NORMAN — Bedlam is interesting on so many levels, but my favorite level is the one that Oklahoma State must feel and hope to know for certain, but that Oklahoma must feel and want to deny.
Because the Sooners, the program and its nation, have long accepted the Texas game as a world apart from all others. Even among coaches, a world in which the next game is always the most important game, the game at the Texas State Fair is acknowledged as something bigger.
The emerging story of Bedlam, though, is that it is becoming the same thing.
There is not the history of huge and meaningful tilts and there is no neutral field, but the Pokes, who have won 48 games this season and the previous four (two fewer than OU’s 50), including a conference championship only last year, have proven to have the thing most required to raise Bedlam to the next level.
Now on their third quarterback, Clint Chelf, the Cowboys have won seven games this season, eight if the refs get it right against Texas, nine, probably, if defensive coordinator Bill Young had been well enough to travel to Arizona State.
Still, for all of that which OU must come to terms with — seeing it’s old intrastate rival as a (near) equal — there is still something that might make Bedlam yet bigger and better.
A Big 12 championship game.
OU, amazingly, is back in the conference race. Kansas State holds destiny in its hands, but must beat Texas a week from Saturday if the Sooners can get by the Pokes in four days and TCU in 11.
But if there were a five-team North and a five-team South making up the 10-team Big 12, the Sooners and Cowboys (and, sort of, Texas) would be the last teams standing in a race to reach the conference title game, which one must admit is sorely missed.