STILLWATER, Okla. (AP) -- Bedlam always brings a chance for
bragging rights in Oklahoma. This year, it's about so much more for
those who bleed crimson or are orange to the bone.
For No. 13 Oklahoma (9-2, 6-1 Big 12), a win means a spot in the
Big 12 title game. For Oklahoma State (6-5, 3-4), a victory could
help prevent a second straight postseason with no bowl game at all.
"It's real big, like every game," Oklahoma quarterback Paul Thompson said. "Not just because it's a rivalry, but as far as
where we want to end up in the Big 12, where we want to end up as
far as bowl games, where we want to end up just overall nationally
in our rankings.
"I think there's definitely a sense of urgency, a sense of
focus among the players, the coaches, everyone just knowing the
importance of this game."
A loss by Texas on Friday gave the Sooners hope for reaching a
the Bowl Championship Series for the fourth time in five years.
Beat the Cowboys on Saturday and North champ Nebraska next week,
and Oklahoma is back in the BCS.
"We're definitely worthy of it if we can continue to do what we
need to do," Thompson said.
That puts the Cowboys in position to be a spoiler, like they
were in 2001 and 2002. Oklahoma State's 16-13 win in Norman in 2001
knocked Oklahoma out of the national title picture and the BCS. The
next season, the Cowboys eliminated any lingering chances a
once-beaten Oklahoma team could play for the national title.
What if the Cowboys did it again?
"I think it would be special," Oklahoma State guard Kurt
Seifried said. "But we're just focusing on us. ... If we beat
them, then our season can continue."
Those are the stakes in Stillwater. The Cowboys are one of nine
bowl-eligible football teams in the Big 12 that are vying for eight
guaranteed bowl spots. By rule, no team with six wins could go to a
bowl game over a seven-win team.
"This is just another step getting to where we need to be at,"
Oklahoma State linebacker Jeremy Nethon said. "I just think that
each step that we take, we need to take it seriously. ... Just
because it's OU, there's some extra perks to it, but we're still
needing to take care of business to get there."
And don't forget the Bedlam bragging rights.
"This is for respect," Cowboys tackle Corey Hilliard said.
"There's so much that goes into this game emotion-wise. I can't
speak for their part. On our part, it does. It's the game of the
season for us."
While Oklahoma has dominated the series over the past century,
it's far closer of late. Oklahoma State has won five of the last 11
games, including two of the last four in Stillwater.
"OU, they're going to have a big challenge on their hands
because we're not a pushover team," Oklahoma State linebacker
Rodrick Johnson said.
This will be the 101st Bedlam game, with Oklahoma holding a
76-17-1 advantage so far.
The 100th meeting didn't have so much riding on it. Oklahoma
State had already been eliminated from bowl contention before last
season's 42-14 thumping in Norman, and all the Sooners got from the
win was a slightly better bowl destination.
This season, it's a whole new ball game -- and that's hard to
"Even though you want to say it's just a normal game," Nethon
said, "something inside of you is just saying, `This is pretty
Top 25 Overview
The Sooners head into Stillwater for the annual Bedlam matchup with an outside shot at the Big 12 South title still in play. But that pales in comparison to the talk that Adrian Peterson could return for the bowl game.