STILLWATER — Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy has bragged about his senior class. All should earn a degree. He said they've been good ambassadors for the program.
But there is one thing missing from their resumes. No one on the roster has defeated the Sooners.
"It's like going against your brother,” said senior linebacker Jeremy Nethon. "They're doing big things and you want to get recognized. You want to be known as a good team.”
Players try to approach Bedlam the same as any other game. A good week of practice and executing on game day are essential. But they realize this is the most important game on their schedule.
"When you see all the TV commercials, everything is based on Bedlam,” said defensive end Nathan Peterson. "This is an in-state rivalry. This is the game everyone looks forward to.
"It's a lot of fun. At the same time, it's stressful. It's a game with so much emotion. You know after Saturday you'll be really, really happy or really, really sad.”
Senior guard Doug Koenig remembers learning the significance of the rivalry his first year on campus. He wasn't even playing. He was redshirting.
"The Bedlam game was still a few months away and people are coming up to me saying, ‘It doesn't matter what you do all year. Just beat OU,' ” Koenig said. "That happens a lot more than you realize. You try to treat it like all the other games but...”
There was a brief period in which the Cowboys owned bragging rights. From 1995 to 2002, OSU won five of eight meetings.
But those wins — highlighted by a 16-13 upset in 2001 in Norman followed by a 38-28 win the following year — were recorded by players no longer in the program.
The Sooners have won the last four meetings.
Bob Stoops is 6-2 against OSU. Mike Gundy is 0-2 against the Sooners but was the offensive coordinator for the 2001 and 2002 wins. But in rivalry games, you often hear it said that you can throw out the records.
"When we play this game everything is wiped clean,” Koenig said. "They don't have an advantage. We don't have an advantage. This is my last year, my last shot at them. I know we're going to a bowl but I'll play like this is my last game.”
For OSU seniors who grew up in Oklahoma, the 0-for-OU drought cuts much deeper.