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The Debate As To Whether Or Not OSU Can Still Be Considered "Little Brother"

Ronald Martinez


That's where the all-time Bedlam football series currently stands. It's a stat every Oklahoma State fan will immediately seek to dismiss when discussing the rivalry, while many an Oklahoma fan will be more than happy to use as reason for why OSU has/is/always will be "little brother."

And that is where today's debate will begin.

OSU fans are understandably quite anxious to shed themselves and their beloved program of said "little brother" tag. It's something they take offense to and something they feel, over the course of the past four or five years, they've earned the right to dismiss.

But have they?

I think it's here, even this early into the debate, where either because of convenience, desperation, or whatever your preferred method of delivery is where their argument is inherently flawed from the outset.

You see OSU fans (and the local media, who are just as desperate for this rivalry to be more competitive/relevant) will point to their success and accomplishments in recent years as their argument for why they are no longer "little brother."

They'll remind you that it's them, not OU, that has a chance to win a Big 12 Championship on Saturday.

They'll remind you that it's them, not OU, that has a chance to win a Big 12 Championship in two out of the past three seasons.

They'll remind you that it's them, not OU, that has a chance to play in a BCS bowl for the second time in the past three seasons with a win this Saturday.

Which is all well and good, more than slightly impressive, and a credit to everything Mike Gundy has and continues to do with that program. me out here. What exactly does any of that have to do with Bedlam?

What OSU fans won't remind you is that even though they have achieved recent success unlike almost any other time in their program's history, they've still only managed to defeat the Sooners once in the past ten meetings. Or that Mike Gundy is 1-7 against Oklahoma as a head coach, obviously meaning the Bedlam rivalry has only become even more lopsided in OU's favor during his tenure.

Mind you, that one win was an incredibly impressive victory and one in which they thoroughly embarrassed Oklahoma. What it wasn't however was a win that redefined the Bedlam rivalry as we know it.

See, this is simply an argument of convenience. It's not one that can possibly be taken seriously. If for no other reason than it was just one win. Albeit it an already admitted impressive one. But it's still just one win over the last decade.

It's statements like the one above that prevent OU fans from taking OSU fans seriously.

To that same simple point of convenience, one only needs to look as far as OSU fans' stance on the historical aspect of this rivalry mentioned at the outset.

Why are the past three-to-five years now relevant to their argument?

Obviously because they're been successful as a program over that same time span. Mind you, not more successful in Bedlam, but more successful as a program.

Had that not been the case, I'm quite confident the historical aspect would be just as conveniently irrelevant as they adamantly proclaim 83-17-7 to be.

OSU fans seem to want the respect they've yet to earn simply because they have been more competitive in recent years. It's understandable you'd want to ignore the history of the rivalry considering how lopsided it is in Oklahoma's favor.

But it's that same history that has earned you the "little brother" moniker and it's only in changing said history that you'll ever rid yourself of it.

Just being competitive isn't enough. And the fact that you would even think that it is (or at least allude to it in comments like the one above), while being one-and-whatever in however far you want to go back in recent series history, only helps to illustrate the point of OU fans that believe you'll always be "little brother."

Winning is the only way you'll ever change things. And it's more than just winning outside of the Bedlam game, which given my experience on Twitter this past week with OSU fans is certainly where the disconnect appears to have taken place.

Yes, OSU is winning on a near historical level for their program. No one with a brain is denying that. And while I suppose on some level the "little brother" stigma emanated from you historically doing significantly less than that, in MUCH larger part you earned your status as "little brother" as a direct result of your lack of success against your in-state rival.

Thus winning against Oklahoma is the only way you're ever going to change that.

And that means much more than one win every ten years. Or even two out of eleven if you're fortunate enough to come out ahead this coming Saturday*.

*Although I can absolutely guarantee you if OSU does win on Saturday the narrative coming out of that game will be how they've won two out of the last three, how they've finally turned the Bedlam corner, how it's a sign of change to come, and/or some variation on all of the above.

From that same Berry Tramel article linked to above:

The Bedlam Series no longer defines Cowboy football.

Believe it or not OSU fans, this is a statement I, an ardent OU fan, actually agrees with.

But that's also not what we're discussing here.

While the Bedlam Series may no longer define Cowboy football, "little brother" does still define your role in the Bedlam Series.

2011 didn't change that. And neither will Saturday. At least not on their own. 2011 was a start, at least by your standards of a one game winning streak constituting a "start." And while things are certainly trending in your favor towards eventually ridding yourself of "little brother" status, it's going to take years -- plural -- to manage that feat.

So, at least for now, you're still "little brother."