By Michael Kinney
Bedlam is always big. No matter what the records are or if either team is in contention for a title, the game is huge.
However, it’ s hard to call it a rivalry. Oklahoma has beaten Oklahoma State 86 out of the 111 times they have met. For the Sooner nation, it has been compared to a hammer hitting a nail in terms of competition.
However, every now and then, the Cowboys have risen up at the most inopportune moment to hand the Sooners a crushing defeat.
That includes 2014, the last time the Pokes upset OU.
However, when the two teams face off at 3 p.m. Saturday in Stillwater, both programs will have something riding on the game. Each has a legitimate shot of earning a spot in the College Football Payoffs. A victory Saturday puts the winner in a strong position, while the loser is almost assured to be eliminated.
“It’s going to be great. It’s ready to be championship November and that’s our favorite time of year around here,” coach Lincoln Riley said. “We’re excited about it. The conference is really darn good – it’s the best conference in football right now top to bottom and you see it. There’s a lot of great teams in this league. It’s going to be a lot of fun. All of the eyes of the country are going to be on it and we’re looking forward to being a part of it.”
The first College Football Playoff rankings of the season came out Tuesday night. Oklahoma appeared just outside the top four at No. 5. OSU is posted up at No. 11.
The rankings and their postseason significance has added to what is already an emotional affair, despite the one-sideness.
The game also pits a pair of possible Heisman candidates on the same field on national TV. Oklahoma’s Baker Mayfield and Oklahoma State’s Mason Rudolph. The pair know each other very well and know what this game means to their teams and individual honors.
“I heard it was a big game just like the Red River Showdown,” freshman CeeDee Lamb said. “Oklahoma State is a good team and we look forward to battling it out with them.”
Lamb won’t be the only pivotal Sooner getting his first taste of Bedlam. Tailback Rodney Anderson is looking forward to getting a shot at the Pokes.
“I’m very excited. It’ll be my first time to play them since being here,” Anderson said. “This is my third year and I haven’t played them yet, so I’m excited and I know they’ve got a great squad over there.”
Oklahoma linebacker Caleb Kelly sees what is at stake in the game for both teams. With OU and OSU heading into the contests ranked and vying for conference titles and postseason spots, it’s one of those games players like Kelly came to Oklahoma to take part in.
“It is a rivalry game. Those guys are balling this year,” Kelly said. “They have a good record and they are doing what they do. Coming into these games you see them a little bit different, I say this about Texas too, just because they are rivalry games so they are going to give their best effort no matter what. I think it is just a game where everyone is attentive in practice and doing what they need to do. I am looking forward to it. I look forward to every game, making more plays and having fun with my brothers.”
Michael Kinney is a Freelance Writer with Eyeamtruth.com