Immediate history and recent history do not signal good times for the Oklahoma State defense Saturday in Bedlam.
Against OSU this season, Texas Tech’s Graham Harrell and Texas’ Colt McCoy have combined to go 78 of 95 for 847 yards, eight touchdowns and just one interception. Now comes OU’s Sam Bradford, who has even better numbers this season than the Lone Star quarterbacks.
"Thankfully, we’ve played a lot of high-powered offenses,” said OSU linebacker Seb Clements. "It’s another opportunity to show people we are a much better defense.”
But as deadly as Bradford’s aerials can be, it’s the run game that has done in the Cowboys in recent Bedlams. The last two Bedlam games, OU tailback Allen Patrick has rushed for 163 and 202 yards, and backup Chris Brown has gained 150 yards. OU gained 238 yards on the ground in 2006, 307 in 2007. Patrick is gone, but DeMarco Murray and Brown have combined for 1,819 yards through 11 games.
"You have to stop the running game,” said State defensive coordinator Tim Beckman. "It’s college football. It hasn’t changed.”
Strange Sunday morning
If OU and Texas Tech win Saturday, this will be the scene come Sunday morning: In Norman and in Austin, Texas, and maybe even in Lubbock, Texas, coaching staffs will gather to watch film of Missouri and prepare a game plan for the Big 12 Championship, and none of the staffs will know whether their teams will be playing or not.
Not until Sunday afternoon, between 3-3:30 p.m., will the BCS rankings be unveiled and break the three-way tie in the South Division. Then two of the coaching staffs will adjourn, having wasted most of a perfectly good Sunday.
Much has been made of OU’s stakes in Bedlam 2008. But don’t discount OSU’s opportunity.
John McAdams, a 1969 OSU grad and a retired attorney in Fort Worth, Texas, calls Saturday an historic day in Cowboy history, the chance to post the school’s first 10-win regular season ever.
"If this feat is accomplished, it will be done in the Big 12 South, the best division in college football and perhaps the best division ever,” McAdams wrote. "The Cowboys have won national championships in basketball, baseball, wrestling and golf, but like it or not, football is what makes the world go round.
"To set a record number of wins, beat the Sooners in a new venue and be able to say it was done in the Big 12 South is high praise indeed … this Saturday in Stillwater will be for football immortality.”
Sell those tickets!
I’m on record supporting OSU athletic Mike Holder’s ticket policy. Trying to build the OSU season-ticket base, Holder won’t sell individual Bedlam tickets, which means perhaps 12,000 or so empty seats Saturday. Holder had to try something, and it seems to have worked — OSU sold more than 39,000 season tickets, a school record.
But some OSU fans are not happy.
"It’s not right,” said OSU grad John Stanfield. "It’s wrong, wrong, wrong. You should have that stadium filled up. It’s not good for the university.”
Stanfield, who describes himself as a lifetime member of the OSU alumni association, said "now that we’re in this financial crisis, that’s the craziest policy.”
Pressure on Stevens
Bedlam in Stillwater occasionally comes down to a field goal. 2004, when Jason Ricks’ miss let OU escape 38-35. 1992, when Scott Blanton’s 27-yarder gave OSU a 15-15 tie. 1983, when Tim Lashar’s 46-yarder capped a wild 21-20 Sooner comeback. 1965, when Charles Durkee’s 35-yarder gave OSU a 17-16 victory and ended OU’s 19-game Bedlam win streak.
What kind of shape will the Sooners be in if it comes down to a field goal? Freshman Jimmy Stevens has been inconsistent, going 5-of-8 on field goals and 76-of-81 on extra points. But Stevens hit a 33-yarder last Saturday against Texas Tech.
"Jimmy had a great week last week,” Bob Stoops said. "He hit a beautiful ball. He’s been good this week. So yeah, I believe in him.”
Maybe so. But it seems an odd week to recruit a high school kicker, which OU did with Norman North’s Bryce Easley, who said he orally committed to Stoops after the Texas Tech game. Another contender for Stevens’ job. Wouldn’t you think you would keep Stevens’ mind clear as much as possible going into Bedlam?
405-760-8080. Berry can be heard Monday through Friday from 4:40-5:20 p.m. on The Sports Animal network, including AM-640 and FM 98.1.