A Message About Rivalries to My Fellow Sooners

I'm here to beseech you all to see some reason on a point I've made many times in comments, but that seems particularly relevant right now, given how many wet dreams came true just a scant two weeks ago.

Every year, the Oklahoma sports media (i.e., Tramel at the Oklahoman,the guys at the Sports Animal, and many more) bang the drum really hard to make the so-called "Bedlam rivalry" a big, serious, stop-the-state-for-it kind of thing. They've done this much more since the beginning of the Big 12 effectively ended the annual Thanksgiving matchup between OU and Nebraska, clearly OU's most meaningful game alongside the Texas game.

My primary point is that it's time to fully acknowledge who are TRUE rivals are, and leave the rest of the pretenders behind. And that means, Bedlam needs to go.

Let's get down to brass tacks. What defines a "rivalry"? I'd say three things: both fanbases need to care universally care passionately about the series; the series should routinely be competitive; and if possible, there should be big things on the line for both teams when the game is played. Let's take each point and see if Bedlam holds up.

1. I would argue that OSU fans care a whole lot more about this "rivalry" than OU fans ever have, or ever will. Case in point: the way the two teams view, prepare, and handle the annual football match-up.

OU, its players, coaches, and fans, don't really care when during the season the game is played. We play to win every game, and we play for championships. OSU is merely another team to be defeated. In fact, I was one who favored a move to another conference, even if OSU did not come along. And I stick by that. I would gladly trade playing OSU every year for playing Nebraska every year, and I'm pretty sure that many of you would agree. If you look back at the schedule, OSU has only been the Thanksgiving game since 1999. Prior to that, the OSU game could fall anywhere on the schedule, from early October to mid-November. And we really didn't kick up that much of a fuss about it, did we?

OSU, on the other hand, wants the game played at one point of the season ONLY: last. That gives them the most time to perfect themselves. Remember the fuss they kicked up when OU wanted to take the week before the Big 12 Championship off (because we play for championships and try to plan accordingly), and so forced the OU-OSU game to be played at the beginning of November for two seasons? They also want us to play them on Thanksgiving so that they can take what they believe to be their "rightful place", now that Nebraska doesn't play us any more. They have even scheduled an off-week to come the week before the OU game the past two seasons. It's obvious Gundy knows what every good OSU coach knows: beat OU, and it doesn't matter how many other games you lose.

That attitude doesn't just hold for football. Read the recap of today's Bedlam wrestling match, which was dominated by OSU. And look at the quotes from the OSU coaches: "embarrass" comes up as the primary motivation for OSU. They want to "embarrass" OU, every time. On the other hand, think about what our goals are: sure, we want to beat OSU, but it's mostly just to shut them up for another year. How often have you admitted to cheering for OSU when they're not playing OU? (I'm not one of those people, but know many diehard OU fans who are.) Do you think we get that courtesy returned? And think about this: when you're coming up with rival jokes, do you think up OSU jokes? Or Texas jokes? One of the best OU rival jokes I ever heard had a Sooner, a Longhorn, and a Cornhusker...notice who's missing.

Let me close this section with the coup de grace:

Here at the Crimson and Cream Machine, I don't think I've ever seen anything of this nature, unless it related to the Austin school. And even then, I don't know if I can recall seeing anything this....focused. I see the "House Divided" almost every day. Do you feel the same way that this OSU author does?

2. The series has never been very competitive. What makes this all the more baffling to me is, the rivalry really isn't very competitve, in any particular sport. Football is owned by OU by a wide margin (82-17-7). Wrestling, where "Bedlam" supposedly began, has been owned pretty thoroughly by OSU, again by a wide margin (129-27-9). There have been competitive games or matches, but those are the exception rather than the rule.I have had some difficulty finding historical records for baseball and the minor sports, but basketball is the only sport where the published record makes the rivalry look somewhat...interesting, and even that record is lopsided: OU holds the lead 127-93. Given that the teams play only twice a season (or so, depending on tournament play), that means that OSU would need to win every matchup for the next 15 seasons to get the series back to even. Not nearly as daunting as the task would be in football, it's true, but that's still no picnic.

3. There usually isn't much on the line, because usually only OU is playing for something important, at least in football. If "bowl eligibility" is all that big, then yes, OSU often has had something big to play for. But generally, OSU's primary "big thing" is spoiling OU's national championship plans. And that's all. There generally isn't a huge deal going on in the other sports, because single games/matches are not crucial to a team's season in baseball, or basketball, or wrestling.

So here's my argument. Let's let "Bedlam" die. If we, as a collective fanbase, don't care, don't focus on it, don't talk about it, don't hype it up, they can continue to try to make it a rivalry all they want. However, in reality it will be nothing more than it has been: OSU fans running their mouths non-stop while we win championships (or OSU fans running their mouths non-stop while they win championships, in the case of wrestling). Don't let them goad you into it. Don't let the media goad you into it. Don't let anything goad you into a "rivalry" that I doubt any of us really want all that much. I mean, seriously, it's not a TRUE rivalry now, and yet we still have to listen to those OSU idiots run their dadgum mouths ALL THE TIME. Do you really want to give them the satisfaction of what they TRULY want? Do you want to elevate them to a level they don't deserve, and haven't earned?

So let it go, folks. No more "Bedlam Hate Week," which was really a pretty halfhearted thing, anyway. Just let it go.

FanPost are for the voice of the fan and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Crimson and Cream Machine administrators.

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