Bedlam for the Big 12

Bedlam kicks off at 11:30 a.m.

There is plenty at stake for No 7 Oklahoma and No. 10 Oklahoma State in Saturday’s Bedlam game in Norman.

Here is what the Sooners and Cowboys are playing for:

  • The undisputed Big 12 Championship.
    Even though the conference won’t reinstate the title game until next season, OU is in first place and OSU is alone in second place in the standings. If OSU wins, they would claim the championship due to winning the head-to-head game.
  • A trip to the Sugar Bowl.
    OSU could return to the Sugar Bowl with a win. That bowl matches the top Big 12 team with the top SEC team – that would be the second best team in each conference if the champion makes the four-team playoff. OU was in the Orange Bowl playoff last year, so OSU got the Sugar Bowl.
    The Big 12 has ties to the Alamo Bowl (versus the Pac-12), the Russell Athletic Bowl (versus the ACC), the Texas Bowl (versus the SEC), the Liberty Bowl (versus the SEC), the Cactus Bowl (versus the Pac-12) and the Armed Forces Bowl (open).
  • A spot in the college football playoff.
    This is possible but not probable. Four Big 10 teams – Ohio State, Michigan, Wisconsin and Penn State – last week were ranked ahead of OU and OSU. So was Washington, Alabama and Clemson.
    Ohio State beat Michigan but because Penn State beat Ohio State this year, Penn State will play Wisconsin in the Big Ten title game. What this means is that two Big 10 teams could make the four-team field.
    The Big 12 was hoping for some upsets over the Thanksgiving holiday but nothing happened to help their case. It looks like the Big 12 will be shut out for second time in three years in the new expanded playoff. For the winner of the Bedlam game to have a chance, USC would have to beat Washington in Pac-12 game and Clemson would have to lose to Virginia Tech in the ACC title match.

OSU coach Mike Gundy has been trying to make the case that the Cowboys didn’t lose the Central Michigan game because of an incorrect decision to give a final play with time expired.

“Consistent with weeks before, Oklahoma State’s record is 9-2,” College Football Playoff Committee chair and Texas Tech Athletic Director Kirby Hocutt said last week. “However, the Selection Committee is aware of what transpired in the Oklahoma State-Central Michigan football game, so we’re aware of that, but Oklahoma State is ranked 10th with a 9-2 record.”

OU coach Bob Stoops said there was no doubt that the playoff committee would see the Bedlam game as matching the two best teams in the conference.

“Oklahoma State, in my eyes, is a one-loss team,” Stoops said. “They ought to be ranked higher than they are. In the end, I think it will carry weight once the game is played.”

The officiating crew was suspended following the incorrect game-ending call.

“Every coach I’ve talked to agrees and says the same thing… Most coaches know the difference between right and wrong and what happened in that game,” Gundy said. “We review everything else in football. Why can’t we review when the game is over?

“It’s all gone now. I think the committee sees us as a one-loss team and that’s my opinion and I think it’s something they just can’t admit publicly.”

Stoops is hoping that the committee will look at who is playing the best at the end of the year. Will the committee not only consider wins but margin of victory?

“In the end, to some degree, that’s what they are paying attention to,” Stoops said. “Who is playing at the strongest level?”

Stoops is also banking on the committee looking at the Bedlam game essentially as Big 12 championship game.

“It gives us a championship presence on championship weekend,” Stoops said. “I felt a year ago that it was probably a mistake that we weren’t playing it on that weekend because of the situation we were in. We had a chance to be in the playoffs. I thought having a presence that day would help. I hoped that a week later people would not forget how we played and fortunately they didn’t.”

Stoops said he can’t control the decisions of the committee and he hasn’t spent time speculating on what they will decide.

“I don’t think it matters,” Stoops said. “All we can do is play the very best we can against an in-state rival with a game that is the Big 12 championship. Whatever else is going to happen, will happen.”

Stoops said “other things will happen” this week in college football and he and his team will watch what happens.

“We are out there first on championship week,” Stoops said. “All we can do is do our best.”

Stoops said the playoff committee looks at teams that are playing well but what happens early in the season has an impact. “I do believe they pay attention to who is playing really well at the end,” Stoops said. “I felt a year ago that was a major case for us being in the playoffs.”

In any case, emotions will be sky high in the Saturday Bedlam game. Kickoff is at 11:30 a.m.

“This game is going to be very emotional, on both sides of the ball for both teams,” said OU linebacker Jordan Evans said. “It’s going to be a lot of fun. I am looking forward to it.”

Defenses in the Big 12 give up big plays but the key is to tighten up in the red zone.

“We have been forcing turnovers and a lot of them have been in the red zone,” Evans said. “That has been keeping the score different. We are playing some great teams with some great offenses and they get big plays.”

Gundy said the Bedlam game has changed in recent years.

“Oklahoma State football is considerably different than it was 10 years ago,” Gundy said. “It makes it more competitive. The respect that we have for the programs, the coaching staffs, have made for really good games.

“In four of the last six years, that (Bedlam) has been for a conference championship. Both teams have been excited about it. In most cases, these players know each other pretty well. The majority of them are from Texas high school football.

“It’s been just a great game. We’re excited about being part of it.”

OU quarterback Baker Mayfield leads the nation in passing efficiency with a rating of 194.7. OSU quarterback Mason Rudolph comes in at No. 10 at 160.4.

Mayfield has hit 222 of 311 pass attempts for 3,381 yards, 35 touchdowns and only 8 interceptions. Rudolph has completed 251 of 391 attempts for 3,591 and only four interceptions.

Recent Bedlam Scores

*2015 OU 58 OSU 23
*2014 OSU 38 OU 35
*2013 OU 33 OSU 24
*2012 OU 51 OSU 48
*2011 OSU 44 OU 10
*2010 OU 47 OSU 41
*2009 OU 27 OSU 0
*2008 OU 61 OSU 41
*2007 OU 49 OSU 17
*2006 OU 27 OSU 21
*2005 OU 42 OSU 14
2004 OU 38 OSU 35
2003 OU 52 OSU 9
2002 OSU 38 OU 28
2001 OSU 16 OU 13
2000 OU 12 OSU 7
1999 OU 44 OSU 7
* Bob Stoops vs. Mike Gundy

Mike Gundy became OSU head coach in 2005. His record against Stoops in the Bedlam game is 2-9, with a 38-35 win two years ago and a 44-10 blowout in 2011. OSU has won two of the last five games but OU leads the series 84-18-7.

Bob Stoops, who has won nine Big 12 championships (including last season), has a 13-4 record against OSU. During his tenure, the Sooners have outscored OSU 36.8 to 24.8 on average. In the 11 games matching Stoops and Gundy, OU has outscored Oklahoma State by an average of 40-28.2 points. Stoops’ teams have scored 40 points or more eight times.