If you want to make an Oklahoma State fan steaming mad then just tell them that the Cowboys aren’t even close to being Oklahoma’s biggest rival. If you want to get the same reaction from an Oklahoma fan then tell them that OSU is on par with the Texas rivalry, or even Nebraska of old. Thus, we have the Bedlam conundrum.
The numbers don’t lie, and perhaps that explains why Oklahoma looks at Oklahoma State as more of an annoyance than a rival. The Sooners are 87-18-7 in this series, which equates to a whopping 81% winning percentage. This also explains the insecurities the Cowboys have in insisting that the Bedlam series is, in fact, a rivalry.
The truth is, no one outside of the state of Oklahoma would consider this to be a true rivalry because of how lopsided it is. The Sooners are riding a three-game winning streak currently, and have won thirteen of the last fifteen contests. OU’s longest winning streak in the series was at 19 games, and their longest losing streak is 2 games.
By definition a rivalry is, “competition for the same objective or for superiority in the same field.” There’s no questioning Oklahoma’s superiority in this series. Think about this for just a quick second, Oklahoma’s longest winning streak (at 19 games) is more games than Oklahoma State has won in the entire 112-year history of the series.
The series can’t stand as a rivalry on it’s own so it has to progress towards a genuine hatred towards the opponent to make it work…and there’s a lot of hatred to go around. Oklahoma State hates being referred to the little brother, and they absolutely hate being reminded of their history in the series.
On the other side, Oklahoma hates the fact that there’s a possibility they could lose this game. If the Sooners win then on to business as usual for the next week. If they lose then it becomes a lifetime of reliving the painful memory.
Its that hate, and not a rivalry, that draws people into this game. The hate of being reminded your place. The hate of the possibility of losing. The hate of knowing that if you’re team does lose then your friend, neighbor, or co-worker, who knows nothing about football isn’t going to stop talking for a year.
That’s while you’ll be tuning in Saturday afternoon. You support your team but, even more so, you hate the team across the field from them.