OU football: Bedlam football rivalry to end once Sooners officially move to SEC, per report

·3 min read

Sep. 20—The future of the Bedlam rivalry has been in question since last summer, when Oklahoma announced it would move to the Southeastern Conference by no later than 2025.

According to a new report, that future may be nonexistent.

Oklahoma and Oklahoma State do not have plans to continue the annual rivalry series once the Sooners officially move to the SEC, per a report from Action Network's Brett McMurphy.

"[Playing Oklahoma] presents logistical issues under our current [scheduling] structure," Oklahoma State Athletic director Chad Weiberg told McMurphy. "We don't have any openings to play them. We're full. Unless there are significant undertakings to make the game happen, it can't happen."

Oklahoma athletic director Joe Castligione reiterated that sentiment to McMurphy.

"Oklahoma State has shown no interest to schedule any future games in football, so we're moving on (with filling OU's future non-conference openings)," Castligione told McMurphy.

The two athletic directors aren't the only ones to express doubt about the rivalry's future. Oklahoma State head coach Mike Gundy expressed pessimism before Big 12 Media Days back in July due to scheduling restraints.

Oklahoma State and Oklahoma, like many Power 5 schools, typically schedule one Power 5 opponent for their non-conference slate each season. With the exception of 2031-32, the Cowboys have scheduled at least one Power 5 non-conference opponent through 2038.

OU's schedule has changed recently, as non-conference games that were scheduled against future SEC opponents Georgia, Alabama, LSU and Tennessee have been shelved due to the Sooners' impending move to the SEC. However, there would still be difficulty in scheduling a non-conference game between the two state rivals anytime soon.

Though it could happen sooner, Oklahoma, along with Texas, are set to leave for the SEC following 2024-2025 season. If it holds, the Bedlam rivals will play three more times. The Sooners are set to host the matchups this season and in 2024, with Stillwater hosting in 2023.

The rivalry has been a consistent building block in college football since it was first played in 1904. The two teams have met every year since 1910, with the Sooners holding a 90-19-7 advantage in the all-time series record.

OU has won 16 of the past 19 meetings, though Oklahoma State's 37-33 victory last season helped keep the Sooners out of the Big 12 title game.

OU coach Brent Venables participated in 13 Bedlam matchups as a member of the Sooners' staff from 1999-2011, and this year will mark his first time as a head coach in the rivalry.

"If that's what they've decided to do, that's what they've decided to do," Venables said. "It doesn't really matter. I love rivalry games. For all the reasons, people have a deep, genuine investment in their school and take incredible pride. What it does in those environments is really cool. Like I've said before, I'm a traditionalist at heart.

"I understand what rivalries look like, whether that's the Sunflower Showdown or Oklahoma-Oklahoma State or going down the list of the other great ones out there. Those are great for college football."

Jesse Crittenden is the sports editor of The Transcript and covers OU athletics. Reach him at jesse@normantranscript.com or at 405-366-3580