Bedlam Football: Cowboys' Rise Has Added To Bedlam Excitement

Thursday, December 4th 2014, 3:56 pm
By: News 9


That's how Oklahoma defensive end Chuka Ndulue described Bedlam on Monday. He isn't wrong. Three of the past four matchups between the Sooners and the Cowboys have been decided in the final minutes, complete with several completely insane sequences.

The Bedlam series has become exciting over the past decade and a half. And with the decline of Texas, it's become a bigger game for the Sooners over the years than the annual clash with the Longhorns.

But it wasn't always this way.

The Sooners' dominance in this rivalry is well known and something OU fans are very quick to point out. Here's a quick refresher.

Back when the series started in 1903, the Sooners won the first eight matchups by a combined score of 240-0. After a back and forth couple of decades, the Sooners burst onto the national scene thanks to the arrival of Bud Wilkinson as head coach in 1947.

The end of World War II began the one-sidedness of the rivalry. After the war, OSU won three times until a 12-0 win in 1995. Oklahoma State had a lot of success in the series when OU was down in the 1990s, but that changed again once Bob Stoops took over.

But the biggest change in the rivalry has come with OSU's rise as a program. The major upsets in 2001 and 2002 were the foundation for the program the Cowboys have established.

Before 1989, there were exactly six games played between the Sooners and Cowboys where both teams were ranked. Since 2003, both teams have been ranked six times.

Better teams means better games, which of course makes it a better rivalry. The past six years have shown that to be the case.

“Some of the stuff that is going to happen is probably not going to make any sense,” Ndulue said. “Everyone out there is going to give it their all. It's the last game of the regular season. After that, football season is basically over so everyone is going to go out there and give it their all.”

While Bedlam has had its share of weird finishes and wild plays, it has plenty of the characteristics of any rivalry. There's plenty of dislike, especially between the fans. Families are split between the schools; neighbor against neighbor. But like always, the biggest boost in emotion is on the field.

“It doesn't really matter what I see on tape because come Saturday it's going to be another level,” Ndulue said. “It's a rivalry game; it's the last game. Rivalries, you just get the best out of players, especially in-state rivalries. When we get out there, the only I have to remember from what I saw on tape is their offensive tendencies. Besides that, the guy in front of me is going to be playing a lot harder than he usually does.”

Rarely is a rivalry so lopsided and exciting at the same time. But that's what makes Bedlam what it is. It's wild and wacky, but historically one-sided. But over the past decade, the gap between the two schools has shrunk considerably. Maybe the one-sidedness will shrink as well.