Oklahoma-Oklahoma St. Preview
Want to get an Oklahoma football player riled up? Suggest the
Sooners are playing spoilers this Saturday against Oklahoma
The No. 18 Sooners (9-2, 6-2 Big 12) own a lopsided 82-18-7
advantage in the Bedlam series and have beaten the sixth-ranked
Cowboys (10-1, 7-1) in nine of the last 10 years – even as Oklahoma
State’s program has risen considerably in stature during that
This season, however, Oklahoma lost to Texas and Baylor, while
Oklahoma State beat both those teams. A Cowboys win in Stillwater
would clinch a share of the conference title (along with the
Baylor-Texas winner) and send them to a Bowl Championship Series
game for the second time in three years.
“Every week for us has been a big game, and it’s all led up to
the biggest game,” Cowboys senior defensive tackle Calvin Barnett
said. “It feels really good knowing that all the work we’ve put
into it so far is coming out and that the chance is actually
Last weekend’s Big 12 results – Baylor beating TCU and Texas
beating Texas Tech – mean the best Oklahoma can hope for Saturday
is to spoil the Cowboys’ chances and finish in a three-way tie for
second in the league race.
Don’t tell that to Oklahoma center Gabe Ikard, who initially
took offense when asked the spoiler question this week.
“The fact that you call us the spoiler against Oklahoma State,
I’m not even going to answer that,” Ikard said, rolling his
“It’s one of those things, it’s one of the great rivalries in
college football. We all know traditionally the numbers and how
it’s been lopsided, but they played better football than us this
year, there’s no doubt, and (they’re) a team that should be
undefeated. I don’t think that’s a stretch in reality at all.
“They should be undefeated, maybe in the top two or three, so
we’re just happy for the opportunity to go to Stillwater and be
able to play a great game and a great atmosphere. But we don’t see
ourselves as an underdog in this game. Obviously we realize they’re
ranked higher than us and they’re favored when it comes to Vegas
and all that stuff, but we’re still Oklahoma and we’ve done a lot
of special things around here for a long time.”
Oklahoma safety Gabe Lynn also took issue with the “spoiler”
“We’re OU and they’re OSU, so I wouldn’t call it a spoiler
role,” Lynn said. “They’re a good team and they’re having a great
season. We always want to win that game. They’re just another good
team we have to beat.”
The Sooners obviously are not accustomed to being in such a spot
late in the season, one where they can’t win a conference title but
can prevent another team from doing so. Oklahoma hasn’t played the
Cowboys without a Big 12 title at stake since 2009.
Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops acknowledged that reality when asked
if he’d rather be where Oklahoma State is or simply enjoy the
Sooners’ traditional dominance of the series.
“Well, over the last many years, I’d rather have the big
picture, but this week, I’d rather be where they’re at,” Stoops
said. “There’s no denying that. So in the end, sure, we’ve done our
deal, but today is today and that’s all I can think about is what
we want to do this week.”
The chance to potentially end Oklahoma State’s Big 12
championship hopes provided little additional incentive for the
Sooners, Stoops said.
“That may be the lowest form of motivation that a competitor can
have,” he said. “So no, that has nothing to do with how we approach
the game whatsoever. That is a very, very low form of
The good news for the Sooners is that when placed in the role of
spoiler against Oklahoma State, they have succeeded.
In 2009, Oklahoma routed the Cowboys 27-0, ending Oklahoma
State’s legitimate hopes of earning an at-large BCS bid. Of course,
the Cowboys also rolled past the Sooners 44-10 in 2011 in a
showdown for the Big 12 title.
Last season, Oklahoma won a 51-48 thriller. Oklahoma State never
trailed until Oklahoma tailback Brennan Clay scored the winning
touchdown in overtime.
Clay said a win over the Cowboys on Saturday would be a salve of
sorts for his team.
“I believe so,” Clay said. “I don’t believe we’re hurting or
anything. We’ve played some hard, tough games. We had some miscues.
But it’s football. You’re going to have your ups and downs. We’re
going to go into this game treating it like any other. It’s Bedlam.
It’s a big rivalry game. But it’s football.”
Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy, whose younger brother Cale has
served as Oklahoma’s running backs coach since 1999, seems to be
downplaying the identity of the opponent while concentrating on
preparing his players for a talented adversary.
“It’s the same as it has been for a long time, for me,” said
Gundy, who is 1-7 against the Sooners as a head coach, with the
victory sewing up the program’s sole Big 12 championship in 2011.
“The difference in this game and some other rivalries across the
country is that we don’t have professional football in this state,
but just about every game we play now is a big game if we want to
get to the next one.”
Stoops also is far less interested in who his Sooners are
playing Saturday than the fact that it is a big game against a very
“I don’t look at the other team,” Stoops said. “You guys do.
That has nothing to do with us. All I look at is our season and our
team and what improves us, end of story. I have no thought on the
other team, whether it’s Oklahoma State or anyone else.”
After a disappointing 30-21 loss at West Virginia back on Sept.
28, the Cowboys have pretty much rolled, capped by a 49-17 triumph
over then-No. 3 Baylor on Nov. 23.
Oklahoma State’s players, especially those who are natives of
the state and some with former high school teammates on the
Sooners’ roster, don’t want to get too caught up in the Bedlam
excitement. They know what is at stake.
“I know that it’s right in our grasp, but I know that without
preparation and without being focused and having everybody on the
same page, it could easily slip away,” senior safety Daytawion Lowe
said. “I know both teams are going to bring their `A’ game.”