It’s no surprise most Oklahoma State football fans can’t wait for the season to start Aug. 31. This Cowboy football team is going to be good, maybe the best that’s ever stepped on the turf in Stillwater dawning the orange and black.
As good as OSU is going to be, it still has Oklahoma on the schedule.
And at that, OSU might get lucky enough to play the Sooners twice in about a month. Once in Stillwater on Nov. 4 and once in Arlington, Texas, in the Big 12 Championship Game. There’s a long season ahead, and a lot could happen to prevent that matchup from happening for Big 12 bragging rights, but it would be upsetting if it wasn’t the Sooners and Cowboys battling for ultimate bragging rights in Arlington. At least for a year.
But is playing OU twice in one season good for the Pokes?
86-18-7. Yes, fans of both schools know what those numbers mean. It’s the Bedlam series numbers, easily favoring the Sooners. The past two seasons, the Bedlam game has decided the Big 12 champion, OU winning both. This could be the third-straight season the game decides a possible berth in the College Football Playoff, but that may not be a good thing for the Cowboys.
To succeed in the Big 12, you have to beat Texas and OU. Although Texas has been down the past three seasons, it’s still one of the top programs in the country for football. The Sooners have a new head coach in Lincoln Riley, but he’s looking to bring the Sooners another championship. Their eighth.
OSU has one in football, and even that one has a bit of controversy. But fans will see “1945 National Champions” on the east end zone wall this season. OSU is becoming a football powerhouse, but you have to beat OU and Texas to get out of the Big 12.
Texas hasn’t been the Cowboys’ issue; it has been their rivals to the south. The Sooners have been a problem since they played at Mineral Wells Park in Guthrie for their first meeting in 1904 and it was still a problem in 2016.
As much hype as OSU has, how is someone supposed to confidently look at their schedule and think if they played OU twice, the orange and black could win both of those matchups. It’s almost unforeseen, though records are bound to be broken.
The last time OSU won back-to-back games against OU, you have to go to the 2001 and 2002 seasons. Fifteen years. It took coach Mike Gundy seven tries until he beat OU in 2011, the best team in Cowboy history.
But the Sooners have dominated the series. From 1977 to 1994, OSU didn’t win a game. Eighteen straight without a win. Shoot, from 1946-94, the Cowboys won three games. Three wins in 49 games. The Sooners haven’t just beat the Cowboys; they’ve embarrassed them.
And no, football isn’t the only sport that counts, but it’s the one that brings in the most money. An average OSU fan will know the name of OSU’s starting quarterback, but if you ask them to name the starting wrestler at 141 pounds, nine times out of ten they won’t have a clue.
The team OSU puts out onto the field won’t be like others it has had in the past. The Cowboys will have one of the best offensive teams in the country and will be able to outscore almost anybody. There are questions marks on the defensive side of the ball, but there are also returning players who have made an impact in the past who are looking to hush the doubters.
If the Cowboys are 8-0 when the crimson and cream come into town, not many will pick against them. Why would you? OSU will likely be a top-five team and have more confidence than any teams in the conference.
Beating the Sooners in Stillwater is the hardest regular season game of the season, but it will be easy compared to if the Sooners are waiting in Arlington for a shot at redemption with a College Football Playoff berth on the line.
The Cowboys are coming for the throne, but they might have to beat the king twice. It’s hard to see that happening, but this is the team that can do it.