This was supposed to be last year’s story. They had their Heisman trophy winning coming back for a shot at immortality. We had our Heisman trophy aspiring wide receiver trying to re-write the record books. Both running backs assaulting all-time Big XII rushing records. Both teams ranked in the top 10. It was supposed to be a pair of 11-0 teams doing it up in Norman with a national title on the line last Thanksgiving.
Then Dr. James Andrews got involved. And the NCAA got involved. Then a few injuries happened and before you knew it, OSU and OU were playing a late November snooze-fest that actually incited me to Wikipedia “NCAA single game punts record.” I think it was like 36.
So rewind (or fast-forward depending on where your head is at) to this August. A rebuilding year in Stillwater. A “yeah we’re ranked 8th but it’s probably just because we have “Sooners” written across our chest and not because we’re actually good” year in Norman. Two coaches who had no idea how exciting their teams were. A tandem of semi-unproven quarterbacks at the helm of uber-young squads.
Then this happened.
Texas’ fortress fell. A&M couldn’t find a quarterback. Tech didn’t know which offensive playbook they were supposed to use. OU rolled. OSU went undefeated on the road. Both teams found their playmakers. Gameday called.
One of my friends texted me on Saturday afternoon after the rout in Lawrence and said, “how much are you willing to pay for a ticket next weekend?”
My response: “You can’t set that number high enough.”
Somebody older than me, my dad or one of his friends, or my father-in-law, could probably tell you about “this game in ‘84” or “that showdown in ‘76” or “this one time in ‘87” but it doesn’t matter. I wasn’t coherent back then if I was even alive for those games. This one, the last game in Bedlam history to decide who gets to represent the states of Oklahoma and Texas in the Big XII Championship, is the one I’ll remember. The one I’ll tell my kids about, “son, there was this slugfest back in ’10…”
The game in ’04 was the most emotional sporting event I’ve ever been to. That was the Peterson game, the one where Prentiss almost made the greatest Bedlam catch ever, the one where Ricks had a 48-yarder to tie it at 38 as time expired. He left it short. Then there was the ’06 game. That was the Paul Thompson game, or, as OSU fans know it, the “hmm maybe we should bench our 5-star QB from Houston because this Zac guy from Colorado seems pretty adept at running our offense” game. D’Juan had a tipped ball in the back of the endzone as time ran out. We lost 27-21. They’d still be rebuilding the place if he’d caught it. The ’08 game was as electric as I’ve ever seen Boone Pickens. That was the Bradford helicopter game. Dez was ridiculous that night. He made the best catch I’ve ever seen him make on a ball Zac underthrew (imagine that) that he came back for and caught about 2 inches off the ground before wildly spinning into the endzone. Bradford made every throw imaginable that night though, we didn’t have the firepower we needed to hang. They put up 60 and rolled.
Here’s to this year being different.
And it’s been different all year. Every single time I’ve though, “oh, great, here we go again..” somebody has put an exclamation point on a massive play or plunged the dagger on the road. Every single time.
Maybe it’s Weeden’s easy-going-yeah-I-bang-drivers-for-fun-on-my-off-days attitude. Or maybe it’s that the team has been infused with some optimistic we-don’t-care-about-history attitude from Joseph Randle, Shaun Lewis, and Justin Gilbert. Or maybe it’s our new set in a long line of triplets. Or maybe it’s that our new offensive coordinator only cares about two things in life: not washing his hair and hanging 65 on every single team we play. Or maybe it’s Gundy’s break dancing routine that sends Richetti Jones into fits of laughter every time somebody brings it up.
Whatever it is, I’m in. It’s been a total blast. Every second of it. The end-around reverse to Blackmon in the Baylor game, the game-winner from Bailey at home against A&M, the massive removal of the monkey on our back down in Austin. Every game has been signed, sealed, and delivered with an orange stamp and a black signature.
But now we need a signature win.
Bedlam for the South.
With the whole nation watching.
To play for the Big XII title.
I can’t wait to see smoke pouring out of the corral with 50 Cent’s “Ready for War” booming over Gallagher-Iba as Orie leads the team out wielding the hit stick. It’s going to be as electric as it’s ever been.
I want to come out in the orange tops and black pants as 50,000+ go into a complete frenzy.
I want our former-professional-baseball-player quarterback to embarrass their future-preacher-currently-hideously-mustachioed quarterback.
I want Blackmon to show Broyles who the Heisman candidate is and who the All-Big XII candidate is.
I want Kendall to show DeMarco what a 1,000 yard rusher looks like.
I don’t just want to beat OU, I want to torch them. I want Herbie and Musburger to grovel at how good we are right after Blackmon catches his 3rd TD and does the stiff-arm pose in the West endzone in front of all the students.
I want Holgorsen to empty his thick playbook. I want to see every formation he has. I want us to take the ball and go over the top to Blackmon on the first play as a big ‘screw you Venables, it is ON tonight’ message.’”
I want Randle to catch swing pass after swing pass while Venables and Kevin Wilson get into a fistfight on the OU sideline.
I want to send them to the Alamo Bowl.
I want Gilbert to return a kick and take an errant Landry Jones pass to the house. Side note: I might seriously become physically injured if Gilbert scores on Saturday night. He’s my Patrick Peterson.
I want Markelle Martin to Jevan Snead Ryan Broyles.
I want, as my boy Matty Quade said, for Gundy to look down the sideline in the 4th quarter and say “Dana, leave no doubt!”
I want Weeden on the sideline with about 5 minutes left waving one of those sick black Nike towels as BPS gets ready to empty 50,000+ right into the center of the field where we’ll all jump up and down on the logo and chant “Big 12 Champs” deep into the cold Stillwater night.
And we’ll all celebrate with our family. Not our real ones mind you, for all of them will be back in their houses, nice and warm and glowing from our latest conquest. But we’ll jump up and down with the members of our O-State family. With the people who have become as much a part of our lives as those we grew up with. And at the end of the night, no matter where we are or how it ends, we’ll put our arms around each other and sing the alma mater and have enjoyed the 105th edition of Bedlam. The other 104 were different though.
This one’s for history.