas fan, but odds are he or she works for, or with, their brethren from OSU, who probably gave them a little trash talk about the Cowboys’ 44-10 win over the Sooners.
The series record (82-17-7) is misleading. Stoops has two more losses to OSU (3) than Wilkinson (0) and Barry Switzer (1) had combined.
It’s 11-6 OU since 1995. OSU has the financial muscle it lacked in the 20th century.
And there have been some classics with the game not being decided until the final play.
OU won squeakers in 2004 (38-35) and 2006 (27-21) in Stillwater. The Cowboys missed a field goal late that would have tied the game in 2004 and were throwing in the end zone on the final play in 2006 which would have tied the game. OSU would have won with the extra point.
Derrick Strait saved OU’s national championship season in 2000, when he knocked down a pass in the end zone in the 12-7 Sooners win.
The Cowboys got the sweetest revenge the next season when they scored on a similar play in the game’s final moments to upset the Sooners 16-13, knocking OU not only out of national championship contention, but the Big 12 title game as well.
The last two games have decided championships.
The Sooners took the South division with a 47-41 thriller in 2010. Forty points were scored in the final quarter, including 34 in the final 5:53. OU’s Landry Jones had touchdown passes of 86 yards to Cameron Kenney and 76 yards to James Hanna.
Of course, OSU’s 44-10 win last season over the Sooners clinched the Cowboys’ first-ever Big 12 championship. OSU fans swarmed the field in the excitement.
This game could have championship implications. OU can still win the Big 12 outright with a win over OSU and a Kansas State loss to Texas. There would be a three-way tie if OSU beats OU and Baylor next week, K-State loses to Texas and OU would beat TCU.
If OSU wins out, OU loses to TCU and K-State loses to Texas, the Cowboys tie the Wildcats for the championship.
OSU fans got OU’s fans’ goat in 1995 with the bumper sticker Oklahoma State 12 (pointing out the 12-0 OSU win).
OU fans once said they didn’t make a big deal out of beating OSU, but whoever wins Bedlam today will no doubt have T-shirts printed up proclaiming victory.
Was there a better game than 1988 (OU 31, OSU 28) when both OU’s Mike Gaddis and OSU eventual Heisman Trophy winner Barry Sanders both rushed for more than 200 yards?
Phil Cutchin never had a winning season in six years at OSU (1963-68) but he’ll be remembered for beating the Sooners twice — 17-16 in 1965 and 15-14 in 1966. His reward was personalized license plates with those scores.
Whoever wins today will have both the Bedlam bell and bragging rights. We can talk about state pride but let’s face it, OU doesn’t like OSU and OSU doesn’t like OU.
The biggest cheers at OSU are when OU’s losing. There’s no crying in Norman when OSU loses either.
And there’s nothing better than having bragging rights in the state of Oklahoma.
Campbell is a News & Eagle sports writer. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.