Oklahoma-Oklahoma St. Preview

For Oklahoma State, the annual showdown with Oklahoma has

usually had Big 12 championship implications over the past

decade.

The Cowboys have shelved the role as spoiler, however: This

year, it’s Oklahoma State’s turn to play with everything on the

line.

The 10th-ranked Cowboys (10-1, 6-1 Big 12) head into Saturday

night’s Bedlam game against No. 14 Oklahoma (9-2, 5-2) with a

one-game lead in the Big 12 South standings. They can clinch their

first berth in the conference championship game with a victory and

are even a slim favorite for a change.

Still, some of OSU’s players are sticking with the same frame of

mind that’s helped them win 10 games in the regular season for the

first time in school history during what was supposed to be a

rebuilding year.

”I like to think that we’re the underdogs because I like being

the underdogs and I like to do things that people didn’t think we

could do. Beating OU is definitely one of those things,”

cornerback Andrew McGee said Monday.

”I like to think that we are, even though we have the better

record and we’re on top of the Big 12 South. I still like that

David and Goliath type of feeling.”

Oklahoma has certainly been the Goliath, winning 80 of the 104

games in the series and seven in a row. Even when Oklahoma State

was ranked 11th and had a chance to earn an at-large BCS berth last

season, the Sooners were favored by more than a touchdown before

beating the Cowboys 27-0 in Norman.

”I look at it as even, but if I had to say, I believe being the

underdog is all right because we understand that Oklahoma State is

the younger brother of OU,” safety Markelle Martin said. ”So,

there’s always that one time you feel that if you can get your

older brother, you can get that one fight, that’s all you need to

gain respect, to gain the confidence that you need.”

Oklahoma State enters as the higher ranked team for only the

fourth time in series history and most recently beat the Sooners in

2001 and 2002. The first time, it knocked Oklahoma out of the Big

12 and national championship picture. The following year, the

Sooners – who had been ranked No. 3 – still won the Big 12 title

the following week but had any chances at the national championship

snuffed out.

In the years when the Bedlam game has been the regular-season

finale, the Cowboys have never made it to the rivalry with a chance

to play for the Big 12 title. The closest they came was in 2007,

when they could have forced a three-way tie for the South title but

would have lost out in the tiebreaker.

”We don’t even really care. you can call us the underdog, the

favorite. It doesn’t really matter,” defensive end Richetti Jones

said. ”We’re going to go out and play football. They picked us to

be last in the Big 12 at the beginning of the season, so it really

doesn’t matter what they pick or say. We’ve got to go out there and

play football and do what we do best.”

Oklahoma needs a win in Stillwater to reach the Big 12 title

game for the eighth time and pursue a seventh championship. The

Sooners needed wins in each of their last two trips to Stillwater

to reach the title game, which they eventually won.

”We’ve actually been in this situation nine of the last 11

years, so our guys need to embrace it and that’s what we’ve been

doing around here,” Sooners coach Bob Stoops said. ”Hopefully we

can do it again.”

Cowboys coach Mike Gundy said it’s hard to differentiate between

all of the high-stakes Bedlam games over the years, but ”they’re

all pretty big.” This one ranks among the most important, with

something more than bragging rights on the line for both teams.

”This is the high-school rivalry game, whatever you want to

call it: the Clash of the Titans, the big kid on the block,” Jones

said, also suggesting it could be ”the Oklahoma Super Bowl.”

”This is it. Whatever label you want to put on it, this is

it.”

When asked which team fits the ”big kid on the block

description” this year, he said: ”We will see after

Saturday.”