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OU basketball: Words can't describe Bedlam to out-of-state players

Tyler Neal and C.J. Washington say out-of-state players need to experience the rivalry to get the true definition.
BY MIKE BALDWIN Published: January 8, 2012

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.”

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