When the Oklahoma State media relations department interviewed head wrestling coach John Smith last year about his thoughts on the dual with Oklahoma, his answer was simple: "It's a match you want to win. It's Bedlam!"
And win Bedlam he has. Since 1992, Smith's Cowboys have lost to Oklahoma just six times. As a team, the Cowboys lead the series 144-27-10, and they also lead both home and away, posting a 63-15-8 record in Norman. The name "Bedlam" traces its origins back to a newspaper writer who left a wild and rowdy dual between these two teams and described the atmosphere with one sentence, "It's Bedlam in here!"
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The first dual between Oklahoma State and Oklahoma in 1920 ended with a Cowboy shutout win 50-0 over the Sooners, and the 2018 41-2 Oklahoma State victory was the largest margin of victory since Smith's second Bedlam dual in 1992 when Oklahoma State won 43-0.
Rivalry scores from the past decade
2021: Oklahoma State 24-10
2019-2020: Oklahoma State 23-9; 27-8
2018-2019: Oklahoma State 41-2
2017-2018: Oklahoma State 31-6
2016-2017: Oklahoma State 33-3; Oklahoma State 37-3
2015-2016: Oklahoma State, 37-3; Oklahoma State 26-11
2014-2015: Oklahoma State, 25-11; Oklahoma State 25-9
2013-2014: Oklahoma, 16-15; Oklahoma State 29-9
2012-2013: Oklahoma State, 26-9; 40-3
2011-2012: Oklahoma State, 25-13; Oklahoma State 19-18
2010-2011: Oklahoma State, 22-12; Oklahoma State, 24-9
2009-2010: Tie, 16-16; Oklahoma State, 19-16
The outcomes may have been lopsided, but Oklahoma hasn't been without its shining moments.
In 2013, Oklahoma's Andrew Howe notched a huge win over NCAA Champion Chris Perry to help lift the Sooners to a 16-15 win.
Oklahoma also earned back-to-back Bedlam wins in 2008, the first coming on February 21, 2008 with a score of 18-15 behind wins from Joey Fio, Will Rowe, Chad Terry, Joshua Weitzel and Joel Flaggert. The victory ended Oklahoma State's 19-win dual streak at the time, and the Sooners would deliver the exact same kind of blow eight months later in a 18-15 December win over the Cowboys. Fio picked up his second win, and David Armstrong, Kyle Terry, Jeff James and Pat Flynn also notched victories. The 2008 series marked only the second time since John Smith took over the Oklahoma State program that the Sooner's outmatched the in-state rival.
Both of the wins, however, came in Norman, as Oklahoma has not beaten the Cowboys in Stillwater since 1995. That year, Oklahoma heavyweight Trey Swan earned a win that would help seal a one-point victory for the Sooner when he topped Oklahoma State's Ben Lee overtime. The victory, which occurred on November 28, 1995, allowed the team to leave Gallagher-Iba Arena victorious for the second time since 1985. The Sooners also topped Oklahoma State in 1993, but the Cowboys weren't able to put out their full squad.
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Oklahoma State beat host Oklahoma in the first rivalry dual of the season, but the teams will battle again on Feb. 21 in Stillwater later this season.
“We love Bedlam and we take it serious,” Smith said after the 2019 win. “It’s not just another match. It’s a match we take personal, and we get ready for it."
For Smith, the dual holds particular importance, as he's said previously that watching a Bedlam dual between Oklahoma and Oklahoma State hooked him on the sport of wrestling.
A history of excellence
Oklahoma State has won more NCAA titles than any sport from any school in NCAA history, and of the program's 34 national championships, five came under the guidance of head coach John Smith. Four of those titles came during a consecutive streak from 2003-2006 before Minnesota ended the run in 2007. Oklahoma, for its part, has seven NCAA titles with the most recent coming in 1974 under head coach Stan Abel.
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The Cowboys have found tremendous success but perhaps the most recent memorable moment for John Smith's program came in 2015, when the head coach pulled the redshirt of his then true freshman 133-pounder Kaid Brock and sent him out to face Oklahoma's NCAA champion Cody Brewer for Bedlam. Brock came out firing, picked up the first takedown, and started to find his groove. Less than 45 seconds later, he had Brewer on his back, sending the Cowboys faithful into an eruption of cheers.
This year's Oklahoma State team includes four All-Americans and seven ranked wrestlers, and the Cowboys will be looking not only for another win later this season, but for a memorable moment like the one that defined Bedlam in 2015.