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Clay Horning | The Norman Transcript | November 24, 2015

College football: Oklahoma, Oklahoma State set for another historic Bedlam game

Oklahoma State celebrates its 38-35 victory over Oklahoma last season.

You get the feeling just about everywhere but Stillwater that it's for Baker Mayfield in Oklahoma what it used to be like for Roger Clemens in New England.

That is, from the mid '80s to the mid '90s, if Clemens woke up under the weather, all of Red Sox Nation felt the pain.

It would seem to be the same around here where the Sooner quarterback is concerned. And, because all signs point toward Mayfield's return for Saturday's Bedlam game at Boone Pickens Stadium, the Sooner Nation must have felt better going to sleep Monday night than it did waking up Sunday morning.

Indeed, Mayfield may have earned even more admiration when he capped off Bob Stoops' weekly press conference with his own appearance.

He said he was tough, that he'd "run through a brick wall for my team," that it was killing him to have to watch from the sideline in the second half as OU did everything but lose the lead Mayfield and the offense he was running created against TCU.

He even said he tried talking the pros whose job it is to keep him safe into letting him play after the half and that if he'd not been made to surrender his helmet, he might still have sneaked himself into the game.

Apparently, even a fallen Mayfield remains well enough to inspire, charm and ingratiate himself to all who cheer him on.

Of course, it's better that way, and not only because Mayfield would seem to be the Sooners' only shot as Knight seemed to make clear in his dismal nearly-two-quarter performance against the Frogs.

(About that, "It isn't just him," Stoops said, making that old point about how hard it is for a quarterback to play better than those around him, yet forgetting that those around Mayfield always seem to play better than those around Knight. But why get lost in that tangent?)

It's better that way because both sides should enter as strong as they can possibly be for a Bedlam game that has so much riding on it for both programs, beginning with a conference championship and ending with possibly becoming the Big 12's first entrant into the College Football Playoff.

Crazier than the stakes is the way the game keeps living up to and surpassing all the hype it manages to create, in what's become Bedlam's greatest age.

Just last season, it took Bob Stoops' worst coaching decision, maybe ever and at least since kicking onside in the second half of a Fiesta Bowl loss to West Virginia, to put overtime on the table, an extra session the Cowboys claimed.

The year before, in the frigid Stillwater air, Blake Bell brought the Sooners back, doing what neither Knight nor Kendall Thompson could do that day. Though some of OSU's wins in the series may seem unlikely, none were any more unlikely than what Bell did in the fourth quarter that December day.

The year before that, 2012, the Sooners won 51-48 at Owen Field and it took overtime to get there.

It really has become a series in which anything can happen, from either team in either team's stadium. Nobody ever thought it would be like this, yet here we are.

"Fortunately, over the last six to eight years, there has been a lot at stake with Bedlam," OSU coach Mike Gundy said during his turn with the media Monday, "even more than it's been over the last 30 or 40 years."

The way Gundy said it, it's unclear if he's just amazed by the evolution of the series or taking a dig at his predecessors, who could never quite sustain their half of the rivalry over any period of time.

It's a 50-50 proposition, just like Bedlam the last four seasons.

So, enjoy the week. Stuff yourself Thursday. It's Thanksgiving after all. Yet be ready for Saturday.

It couldn't be much bigger. 


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