Bedlam football 2012 was a classic and an epic and a thriller and a whatever wondrous description you want to put on it.
It also was nothing out of the ordinary. Not in this Big 12.
Care to differ? OU's 51-48 overtime victory was 45-45 at the end of regulation. It wasn't even the Big 12's only 45-45 game Saturday. Baylor and Tech went to overtime, too, before the Fightin' Bears won 52-45.
The reason two Big 12 games were 45-45 on Saturday? That's all that were played.
This conference has a problem. You can win in the Big 12 with offense alone. Six Big 12 games this season have been won by teams that allowed 45 points in regulation.
And that has got to stop. Landry Jones throwing for 1,000 yards in a two-game span and Tavon Austin rushing for 344 yards on the Sooners and Robert Griffin's apprentice taking Baylor to 50 points in half of its Big 12 games and OSU's third-team quarterback marching down the field on every defense he faces? It's all fabulous fun.
But such football is going to end in heartache for the Big 12. It's always going to end in heartache.
The Big 12's offensive culture has made for Heisman Trophy winners and must-see entertainment. But game after game, week after week, of offensive dominance signals that this league isn't ready to play big-boy football.
The SEC has won eight of the last nine Cotton Bowls, all against the Big 12. The Big 12 also is 0-3 against the SEC in BCS bowls and 2-3 against the SEC in Independence Bowls.
It's a talent deficiency, to some degree, but it's also cultural. Bob Stoops has tried staff changes; Mike Stoops was brought back, at the expense of Willie Martinez's job and Brent Venables' authority. The Stoopses have tried exotic defenses; they spent two games and change without linebackers.
And yet the last three games, OU has allowed 1,676 yards in regulation and 128 points. And won all three games.
Even an old defensive guy like Bob Stoops has allowed the pendulum to swing out of balance. The Sooners lose a ton of receivers to graduation and knuckleheadedness, and presto, a few months later they've got more now and they're better than ever.
And yet the OU coaches can't find a linebacker they want to put on the field and are about to run out of defensive linemen.
The hurryup offense has been effective for five years. But it comes at a cost. It pads the opponent's opportunity, too, and chips away at defensive confidence.
And it's not just the Sooners. Look at OSU on Saturday. Tied at 17-17 late in the first half, the Cowboys drove inside the OU 20-yard line — and then sped up the no-huddle offense. Two quick runs by Joe Randle, 10 and four yards, produced a touchdown. But 1:23 remained on the clock.
Landry needed 1:10 of it to take the Sooners 75 yards in seven plays for the tying touchdown. What was the hurry? First-and-goal at the 4-yard line, give your defense a break. Take your time.
The Sooners ran 103 plays in Bedlam, including 101 in regulation. And that's with a punt return for a touchdown, which took away a possession.
OU ran 76 plays against Notre Dame; 70 against Kansas State. The Sooners had 44 first downs in Bedlam.
Big 12 coaches have to prioritize defense. Prioritize in recruiting, in strategy, in emphasis.
Else we're going to keep seeing these instant classics that lead to heartbreak.
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 FM-98.1. You can also view his personality page at newsok.com/berrytramel.