Oklahoma and Oklahoma State unlikely to continue 112-year-old Bedlam rivalry after Sooners join SEC

Tue, Sep 20, 2022
NCAAF News (AP)

Oklahoma and Oklahoma State unlikely to continue 112-year-old Bedlam rivalry after Sooners join SEC

The annual Bedlam series between Oklahoma and Oklahoma State is not expected to continue when the Sooners leave the Big 12 for the SEC in 2025, according to athletic directors from both schools. The rivalry is one of the longest continuous rivalries in college football.'

Oklahoma and Oklahoma State have played 112 years in a row dating back to a 12-0 victory by the Sooners over then-Oklahoma A&M in 1910, three years after Oklahoma became a state. However, both sides claim that the rivalry game cannot be worked out logistically in the coming years as a nonconference contest.'

"It presents logistical issues under our current [scheduling] structure," Oklahoma State athletic director Chad Weiberg told The Action Network. "We don't have any openings to play them. We're full. Unless there are significant undertakings to make the game happen, it can't happen."'

The Cowboys have three nonconference games scheduled in five of the next six seasons. The 2025 season -- when the Sooners are expected to depart for the SEC -- remains the only opening. However, scheduling contracts are often broken. In 2019, Michigan canceled a series with UCLA with a $1.5 million buyout in order to schedule more home games.'

Oklahoma has a few more openings. The 2025 and 2026 seasons are filled with a home-and-home series with Michigan, but the Sooners are wide open from 2027 on. Oklahoma also has a Power Five nonconference slot open in 2024, but the Sooners are not officially slated to leave for the SEC until 2025. There is some chatter that Oklahoma could buy out their Big 12 contract a year early.'

The logistical issues present a hurdle, but the bad blood really goes back to Oklahoma's decision to abandon the Big 12. These two programs have been continuous conference mates since Oklahoma State joined the Big Eight Conference in 1960. However, the Sooners opted to chase more money in the SEC and left Oklahoma State in what appeared at the time to be a collapsing Big 12.'

The Bedlam series is just the latest major college football rivalry to be decimated by realignment. Oklahoma's rivalry game with Nebraska broke up for 11 years after the Cornhuskers left for the Big Ten. Texas and Texas A&M have not played since the Aggies left the Big 12. The Backyard Brawl between West Virginia and Pitt took an 11-year break after both programs left for different conferences.'

"Oklahoma State has shown no interest to schedule any future games in football," Oklahoma athletic director Joe Castiglione told The Action Network. "So we're moving on."'

However, Oklahoma State's perspective is pointed.'

"It is one of the consequences of OU's decision [to join the SEC]," Weiberg said. "It's disappointing for the people of the state of Oklahoma."'

While the rivalry will not be played in football, Bedlam is expected to continue in all other sports. While football is the marquee matchup between these two schools, the men's basketball and wrestling Bedlam contests are hotly contested. The Sooners hold a 141-102 advantage in basketball, but the Cowboys hold a 147-27-10 record in wrestling.'

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