Kids who grow up in Oklahoma, immersed in the Bedlam rivalry, try to prepare out-of-state teammates how intense the rivalry is.
But it's so unique, those teammates have to experience it for themselves.
Tyler Neal and C.J. Washington, two OU reserves, have experienced Bedlam for years, how bragging rights are attached to wins and losses every time the Sooners and Cowboys square off in football and basketball.
Neal, the Sooners' sixth man, is from Putnam City West. He has OSU buddies who will be in Gallagher-Iba Arena on Monday night wearing orange.
A reserve power forward, Washington is from Stringtown. This fall, he will turn his in-laws' home in Muskogee into a house divided.
Washington and his fiancé, Kelsey Taylor, plan to be married later this year. Billy Taylor, Washington's future father-in-law, is an OSU grad and avid Cowboy fan.
At the Taylor home, a Pistol Pete statue greets visitors as soon as they step into the house. Billy always roots for the Cowboys. Always. But he did wear a crimson shirt, no logo, to one of C.J.'s nonconference games in Norman.
“He's always sending me text messages, especially when the football game came around,” Washington said. “At Christmas, there are so many OSU fans. My fiance's uncle Larry and two or three of us are OU fans. We're always going back and forth with them.”
Neal, a sophomore small forward, knows the feeling. Bedlam is part of the fabric of his relationship with OSU friends.
“There's nothing like growing up with it and looking forward to the football game,” Neal said. “(Most years) going to school and making fun of your OSU friends. It's crazy that now I'm a part of it. I have a say in it.”
Neal attended a couple dozen OU games at Lloyd Noble Center growing up. But last year was his first game at Gallagher-Iba Arena.
“The students yelling at you, there's nothing like it. They start by yelling insults like “bushy hair” during warm-ups,” said Neal, who has a buzz cut this year. “It was a lot of fun.”
Last year's game also was Washington's first trip to Gallagher-Iba.
“I expected the crowd to be like they were, yelling at us,” Washington said. “You think you're prepared for it (but it's a factor). Just like Missouri, when they had 15,000 fans. OSU is the same thing.
“OSU could be having a losing season and it's going to fill up no matter what. And they're a good team this year. We're a good team. The goal is to hopefully come out with a win.”
In the big picture, Monday's game is a must win for OU if the Sooners want to realistically stay near the middle of the league standings.
The first 14 games point to an NIT season. The schedule remains a major challenge for the 10-4 Sooners. Five of the six games after Bedlam are Kansas State twice, Baylor, Kansas and a road game at Texas A&M.
As for the Bedlam matchup, the Sooners have been more consistent. Team chemistry is good. Roles are well defined among the seven-man rotation. Nine players usually appear in the box score.
The Cowboys, hampered by transfers and injuries, have been sporadic but played a tougher nonconference schedule. OSU has some talent, but the Cowboys' depth has taken a major hit.
“You always want to play somebody when they're at full strength. Losing (Jean-Paul) Olukemi is tough,” Neal said. “But they have other players like Keiton (Page). Le'Bryan Nash is very talented. It should be a good game.”
This will be OU point guard Sam Grooms' first trip inside Gallagher-Iba. What have teammates told him?
“Loud. A lot of fan support,” Grooms said. “They're telling me to be ready for anything I might see ... The guys have been telling me that it's going to be interesting.”
Interesting? For this year's Bedlam game, interesting is the ideal word.