Requiem for a rivalry: OU and OSU fans vent their feelings on Bedlam’s end

Requiem for a rivalry: OU and OSU fans vent their feelings on Bedlam’s end

Bedlam belongs to the fans more than any players or coaches, and now it is ending. That’s why the Sellout Crowd staff got together to ask you the same question: How does the end of Bedlam make you feel?

Ben Hutchens

By Ben Hutchens

| Nov 3, 2023, 6:00am CDT

Ben Hutchens

By Ben Hutchens

Nov 3, 2023, 6:00am CDT

Some players will participate in four, maybe five Bedlams. Coaches, if they are lucky, might reach double-digits. Those are blinks of an eye to the Oklahoma and Oklahoma State fans who have agonized over Bedlam for decades.

Bedlam belongs to the fans more than any players or coaches, and now it is ending. That’s why the Sellout Crowd staff got together to ask you the same question: How does the end of Bedlam make you feel?

Court Phillips, Stillwater, Oklahoma State fan: “I’m sick to see it go. You always want to play against your rival. Even though OU has a much better record than us in football, I look forward to that game every year. I hope it comes back soon, but we shall see. Glad it’s sticking around for wrestling. Hope other sports will follow.”

Bill Medley IV, Edmond, Oklahoma fan: “I think that it is a loss for the state and both programs. The folks in Norman made it abundantly clear that preserving Bedlam, if possible, was a significant priority. I think the choice by OSU to get out of that rivalry is unfortunate and short-sighted. I believe that many teams are defined to some extent by their rivalries, especially for the fans, including recruits. This game is about emotions like love and loyalty, and joy and heartbreak. It’s about the experience. I can understand at a micro-level how the Pokes want out of such a lopsided rivalry.  But from a higher elevation, I can’t see how it will end up benefiting them. It is a big loss for both teams but maybe a bigger one for those in Stillwater long-term.” 

Lyndell Dalrymple, McLoud, Oklahoma State fan: “I’m glad it’s coming to an end, to be honest with you. I have a twin brother and he likes Oklahoma, so it’s always been a constant thing where I know that my brother is going to be hurting if they lose and I’m going to be hurting if we lose, so I’m glad it’s coming to an end.”

Benjamin Stokes, Oklahoma fan: “It would be disingenuous for me to say ‘it doesn’t matter,’ or, ‘I don’t care.’ I do care because it’s been a staple of every OU season since I’ve been old enough to know what’s happening. I no longer live in Oklahoma, so it’s not quite as relevant or topical as it once was (in school, at work, etc) for me, but for many, it remains relevant because they see OSU fans daily.”

Colin Johnston, Tulsa, Oklahoma State fan: “Bedlam in other sports would be a good thing. But Bedlam football can go the way of the dodo. I’m glad Bedlam football is dying. Of course, it could be continued, but why should we as Oklahoma State fans want it to? Bedlam is willingly visiting your toxic family member. Or in this case, inviting your toxic family member over to your house (Boone Pickens Stadium), so they can trash it.”

Randy Gibson, Provo, Utah, Oklahoma fan: “As a Sooner fan of 49 years and an alum who was a member of a spirit group, I’m not sad to see Bedlam go away. OSU and media hyped it as a rival game. Most OU grads and students only saw them as a pest. Our rival has always been Texas and years ago also Nebraska. I’m glad to see little brother out of our hair.”

Truitt Taylor, Blanchard, Oklahoma State fan:  “I am an OSU ’21 graduate and currently attend OU Law. In May I will have a degree from both schools. I’ve been able to experience the culture of both OU and OSU, and I hate that this game is going away. Both schools get up for this game.

“If you ask a random Oklahoman from Wewoka, Oklahoma, for example, if OU and OSU like each other they will probably respond in the negative. Children in this state grow up wearing either red or orange, it is just how it is. I think each school’s hatred for each other will continue despite the lack of an annual meeting on the gridiron. The hatred will just grow more dormant. But it will always be there.”

John-Mark Stromberg, Tallahassee, Florida, Oklahoma fan: “I’d prefer an annual date with Nebraska over OSU, which I’m sure is more of an older generation take; as a 25-year-old, I’m sure that I am an outlier. I guess we’re destined for Thanksgiving meetings with Missouri from here on out. How exciting is that?”

Taylor Carpenter, Oklahoma State fan: “It will be the fans’ last chance to air their grievances, and there will be plenty. A win would be a monumental cap to the end of a terrible series for the Cowboys and a loss would just mean a shorter walk to The Strip to drown their sorrows. I think we’ll miss it more or less depending on the outcome of this final game.”

Patricia Gelnar, St. Louis, Oklahoma fan: “My siblings and I all graduated from either OU or OSU.  Three still live in Oklahoma and two in Missouri. None of us have season tickets for either school, but I bought OSU season tickets (before the season) so we could attend the last Bedlam — and provide a rare opportunity for the siblings to get together. My sister doesn’t want to sit through the football game, but my three (OSU alum) brothers and I will be there with bells on, and we are looking forward to it.

“We are all very disgusted with the current (money-grubbing) state of college athletics and very disappointed that Bedlam is either comatose or dead —  as are many other rivalry games.”

Justin Mock, St. Charles, Illinois, Oklahoma State fan: “I’m glad it’s going away. It’s been an absolute albatross over the entire football program. Gundy has some sort of psychological impairment when it comes to this game. Most close games magically go the Sooners’ way.

“Gundy’s record at OSU is nothing short of amazing.  He’s recognized in 49 out of 50 states as one of the best coaches in college football. The one state that doesn’t appreciate him is his home state. Because he never wins Bedlam! He’ll always be known for that, and his program will always be compared to that of OU’s in the state. It’s a cruel twist of fate but it’s true. This terrible rivalry can’t get in our rearview mirror fast enough.”

David Iverson, Norman, Oklahoma fan: “I don’t have much love for Oklahoma State. When they get beat the amount of bellyaching that goes on drives me crazy and then when they win, we’ve got to hear about it for the next 10 years. Having said all that, I do believe in state rivalries, and I had hoped there was some way that the football situation could continue.”

Kirk Stites, Fort Smith, Oklahoma State fan: “I will be there Saturday, and as a bleeder of orange will miss this terribly. If nothing else it gave me a reason to go to Norman and drag the kids along every other year for a very long time. I have degrees from both schools but have always hung my bachelor’s degree from OSU on the wall above my MD from OU. Got a lot of mileage out of that over the years.”

(Berry Tramel contributed to this story)



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Ben Hutchens and his twin brother Sam cover Oklahoma State for the Sellout Crowd. After a decade of living in the state, Ben finally feels justified in calling himself an Oklahoman. It is in Oklahoma where he turned an obsession with sports into a career. He collected bylines on all 16 Oklahoma State varsity sports during his time as a student writing for The O’Colly. He interned at the Stillwater News Press and covered high school football for the Tulsa World. Ben has won some storytelling awards but doesn’t remember them nearly as well as the people who have been impacted by his stories. You can reach him at [email protected] and continue the dialogue @Ben Hutchens_ on social media.
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