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Decoding the mystery of Bedlam football 2012

No one has a clue what will happen on Owen Field on Saturday. Berry Tramel takes a look at what we don't know about what might happen.
by Berry Tramel Published: November 23, 2012

NORMAN — Bedlam football 2012 arrives Saturday. A series that once sported a script chiseled in cement this season offers mystery.

No one has a clue what will happen on Owen Field. An OU blowout? A commanding OSU victory? A nail-biter in the fourth quarter dusk?

Any of the scenarios is believable, befitting a wacky college football season in which Notre Dame and Kansas State, neither in the preseason top 20, have inhabited the No. 1 rankings the last two weeks, while the preseason top team, Southern Cal, is headed for its fifth loss. And oh yeah, the Heisman Trophy might be won by a Texas A&M freshman.

And now you can't even count on Bedlam. Time was, OU-OSU football was automatic, so long as the Sooners had a Rushmore coach.

Under Bud Wilkinson, Barry Switzer and Bob Stoops, OU was 43-3 against OSU. Then came the 44-10 shellacking the Cowboys delivered last December. Followed by a strange 2012 season in which the Sooners have alternated between impressive and exasperating, while the Cowboys have gotten better and better despite three quarterback changes mandated by injury.

So going into OSU-OU, look at what we don't know:

* Does OU's customary home-field advantage still hold?

The Cowboys have played poorly on the road this season — losses at Arizona and K-State, a narrow win at Kansas. But the Sooners have lost three of their eight home games, after starting 74-2 under Stoops.

The last time the Sooners played on Owen Field, they survived Baylor 42-34.

“It's hard to win on the road anyway, but it's harder to win on the road against teams who are well-coached and have really good players,” said State offensive coordinator Todd Monken. “Over the last couple years, our place has become difficult to play. Why? Because we have good coaches and good players.”

That helps on the road, too.

* We don't know which team has the better defense. In September, the Sooners held K-State and Collin Klein to 17 offensive points, while OSU gave up 636 total yards and 52 offensive points to Arizona.

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by Berry Tramel
Berry Tramel, a lifelong Oklahoman, sports fan and newspaper reader, joined The Oklahoman in 1991 and has served as beat writer, assistant sports editor, sports editor and columnist. Tramel grew up reading four daily newspapers — The Oklahoman,...
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