Just because regular-season Bedlam football has ended doesn’t mean the Sooners and Cowboys couldn’t play in the postseason.
(A version of this story first appeared in Jenni Carlson’s newsletter. Subscribe here)
SAN ANTONIO — Somewhere between 2 and 3 a.m. Friday, all the balloons from the Alamo Bowl celebration had finally been popped.
Turns out, bowls have people who have to go out and pick up the confetti and pop the balloons after the postgame trophy presentation. As we worked in the Alamodome press box after OU’s 38-24 loss to Arizona, I literally watched a gal walk around popping the balloons. She had something on her hands that popped them instantly, though I’m not sure what it was. The Alamodome pressbox is exquisitely close to the field — it’s between the lower and upper decks, so the view is great — but I still wasn’t close enough to see how she was doing it.
But as I watched the balloons being popped and the confetti being gathered in the early hours of Friday morning, I realized it signaled the end of bowl season in our neck of the woods.
OSU beat Texas A&M to win the Texas Bowl on Wednesday night in Houston.
OU lost to Arizona on Thursday night in San Antonio.
And like that, the 2023 season had come to a close for the Sooners and Cowboys.
But it wasn’t long before I started thinking about what the end of the 2024 season might look like for our teams. Next year, after all, is going to be a season of change both nationally and locally as the College Football Playoff expands, OU moves to the SEC, and OSU and the Big 12 welcome four new teams.
All those moves, of course, have brought an end to regular-season Bedlam games. There are no more on the football schedules of the foreseeable future.
But here’s some interesting news: there are a couple of options moving forward where the Sooners and Cowboys meet in the postseason.
Playing each other in the playoff is the top-line option. Even with the expanded 12-team format, it won’t be easy for both teams to get there. OU faces a schedule in the SEC that is unlike anything a Sooner team has ever faced before while OSU is in a league that has been as unpredictable as any in college football and is bound to become even more so with the addition of Arizona, Arizona State, Colorado and Utah.
But a playoff Bedlam isn’t impossible.
Neither is a Bedlam bowl.
Right now, there are two bowls contractually tied to both the SEC and the Big 12, the Texas and Liberty bowls. Do you think the fine folks in Houston or Memphis would be a little fired up to get the Sooners and Cowboys together?
And there’s a good chance that there’ll be more bowls pitting SEC and Big 12 teams once the Pac-12’s tie-ins are sorted out. The Alamo Bowl (Big 12 vs. Pac-12) may well strike a deal with the SEC since the league is adding two teams with strong ties to the Lone Star State. The Las Vegas Bowl is another candidate. Right now, it tips the SEC vs. the Pac-12, but with the Big 12 adding four teams west of the Rocky Mountains, adding a Mountain Time Zone bowl is likely attractive to the conference.
A postseason Bedlam might not be likely next year, but it certainly isn’t out of the realm of possibility.