Oklahoma Football: Sooners Have Dominated Bedlam Rivalry

In the 110-year history of the Bedlam Series, many conference championships have been decided in football and other sports, and next Saturday’s showdown on the gridiron between Oklahoma and Oklahoma State is another one of them.

Nov 28, 2015; Stillwater, OK, USA; Oklahoma State Cowboys head coach Mike Gundy (right) shakes hands with Oklahoma Sooners head coach Bob Stoops following the game at Boone Pickens Stadium. The Sooners defeated the Cowboys 58-23. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

On Saturday at Gaylord Family-Oklahoma Memorial Stadium in Norman, the 21st Big 12 football champion will be crowned. Were this next year, however, Saturday’s game would merely serve as a prelude to a Big 12 championship game in Dallas seven days later pitting the same two schools, regardless of the outcome of the earlier game.

This year will be the fourth time in the last six seasons that one or both of these teams have been playing for a conference title when the Bedlam game was contested on the final weekend of the regular season.

Ironically, that is the same time frame since the last Big 12 championship game was played. It also may be the last time for the immediate future that the Bedlam series in football is scheduled for the final weekend of the regular season, in an effort to avoid having a championship rematch the very next weekend between the same two teams.

Even though much has been at stake in recent seasons when Oklahoma and Oklahoma State have met in football, the all-time rivalry series between the two schools has been heavily dominated by the Sooners, and that goes for the 20 years both have been members of the Big 12 Conference, as well.

Oklahoma’s overall record against the Cowboys in football is an overwhelming 85-18-7. The Sooners are 14-6 vs. Oklahoma State as members of the Big 12 and 13-3, including eight consecutive wins from 2003 to 2010, under Bob Stoops.

Oklahoma State does have three wins in Norman, however, in nine games there in the Big 12 era, including a 38-35 win in overtime on the Cowboys’ last visit, in 2014.

Sooner fans will not soon forget the 2014 Bedlam game, when, with under 60 seconds remaining in regulation and the Sooners leading by seven points, Stoops elected to re-punt following a defensive penalty on Oklahoma State.

The initial punt attempt was caught for a fair catch on the Cowboys’ 15-yard line, but on the Sooners’ second punt attempt, after the penalty, former Oklahoma State speedster Tyreek Hill returned it 92 yards for a game-tying touchdown. Oklahoma State went on to win the game in overtime when the Sooners’ Michael Hunnicutt missed a 44-yard field goal and Oklahoma State’s Ben Grogan was successful on one from 22 yards out. Hill is now wreaking similar havoc on NFL opponents as a rookie with the Kansas City Chiefs.

Nov 28, 2015; Stillwater, OK, USA; Oklahoma Sooners running back Samaje Perine (left) runs into the end zone for a touchdown against the Oklahoma State Cowboys in the second quarter at Boone Pickens Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

In five of the last six Bedlam games in football, both teams have come into the game ranked in the nation’s top 25. That is the case again this season, with Oklahoma ranked No. 7 in the latest Associated Press Poll, and Oklahoma at No. 11 in the same poll.

Since the Big 12 was formed, one or both of these teams has been ranked in 14 of the 20 previous Bedlam games. In eight of the games, both Oklahoma and Oklahoma State have been ranked.

The very first Bedlam football game between Oklahoma and what was then known as Oklahoma A&M was played in Guthrie, Okla., approximately halfway between the two campuses. The Sooners were the winners in that first game, 75-0, as well as in the next 10 games to follow between the two schools.

The combined score in the first eight football games contested between Oklahoma and Oklahoma State was 257-0 in favor of OU.

Although I’m fairly certain the origin of “Bedlam” did not go all the way back to the early part of the 20th century, I would not doubt that was the way the Oklahoma A&M partisans may have felt about the annual football game with the University of Oklahoma until A&M garnered its first victory in the series in 1917 after 11 consecutive losses.

Oklahoma would go on to win five of the next six games in the series (one game ended in a tie) before Oklahoma A&M defeated the Sooners in 1924 for just the second time in 19 games.

Not that difficult to comprehend how Oklahoma has built such a wide advantage in the all-time series after starting out 16-2-1 through the first 19 games. Oklahoma also has had winning streaks of 19 games (from 1946 to 1964) and 24 of 25 games (from 1967 to 1991) vs. now Oklahoma State in Bedlam football.

Saturday’s game for all the Big 12 marbles is the 12th Bedlam game with Bob Stoops and Mike Gundy as head coaches. Oklahoma has prevailed in nine of those 11 previous matchups.

Gundy also was involved in this rivalry, though, as a former quarterback at Oklahoma State and for 10 seasons after that as an assistant coach. His record against the Sooners as a player and assistant coach wasn’t much better: three wins, 10 losses and a tie.

That brings us to this week – championship week in college football and also in the Big 12 – and the 111th game in Bedlam football. Watch for a preview of the game as well as a prediction on Friday.

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