The winner of Bedlam is the Big 12 Champion- that's it. Plain and simple.
Although Saturday's Beldam game between Oklahoma State and Oklahoma is deeply rooted in rivalry, Bob Stoops and the Sooners are zeroing in on the winner-take-conference-championship game that's on the line.
"It's exciting that here we are at the last game of the year with both of us playing for the championship," said OU head coach Bob Stoops at his weekly press conference Monday.
"It will be a tough challenge going back-to-back years to Stillwater against a really good football team that's had a great year. They're coming off the one loss just a week ago but a team that's really played well," added Stoops.
"We are pretty excited to play. Any time you have a chance to play and win the Big 12 Championship, and to take that picture in their stadium, and to do it in that fashion is always exciting," said OU running back Roy Finch. "It is going to be a good experience and a great atmosphere as it always is. We just have to use that energy to our advantage. All of the negative things that they are going to say to us, we are just going to feed off of and play well."
One thing the Cowboys pride themselves on, that the Sooners will have to limit is turnovers. The OSU defense leads the country with 37 forced turnovers. Not to mention they are second in the country with 21 interceptions and are sixth in the country with 16 fumble recoveries.
"Their defense is very active and they lead the conference in turnovers; they survive off turnovers. As for us, we just have to be consistent in the running game, control the crowd, control the line of scrimmage and not give them easy touchdowns or easy plays," said Finch. "We just have to play our game, not turn the ball over and protect Landry (Jones) and I feel like we will have a lot of success."
"Defensively (OSU is) very disciplined and sound and has made a ton of turnovers which has been one of the bigger factors in their season so it will be important for us to protect the football, and not turn it over," said Stoops.
The Sooners will also need to successfully manage the Cowboys' offensive production.
The Cowboys enter the game second in the nation in passing yards per game with 401.6 and OSU also ranks second in points scored per game with 49.8.
"Their production offensively has really been special- throwing the ball, but they still can run the football effectively," said Stoops.
Stoops also talked about the importance of pressure and coverage of quarterback Brandon Weeden.
"We need to be able to cover people, to be in the zones we are supposed to be in and to have some discipline and responsibility with where we're going," added Stoops. "We need to do a good job of understanding and studying where they like to go and then hopefully to get pressure—to force him (Brandon Weeden) to move his feet or to throw the ball sometimes before he wants to."
"He's going to make plays and we've got do our best and not ride the wave; just stick it out and play the caliber of defense we know we're capable of," said OU defensive end R.J. Washington.
"He is very smart in going through his read progressions and seeing the spacing and throwing the football. You can tell he is really comfortable in what they are asking him to do. He's had an excellent year," added Stoops. "Defensively we have to play really sound football and first take away the run game and then hopefully cover well and get to the quarterback."
"There are not many people being stopped totally overall, so I think it's fair to say that it's (about) containing them," said Stoops
Another outside factor in Saturday's game will be the weather. The forecast calls for game time temperatures in the 30's with wind chills in the 20's and rain likely. The win will also be a concern with gusts expected in excess of 25 mph.
"Depending on the weather, you will have to deal and manage the weather in the proper way too," said Stoops.
Nevertheless, with the championship and Bedlam bragging rights on the line, Saturday's showdown in Stillwater will be one of the best matchups of the season—something the players and coaches are looking forward to.
"They (the players) understand that we've played nine games really pretty well and we've played two pretty poor. As poor as we've played in those, we're not off from having a chance to win. In the end we know we'll have to play well. This group is a confident group in that they know what we were able to do a year ago," said Stoops. "We will have to do it better here this year, but can they? They believe they can and they're working towards that."
"It's Bedlam, against OSU, and for the Big 12 Championship. There are a lot of emotions behind it, but emotions are only going to get you about five minutes into the game; from there, your preparation takes over," said Washington. "You really can't get caught up into the hype. That excitement is cool and all, but we still have to go out there and do what needs to be done to win."
"We simplify it," said Stoops. "It's about execution and a game you gotta play and win."