The most anticipated football game in the new-look Big 12 is not Oklahoma-Texas.
Never thought I'd see the day.
That's what I wrote in 2008, when I first ranked every Big 12 game, a ploy to help us all get through the summer. Don't know it helps anybody else, but helps me pass the time until September.
Anyway, I ranked OU-Texas No. 1 going into 2008 and wrote “always the league's marquee game.”
Not always. In summer 2011, the most-anticipated Big 12 football game is Bedlam. OSU-OU in Stillwater on Dec. 3.
Maybe it would be different if the Sooners had to play at Texas A&M, which ranks with the Cowboys as the chief threats to OU's title quest. Maybe it would be different if Mack Brown had a quarterback. Maybe it would be different if Nebraska hadn't bolted to the Big Ten.
But they don't, he doesn't and it did.
Heck, we saw the first cracks in the OU-Texas dominance just last summer.
Last June, I wrote of OU-Texas, “Maybe some year, this won't be the league's most-anticipated game. But not this year.”
I was wrong. Within a week, the Big 12 was disintegrating, and while all the king's horses and all the king's men put the league back together, it did so without the Cornhuskers.
By mid-June, the Nebraska-Texas game had become a Husker holy war and clearly the Big 12's marquee game.
Bedlam is no holy war. No more so than usual, anyway. It's just a magnificent matchup to contemplate, almost six months out.
In-state rivals, with a recent history of majestic games in Stillwater, both sporting top-shelf quarterbacks and All-American receivers.
Brandon Weeden is OSU's first all-conference QB; OU's Landry Jones is on the Heisman watch A-lists. Meanwhile, Ryan Broyles is the greatest receiver in Sooner history yet was trumped last season by Cowboy Justin Blackmon, who won the Biletnikoff Award.
Those stars helped stage OU's 47-41 gunfight last November, which is merely the norm in Stillwater.
Here are the results of the last seven Bedlam games at Boone Pickens Stadium: OU 47-41, OU 61-41, OU 27-21, OU 38-35, OSU 38-28, OU 12-7, OSU 41-26.
OU-Texas remains the league's best rivalry. It has the pageantry and tradition and revelry.
But you want a game? You want football that will blow your socks off every time? You've got to go with Bedlam in Stillwater.
In Norman, the rivalry is a little one-sided. OU 27-0, OU 49-17, OU 42-14, OU 52-9. Since OSU's epic upset in 2001, Owen Field hasn't seen a decent Bedlam.
But the Big 12 has blessed us in 2011. The revamped schedule has sent Bedlam to Stillwater two years running.
Which means a new No. 1. This summer, Bedlam — saved for last; Dec. 3 — is the most-anticipated game in the league.
Berry Tramel: Berry can be reached at (405) 760-8080 or at email@example.com. 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.