There is Bedlam in college football, but for how long?
At the 2022 Big 12 Media Days, Oklahoma State head coach Mike Gundy had some candid remarks about the state of college football, and the history of the “Bedlam” game in particular.
Gundy said “Bedlam’s history. Bedlam is not gonna be Bedlam after they (Oklahoma) leave the conference. The traditions of college football are gone. You adapt and change and deal with it or you get out of the game if you don’t like it.”
“This is big business now. And the traditions that we all embraced, and not just football but other traditions that have to do with college athletics, they’re gone now. The people in charge that are paying the bills that are trying to get out of debt, are more interested in long-term financial security than they are in traditions. — Mike Gundy
Gundy’s remarks are even more telling when you consider that Gundy has a 3–14 career record in the Bedlam series. But Oklahoma State is coming off a 37–33 win over the Sooners last season, the Cowboys first win over OU since 2014.
The Birth of a Rivalry
Oklahoma leads the Bedlam series with 90–19–7 record, a rivalry that began in 1904 and has been played annually since 1910. That first game, four years into the 20th century, resulted in a 75–0 win by the Sooners.
The longest winning streak in the series is 19 games by Oklahoma from 1946–1964.
In fact, Oklahoma State didn’t score a single point in the first 8 games of the rivalry.
Here we take a look at some of the best games in the history of Bedlam:
1988: Oklahoma 31 — Oklahoma State 28
The Cowboys faced a 4th down and 1 yard situation, but a personal foul call on OSU pushed them back to the 34 yard-line. QB Mike Gundy fired a pass to the end zone to an open receiver (TE Brent Parker), but the pass bounced off of Parker’s hands and the Sooners escaped with the narrow victory.
RB Barry Sanders rushed for 215 yards and 2 TDs on his way to winning the Heisman Trophy.
2001: Oklahoma State 16 — Oklahoma 13
The Cowboys were facing a losing season at 3–7 in head coach Les Miles’s first season, while the Sooners were 10–1 and the defending national champions.
OSU scored the go-ahead touchdown with less than 2 minutes left in the game. On the ensuing Oklahoma possession, the Sooners attempted a Hail Mary pass, but it was intercepted to seal the victory for Oklahoma State.
The loss kept the Sooners from a repeat appearance in the national championship game and the conference title game.
2014: #15 Oklahoma State 38 — #18 Oklahoma 35 OT
The Cowboys were down 28–14 at halftime. But the Cowboys came roaring back, outscoring the Sooners 21–7 in the 2nd half and holding them scoreless in the 4th quarter.
Oklahoma State’s Tyreek Hill returned a punt 92 yards for a touchdown with seconds left in regulation to tie the game at 35 all.
In the overtime period, OSU converted a 21-yard field goal to win the game.
2017: #18 Oklahoma 62 — #11 Oklahoma State 52
This was the highest-scoring game in the history of Bedlam.
The game was tied 38–38 at halftime, but OSU was outscored 24–14 in the 2nd half.
Both teams combined for 1446 yards of total offense and gained a combined 62 first downs.
OU QB Baker Mayfield passed for 598 yards and 5 TDs. OSU QB Mason Rudolph passed for 448 yards and 5 TDs but did throw 2 INTs. Cowboys RB Justice Hill carried the rock 30 times for 228 yards and 2 TDs. He averaged 7.6 yard per rush.
The Sooners were leading 55–52 when Rudolph threw an INT, dashing the hopes of a Cowboys comeback. A late Oklahoma TD sealed the 10-point victory.
2011: #3 Oklahoma State 44 — #13 Oklahoma 10
The Cowboys led the entire game. Both teams combined for 46 first downs and 853 total yards.
But the Sooners committed 5 turnovers (3 fumbles, 2 INTs).
The Cowboys rushed for 278 yards and 4 touchdowns:
- RB Joseph Randle: 19 carries, 151 yards, 2 TDs, 7.9 yards per carry.
- RB Jeremy Smith: 10 carries, 119 yards, 2 TDs, 11.9 yards per carry.
1969: Oklahoma 28 — Oklahoma State 27
Sooners QB Steve Owens (Heisman Trophy winner) carried 55 times for 261 yards, a NCAA record at the time. But a sack of OSU QB Bob Cutburth on a 2-point conversion attempt secured the victory for the Sooners.
1985: Oklahoma 13 — Oklahoma State 0
This game was played on a 100-yard block of ice in sub-freezing temperatures.
It was 27 degrees with a wind-chill of 10 degrees. At halftime, it had dropped to 23 degrees and a wind-chill of -4.
Both teams combined for 11 fumbles, with OSU losing two of those.
Oklahoma somehow managed to score the only touchdown of the game, a 3-yard run by RB Spencer Tillman. They also added two field goals in the “chilling” victory.
Yes, the landscape of college football is changing faster than you can say conference realignment. There are 41 days until kick off of week zero.
At least college football will retain some semblance of the past, at least for the next two years, while the Big Ten, the PAC-12, and possibly the ACC beg, borrow, and steal in the name of expansion, billions of dollars in T.V. contracts, and self-preservation.
And what about the traditions and rivalries of college football that have been around for 100 years? Will they all fall by the wayside, will any be preserved?
Only the true powers that be in college football can answer that question.
Thanks for reading.
Material for this article was sourced from:
“As the college football enterprise intensifies, Mike Gundy declares: ‘Bedlam’s history’ by Guerin Emig, tulsaworld.com, July 14, 2022.
“Bedlam’s best: The biggest moments in the Oklahoma-Oklahoma State rivalry”, by Sam Khan Jr., ESPN staff writer, ESPN.com, November 20, 2020.
BEDLAM 100 OSU at OU 1985: The Ice Bowl: “Absolutely miserable” playing in the deep freeze Sooners and Cowboys slipped, slid, and shivered as temperatures dropped”, by Berry Tramel, The Oklahoman, November 25, 2005.
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