Mike Gundy earns the right to retire from Bedlam a winner

Mike Gundy earns the right to retire from Bedlam a winner

Guerin Emig: Want to attach sights and sounds to the term “going out on top"? Show OSU's head coach in the tunnel, with Taylor Swift’s “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together” blaring over the Boone Pickens speakers outside as fans convert one of the goalposts into a trophy.

Guerin Emig

By Guerin Emig

| Nov 7, 2023, 6:00am CST

Guerin Emig

By Guerin Emig

Nov 7, 2023, 6:00am CST

STILLWATER – I led Mike Gundy into Fantasyland Monday. 

My question: Say Chad Weiberg calls you today with news that Oregon needs out of your home-and-home in 2025-26. He tells you he can schedule Oklahoma instead. What would you say?

Gundy’s answer: “That’s way over my head.”

What if Weiberg said it was your call?

“I wouldn’t touch that on Twitter with a 10-foot pole. That’s like commenting on gun laws or abortion or immigration, something like that. I mean, you have no chance of winning from the public on that. So if I ever wanna run for governor of the state of Oklahoma, you’ve gotta learn to avoid questions like that. That is a no-win situation.”

If I were Gundy, I wouldn’t touch OU with a pole as long as the line outside Eskimo Joe’s last Saturday night. 

Which is why while he was answering evasively during his Monday press conference, he had to be thinking clearly, just two words necessary.

Hell. No. 

OU has been Gundy’s all-time albatross, twice the headache of NIL and the transfer portal put together. He just beat the Sooners in the last scheduled game between the century-old rivals.

He just beat the Sooners on a day OSU fans turned pregame around Boone Pickens Stadium into Mardi Gras and postgame around Stillwater into … well … 

Photo gallery: Bedlam 2023 in pictures

No Images found.

You know those movies where zombies move in impossibly large packs at impossibly fast speeds to inflict terror? Imagine those zombies are OSU fans and all they want to do is party, not eat people. 

That’s how much Cowboy Nation soaked up 27-24 over the Sooners. Gundy knows.

Looking back Monday, he attached the word “electricity” to Saturday’s pregame scene. 

Postgame, Gundy didn’t stick around for the traditional OSU alma mater because there wasn’t an alma mater because there was no place to stand and sing along with those joyful zombies overrunning the field. So he beat it into a tunnel and stayed there 25 minutes congratulating players, greeting alumni, posing for pictures and probably pinching himself now and then. 

Want to attach sights and sounds to the term “going out on top?” Show Gundy in the tunnel, with Taylor Swift’s “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together” blaring over the Boone Pickens speakers outside as fans convert one of the goalposts into a trophy

Why play Bedlam again when the game is never ever getting any better for the winning coach of the last one scheduled? 

When his series record before Saturday was 3-15? 

When it’s not his fault the other side decided to complicate everything by joining the SEC in the first place?

It’s worth asking for tradition’s sake, mostly, but also out of respect for the “electricity” Bedlam tends to generate. 

We felt it in the interview room Saturday when someone asked Gundy about a Bedlam rescheduling. He pivoted to scheduling difficulty, both schools’ pat explanation, before specifying that nobody needs the headache of a second Power Five nonconference opponent when they’re trying to reach the College Football Playoff.

OSU, with Arkansas, Oregon, Alabama and Nebraska on the book through 2035, doesn’t need the headache. Sure, the Cowboys could replace a future creampuff with OU – it’s a little easier to buy your way out of a game against Tennessee-Martin (scheduled for 2025) than a home-and-home with Alabama – but there could be collateral football damage. 

“To think that you’re gonna schedule another game like (Bedlam), and then go through a grueling conference schedule to put yourself in a position (for the Playoff) is a poor business decision. It’s a poor investment,” Gundy said Saturday. “It’s just not smart.”

I didn’t hear anything about replacing one nonconference Power Five opponent with another. I was still vibrating from Boone Pickens’ pandemonium. 

I thought, I’ll just turn a minute of Monday’s press conference into Make Believe where Oregon calls Weiberg with bad news, Weiberg and Joe Castiglione call each other out of intrigue, and then Weiberg checks with his head coach.   

Nope. Gundy wasn’t going there. 

You don’t blame me for asking do you?

“What, if I’m running for governor?”

I already know you’re gonna do that someday. You’ll probably win, too. 

“No, I don’t blame you for asking. But that’s one of those questions I wouldn’t touch with a 10-foot pole.”  

Outside the press conference window was a field still missing a goalpost. On a campus still waking students from their celebrations. In a community where, I can attest having driven Main Street on my way out of town around 10:30 Saturday night, cars can become floats given the perfect football score. 

To consider that, then the head coach on the winning side of it? All he has felt over the 18 Bedlams before Saturday’s? All he felt in the 25 minutes after this one ended, another nowhere in sight and no place to go but back down? 

Silly of me to even ask.

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Guerin Emig is a columnist for the Sellout Crowd network. Read his work at selloutcrowd.com and guerinemig.com. Reach out with feedback and/or ideas at [email protected] or (918) 629-6229. Follow him on Twitter at @GuerinEmig and Instagram at @guerin.emig. .

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