This Bedlam game is big.
How big is it?
So big it needs a nickname.
No, this isn't some sort of trick. The Oklahoma-Oklahoma State game is already called Bedlam, and it's always a big deal. Any contest between Sooners and Cowboys is. Doesn't matter what sport. Doesn't matter what year.
But there are times when the build up for this rivalry goes beyond special to sublime.
That happens when there's something more than bragging rights on the line, and if these teams continue their winning ways, there's going to be much, much more up for grabs when the Sooners and Cowboys meet that first weekend in December. To the victor could go the Big 12 title and a spot in BCS national championship game.
Never before in the BCS era have we had a Bedlam where both teams have been playing for a shot at a national title.
That makes this year's Bedlam different.
That's why this game needs a nickname.
Over the next week, we want you to help us “Name The Game”. Offer your suggestions. State your case. Then, vote online for your favorite.
This contest going to be grand fun. Heck, it already has been. I did a soft opening of sorts Tuesday on my blog as well as Twitter and Facebook, and the suggestions poured in.
Some played off the fact that the BCS national championship game is in New Orleans this year. Bedlam for Bourbon Street. Bayou or Bust. Bourbon Bedlam.
Some were based off current events. Occupy New Orleans. Occupy Hall of Fame Street.
Hey, who says sports fans aren't up on the news of the day?
But most of the suggestions hit on the magnitude of the game. Armabedlam. Hypocalypse Now. B-Day.
This is fun stuff.
Listen, I know some people probably think we're playing with fire here. Both teams have to win their next five games to make this the Biggest Bedlam Ever, so talking about this game when it's more than a month away seems risky.
Potential pitfalls for OU include road games at Kansas State and Baylor, though both seem completely and totally winnable. A home game against Texas A&M might be more troublesome if not for the fact that the Sooners always beat the Aggies in Norman.
OSU has road games at Missouri, Texas Tech and Iowa State — Ames in late November could be a winter wonderland — but the Cowboys have become so good on the road that none of those games throws up a huge red flag. The same goes for home games against Baylor and Kansas State.
No doubt upsets happen, and yet I like our chances of having a pair of undefeated teams at Boone Pickens Stadium.
It'll be so nice, we're going to name it twice.
Just because we're giving this year's edition of the rivalry a special name doesn't mean the Bedlam nickname is out the door. We'll call it Bedlam. We'll call it the OU-OSU game. But we'll also call it whatever clever name wins our fun-and-games contest.
It's not like this is unprecedented. Auburn has two mascots, for crying out loud, the Tigers and War Eagle. And what about the Netherlands? The country is also known as Holland. And the people who live there? They're known as the Dutch.
If that's allowed, surely the 2011 edition of Bedlam game can have a nickname.
We're just trying to have a little fun here, and here's the plan — we will take your submissions through Monday morning, narrow down the list, then have online voting through midday Wednesday.
And much like this Bedlam game, more than bragging rights are on the line with our “Name The Game” contest. To the winner goes lunch not only on us but with us. You'll be treated to lunch with The Oklahoman's sports columnists, Berry Tramel and yours truly.
(Hey, at least it's a free meal!)
This year's edition of Bedlam is so big that one nickname just isn't enough.
So, what's it going to be?
“Name The Game” Contest
This Bedlam game is so big that one nickname just won't do. We want to hear from you about what this year's edition of the instate rivalry game should be called.
Send your submissions to firstname.lastname@example.org. The deadline is 9 a.m. Monday. By Monday afternoon, an online poll will be posted on NewsOK.com, and the voting will be open until noon Wednesday.
The winner will be announced Thursday.
What's in a name?
The Bedlam series might be best known in football and basketball, but legend has it that it that the nickname has its roots in wrestling.
After a particularly heated dual at Gallagher Hall between the Cowboys and the Sooners, a newspaper writer is said to have walked out of the building and declared to fans milling around, “It's bedlam in there!” The nickname stuck, and soon, it applied not only to wrestling but also to every sport involving the two schools.
The exact date of that wrestling dual is not known, but considering the tales of massive, standing-room crowds in the 30s and 40s, it's safe to say the Bedlam nickname has been around for decades.
Names for The Game
Here's a look at a few early suggestions for our “Name The Game” contest:
Bayou or Bust
Occupy New Orleans
Shootout at the OK State Corral
The Mother of All Bedlams
For a more complete list, check out Jenni Carlson's blog at blog.newsok.com/jennicarlson.