It’s been about 12 hours since the end of the Bedlam thriller Thursday night, and I’ve thought about my column in which I called the game perhaps the greatest atmosphere in Oklahoma sports history.
Sometimes you say things or write things on the fly, then when given time to think about it, wish you had tempered the statement or massaged the message. But in this instant, I think I’m pretty safe.
I’m convinced that the neutrality of the arena is what made it special. No doubt some atsmopheres have been historically electric.
You can recite a dozen OSU games in the Eddie Sutton era. Maybe my all-time favorite was the 1992 Iowa State game. Or the Big Country half-court shot against Missouri in 1994. Or most any Bedlam.
Football at Owen Field, particularly the 2008 Texas Tech game, can be electrifying.
Any Bedlam wrestling dual before, oh, 1986, was totally crazy.
But none of those events matched Bedlam on Thursday night, because all were home-field or home-court affairs. Even in dominant performances — OU-Tech football — the coliseum would have stretches of dead time, because a first down or a 3-pointer or an escape by the opponent would naturally cause an exhale.
There was no exhaling Thursday night. This was OU-Texas football moved to the basketball court. This was the ultimate 50-50 game. Anything good that happened for one team was bad for 50 percent of the fans. And vice versa. We really have never seen anything like it.
It made for a wild, wild ride, and no one in attendance could be disappointed they came.
Yes, it’s unfortunate the game came down to a ref’s whistle. But while it was a whale of a ballgame, it wasn’t an historic ballgame. It was an historic atmosphere.
It all makes you want these schools to do this more often. So I again call for an annual December Bedlam showdown at the Ford Center. Men and women, doubleheader.
College basketball needs a December boost. So boost it. Coaches forever are wanting their programs to get more notoriety in the shadow of football. OK. Do something about it.
Texas coach Rick Barnes this week ripped the Big 12 Tournament, saying it was needless. Perfect example of a coach wanting to get rid of games people care about. The games that need to go are the pre-Christmas games against pushovers.
Those are the games where the atmosphere is dead. That wasn’t a problem Thursday night.