STILLWATER â€” This is what Oklahoma State football fans, those hearty few who dared to embrace such a once-unpopular cause, have been waiting for.
The crowd that chose the road less traveled. Mike Holder and Robert Allen. Scott Verplank and Bob Tway. The old-timers who remember Tony Pounds and still go to wrestling matches. Doc Cooper and Pat Quinn. The ranchers in Roger Mills County and the educators in Ponca City. The business professionals who for decades have listened to digs from OU counterparts who won't even dignify the rivalry by uttering the word â€œBedlam.â€
All those who have waited not for a stirring upset of the Sooners, or to batter a beat-down Gomer Jones or John Blake team, but those who dreamed of heroes standing toe-to-toe with a worthy Oklahoma team. Dreamed not of spoiling a Sooner championship, but of winning one themselves.
Generations of dreams, years of hard work and Boone Pickens' donations have brought us to today. Have brought us to this.
With a football team every bit as good as the Sooners', and with a Big 12 South title on the line, OSU hosts OU.
Maybe once in 60 years have we seen this. Back in 1984, the Cowboys were every bit as good as the Sooners, and they played Thanksgiving Saturday for an Orange Bowl berth. But that game was at Owen Field, and OU prevailed 24-14.
This game is at Boone Pickens. Advantage, Cowboys.
OSU has all it could ever hope for. Mammoth stakes. An equal team. Home field.
â€œIt would be huge,â€ OSU quarterback Brandon Weeden said of victory tonight. â€œIt would mean a lot to the fans, to us, to everybody. You have a few games circled on the calendar, and this is one of â€˜em.
â€œIt would be big for our team, the university, our fan base. They've been waiting a long time.â€
In 106 years of Bedlam football, OSU has a series record of 16-81-7. Only half of those wins have come since 1945. And of those eight, five came against mediocre (or worse) Sooner squads.
So that leaves thrice in anyone's memory that the Cowboys beaten a quality Oklahoma team. 1976, when the Cowboys entered 3-2. 2001, when the Cowboys entered 3-7. 2002, when the Cowboys entered 6-5.
See why this is different? These Cowboys are 10-1 and ranked ninth nationally. These Cowboys do not lie in ambush. They have the nation's attention. They have the Sooners' attention.
These Cowboys have their own dreamers' attention. The dreamers who know how hard it was to get here, to stand on level ground with the Sooners, and know that's it's time for Oklahoma State to win.
Berry Tramel: Berry can be reached at (405) 760-8080 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. He can be heard Monday through Friday from 4:40-5:20 p.m. on The Sports Animal radio network, including AM-640 and FM-98.1. You can also view his personality page at newsok.com/berrytramel.