Bedlam behaving badly: Bad blood between OSU and OU at an all-time high

Nobody poisoned revered oak trees. Nobody has shot a fellow fan for not being dismayed enough at defeat. But Bedlam is getting there. After OU's thrilling 33-24 victory Saturday — two Sooner touchdowns in the final 20 seconds — things got a little testy.
by Berry Tramel Modified: December 12, 2013 at 11:00 am •  Published: December 11, 2013


photo - Oklahoma's Jaz Reynolds (16) yells at the OSU student section after the Bedlam college football game between the Oklahoma State University Cowboys (OSU) and the University of Oklahoma Sooners (OU) at Boone Pickens Stadium in Stillwater, Okla., Saturday, Dec. 7, 2013. OU won, 33-24. Photo by Nate Billings, The Oklahoman
Oklahoma's Jaz Reynolds (16) yells at the OSU student section after the Bedlam college football game between the Oklahoma State University Cowboys (OSU) and the University of Oklahoma Sooners (OU) at Boone Pickens Stadium in Stillwater, Okla., Saturday, Dec. 7, 2013. OU won, 33-24. Photo by Nate Billings, The Oklahoman

That's changed. The Sooners still are winning, but it's high drama, fit for Front Street. Wild endings (2004, 2006, 2012, 2013) or wild shootouts (2008, 2010) are the norm.

You can't get OU fans or coaches to admit that Bedlam has become the Sooners' top rivalry, but players admit it, have for several years, and clearly, Bedlam has replaced OU-Texas as the game most likely to impact the Big 12 race. Absence of malice replaced by absence of Dallas.

And that's why we're seeing Bedlam Behaving Badly.

Still not Alabama-Auburn. Still not a holy war. But the arctic air was thick with disdain as Bedlam ended Saturday.

It's as if Les Miles and Mike Stoops had commandeered the series. Miles never minded poking at the Sooners; Stoops never minded poking back and hadn't changed when he returned from a seven-year Arizona hiatus. OSU officials say Mike Stoops talked trash to the OSU combatants in the delirium after OU's overtime victory last year.

That's bad form. Mike Stoops should cool it. Coaches should definitely use some decorum on the field of play. Wish everyone would, but that's asking too much.

Home fans will razz the opposition, and in victory the opposition will razz back. That's what we saw Saturday. No major crime.

But throwing projectiles, even if their edibles like snowballs and turkey legs, is not cool. Two absolutes: players can't go into the stands, and fans can't throw stuff on the field.

A high-ranking OSU administrator wrote me to defend the students who hurled stuff, which doesn't speak so much to his lack of wisdom, but to his temporary insanity over the heartbreaking loss.

This game matters, dagnammit, and it matters on both sides. We saw that with the exhilaration of the Sooners. This wasn't winning in Manhattan or Lubbock. Or even in Dallas. The Sooners seemed more joyful than after any victory in years and years. And there's nothing wrong with that.

The cheerleader? More momentary madness. Send him to bed without his supper and lesson learned.

The crowing on Twitter, about how much money the Sooners cost the Cowboys? OU claimed its compliance account was hacked, which is the 21st-century version of the dog ate my homework. Who's buying that story?

Besides, it's not even true. All Big 12 bowl money is split evenly, and if OSU had won, Baylor might not have made the Sugar Bowl. OU definitely cost no one in the conference any cash and maybe made every school a chunk of change.

But again, common sense takes a holiday in bitter rivalries. Alabama-Auburn knows that well. We're starting to find that out, too, in Gettysburg West.

Berry Tramel: Berry can be reached at (405) 760-8080 or at btramel@opubco.com. He can be heard Monday through Friday from 4:40-5:20 p.m. on The Sports Animal radio network, including FM-98.1. You can also view his personality page at newsok.com/berrytramel.

by Berry Tramel
Columnist
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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