Great College Football Rivalries: Oklahoma vs. Oklahoma State
John David Yonke
Bedlam may be one-sided, but it’s evolved into one of the better rivalries in college football in recent years.
The term “Bedlam” was first mentioned in regards to this series back in 1943, but these teams have been facing off with one another well before then. The first meeting came in 1904, with Oklahoma winning 75-0, a portent of the lopsidedness to come in future meetings.
When it comes to wild events on the football field, few rivalries can come close to Bedlam over the last decade or so.
Big things are expected out of Brent Venables in Year 1, as the Sooners are the favorites at +200 to win the Big 12 in BetMGM’s college football odds. Mike Gundy and the Cowboys have the third-lowest odds in the conference at +550 after reaching the conference championship game in 2021.
Here’s a look at one of the craziest rivalries in the nation, the aptly-named Bedlam:
All-time record: Oklahoma leads 90-19-7
Record in the last ten meetings: Oklahoma leads 8-2
Longest Win Streak: Oklahoma 19 straight
Current Streak: Oklahoma State one game
Best game: Oklahoma 31, Oklahoma State 28 (1988)
This back-and-forth affair will go down in history as one of the great games in Bedlam history. Cowboys running back Barry Sanders had himself a day, finishing with 215 yards and two touchdowns, but it wasn’t enough.
Sanders gave his team a four-point lead in the fourth quarter, but Oklahoma got the ball back and had an infamous touchdown drive. The series was riddled with mishaps, including two recovered fumbles and a first down gained by bumping forward into other teammates. Clunky? Yes, but also somehow effective as the Sooners eventually scored to go ahead by three points with 2:33 remaining.
Oklahoma State got the ball back, and quarterback Mike Gundy had a chance to lead his team to victory. A highly questionable personal foul on a fourth-and-one turned the situation into a fourth-and-16 that Gundy nearly converted. Ultimately, receiver Brent Parker dropped the pass in an agonizing end to this fantastic game.
Biggest upset: Oklahoma State 16, Oklahoma 13 (2001)
Ever heard of the saying that records don’t matter when it comes to rivalry games? The Cowboy proved that saying true in Les Miles’s first year as head coach in 2001, when they entered Bedlam with just a 3-7 record and a true freshman, Josh Fields, at quarterback. That didn’t stop Miles’s team from pulling the upset against a 10-1 Sooners team.
This game came down to the wire, and that true freshman quarterback pulled through. With 1:36 remaining, Fields found Rashaun Woods in the end zone for a game-winning touchdown. The Sooners were held to only 220 total yards as quarterback Nate Hybl completed just 22 of 48 passing attempts with no touchdowns and three interceptions.
Top performer: RB Barry Sanders, Oklahoma State
Sanders won the Heisman Trophy in 1988, and his 215-yard, two-touchdown performance in Bedlam was just one of his many highlights that year. He takes the cake for his dominant performance in one of the classic games of this series.
There have been countless other noteworthy performances over the years. I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention Sooners quarterback Baker Mayfield as an honorable mention for his 598-yard, five-touchdown performance in 2017. That amazing statistical output helped give Oklahoma the 62-52 win and the highest scoring game in Bedlam history.
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