The annual Bedlam game between Oklahoma and Oklahoma State has been rescheduled from the last weekend of the regular season to avoid the two teams playing in back-to-back weeks.
Bedlam will arrive a little bit earlier than normal next season in the state of Oklahoma, as the annual rivalry game between Oklahoma and Oklahoma State has moved to November 4 from the last weekend of the regular season, per ESPN.
With the renewal of the Big 12 Championship game starting next season, there were concerns from both Sooners head coach Bob Stoops and Cowboys head coach Mike Gundy that the two schools would face each other in back-to-back weeks, something that would have occurred a few times over the past several years.
Since the conference will remain without divisions, the two teams with the best record will meet in the yearly championships game. If that had been in play this season, Stoops and Gundy would have seen each other on opposite sidelines on two straight Saturdays.
The move, though it might not be popular with the two fan bases, makes the most sense for both teams that have been at or near the top of the Big 12 for a while. There will always be a chance that the situation where two teams meet two weeks in a row happens, but the conference is at least doing its best to avoid that.
When asked in November about a possible rescheduling of the rivalry game to prevent the potential back-to-backs, Gundy said, “I voted for divisions. It would allow the Big 12 to schedule conference opponents that are in the same division at the latter part of the season and then you wouldn’t get a back-to-back title game. The way it is right now, I think, but I’m not for sure, that in four of the last years, and this year, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State would be playing each other again next week. That’s why I would like to see them go to divisions is to eliminate the back-to-back.”
Stoops agreed on the league taking a look at rescheduling, but said having the No. 1 and No. 2 teams in the conference championship game is what would be best.
“You get the biggest bang for your buck when you’re playing the top two teams,” Stoops said. “That’s where you are going to get the biggest audience, the biggest interest, and the most respect from the playoff committee. That’s the reason to do it.”
Stoops has a valid point about the two top teams playing each other in the conference championship, as the Big 12 has missed out on two of the three College Football Playoffs since its inception in 2014.
Bedlam means a lot to both fan bases, so while maybe disappointing that the date is being pushed back, the Big 12 is safeguarding one of the league’s top rivalries as well as title games from both being watered down.