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Bedlam Extra: OU-OSU game better than it's ever been

BERRY TRAMEL COMMENTARY — The Bedlam football game has always been one of the best in-state rivalries in the county, but it's quickly moving up the charts. Oklahoma State's recent success and the high-stakes nature of the game are making Bedlam bigger and better than ever.
by Berry Tramel Published: November 22, 2012

NORMAN – Bedlam football is better than it's ever been.

Better than in the horse-and-buggy days of 1904, when the game was played in Guthrie and players chased an errant kick into the frigid waters of Cottonwood Creek.

Better than in the dusty history book days of Bennie Owen or Pappy Waldorf.

Certainly better than the days of Bud Wilkinson and Barry Switzer, who coached a combined 33 Bedlams and lost exactly one.

Better even than when Les Miles refused to bow to the Sooners and produced back-to-back upsets in the early part of this century.

Bedlam football is better these days because it's relevant.

Relevant regionally. Relevant nationally.

The last two Bedlams have been marble games – the Big 12 South title on the line in 2010, the Big 12 title itself in 2011.

“Things only become rivalries when you make them competitive for a championship,” said OSU offensive coordinator Todd Monken. “For years, Michigan-Ohio State meant a lot because it was considered the Big Ten championship. Same thing for years with Florida and Tennessee.”

Bedlam hasn't reached the stage of Ohio State-Michigan and isn't likely to. But OSU's ascension to the Big 12 Championship in 2011 signaled a fundamental change in this rivalry.

“That's what you want it to be, where it's competitive on both ends,” Monken said. “Obviously, they're in the same state as we are. When you have a program as successful as theirs, that's where you aspire to be.”

In-state rivalries always carry a certain amount of passion and fire. But rarely do they carry importance beyond state lines. Bedlam now does.

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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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