On Saturday November 4, the ninth-ranked Oklahoma Sooners (7-1) will visit the 22nd-ranked Oklahoma State Cowboys (6-2) in what will be the final version of Bedlam with both members being a part of the Big 12.
Beginning next season, Oklahoma will be joining the SEC, putting this great rivalry on hold for the foreseeable future and giving this seasons game even more suspense and intrigue than normal. Hold onto your cowboy hats football fans, this matchup should live up to it’s name!
TALE OF THE TAPE
Series Began: 1904 in Guthrie, Oklahoma, the territorial capital at the time. Oklahoma wouldn’t become a state until three years later in 1907.
Series History: Oklahoma holds a commanding lead in the series 91-19-7.
Recent History: Oklahoma has won nine of the last 11 meetings.
Winningest Coaches in the Series: Bennie Owen won 16 games as head coach of the Sooners from 1906 through 1926.
Largest Victory: Oklahoma’s largest victory was in the first ever meeting between the two schools, a 75-0 margin that remains the widest margin of victory to this day.
BAD BLOOD BEGINS
Bedlam began back in 1904 on a windy and freezing cold day. So windy, in fact, that when the Oklahoma A&M Aggies (now the Oklahoma State Cowboys) went to punt, the ball floated up in the air and was pushed backwards into the end zone. Legend has it that the ball rolled down a hill and into a freezing cold creek where the Oklahoma and Oklahoma A&M players wrestled for it because it was still a live ball. Unfortunately for Oklahoma A&M, an Oklahoma player won possession and was awarded a touchdown in the 75-0 rout.
Oklahoma A&M wouldn’t find its first points in the series until 1914 and wouldn’t record its first victory in the series until 1917.
WHERE DID THE TERM ‘BEDLAM’ COME FROM?
The short answer is, nobody really knows.
It must have gotten lost in the bedlam of the 1917 Oklahoma A&M victory (see what I did there), the first time the term was used. An excerpt from The Daily Oklahoman titled “Big victory wildly celebrated by A&M students: Aggie victory celebration continues till Friday morn” contains the first mention of the term “bedlam” to describe the OU-OSU rivalry and the madness that ensued after the first Cowboy victory:
“So surprised were students, faculty members and citizens when they first heard the 9 to 0 victory story from Oklahoma City that confirmation was necessary. Then bedlam broke loose. Nine long shrieks of the college power plant whistle told the score. Guns were fired. The antique, dust-covered bell in old Central building belfry chimed for the first time in years. Literally the town was painted white. On buildings, sidewalks, windows and other places, the score was painted. A huge figure nine and a tiny naught.”
The Daily Oklahoman wouldn’t mention the word again until 1943.
Similar newspapers like the Tulsa World didn’t use Bedlam to describe the series until 1945, and even that was a reference to basketball, not football.
Another rumor claims that the term bedlam originates from a wrestling duel between the two schools, when a reporter ran out of the gym during the meet and declared “it’s bedlam in there.”
While this rivalry has been dominated by Oklahoma, the really special moments in the history of the rivalry have come when Oklahoma State has pulled off the victory (at least in my opinion).
One such instance was in 2014, when Bob Stoops decided to punt the ball from midfield with one minute to play to a dangerous return man you might have heard about, Tyreek Hill. Hill would field the punt on his own eight yard line and return it all the way for the game tying score. Oklahoma State would go on to win the game in overtime 38-35 upsetting the No. 18 Oklahoma Sooners.
The win would get the team bowl eligible, where they would go on to beat Washington in the Sun Bowl for a 7-6 season.
This is just one of many memorable moments in the history of the Bedlam rivalry.
Date: Saturday, Nov. 4, 2023
Site: Boone Pickens Stadium – Stillwater, OK
Time: 3:30pm ET
With the bad blood ending in a bitter breakup there is sure to be Bedlam in Stillwater on Saturday.