The Norman Transcript


December 2, 2013

Rivalry much better when neither side owns the other

NORMAN — First, Gabe Ikard took to the microphone. The head coach had been delayed returning from a recruiting trip, so it was a new drill.

Then, it was Mike Stoops’ turn. Oklahoma’s defensive coordinator didn’t exactly make any news, though he was willing to say that confidence in the Sooner defense this year is “like night and day” compared to last. Nice when a coach accepts the obvious.

Then came Brennan Clay, who, along with Ikard, is one of the best talkers on the team.

Then came Bob Stoops.

First question: is Bedlam a zero-sum game, a case of anything good for the Pokes being bad for the Sooners, what about that?

“I don’t look at the other team,” Stoops said, like his words were shot out of a cannon, so charged you’d think it was a reporter with a history of being on his bad side who asked the question.

With that, the Sooner coach tried to arrest all the fun out of Bedlam week. Alas, he can’t pull it off.

It is the best kind of game. 

It is the game this series is promising to bring us more and more of through the years, and it is the game college football fans in Oklahoma should never complain about. Indeed, a couple of Sooners don’t seem to mind at all.

“Personally,” Ikard said, “I prefer them to be good and us to be good.”

That is, he likes a rivalry in which there’s a lot on the line and that’s a rivalry that demands two strong, conceivably equal combatants.

“It’s great for the state,” Ikard said. “It’s great for college football.”

Easy for him to say.

Ikard, the Sooner center, grew up in Oklahoma City, with friends on both sides of the rivalry. He can see it through a statewide eye.

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