By now, we all know. We’ve been inundated for the past 27 months about the future of the Bedlam football series. As Mike Gundy said on Monday, the regular season version of Bedlam is dead, likely for most of our lifetimes. When the schedule-makers gave us this year’s slate, this was the game that everyone circled, and it is a week that has already brought out many memories of great moments in Bedlam past.
I could rank those best moments or the best games in Bedlam history, but that’s not really my speed. Let’s instead look at this series, which has been historically lopsided and let’s talk about the Bedlam games that no one remembers.
The worst games in the history of Bedlam.
10. September 26, 1942 — Oklahoma 0, Oklahoma A&M 0: All in all, Oklahoma had 16 possessions. They ended in 13 punts, two fumbles and one interception. Oklahoma A&M had 15 possessions. The Aggies had seven punts, four interceptions, two turnovers on down, one fumble and one drive end at halftime. Oklahoma only got in the red zone one time, fumbling at the A&M 18. The closest the Aggies came to scoring was when they were stopped on downs at the one foot line in the second quarter. Let’s just say that this goal-line stand was just as forgettable as the one against Texas this year was memorable. The only fun part of the game was that Oklahoma had a quarterback named Huel Hamm and an end named Walter Lamb. If it had been better, Hamm to Lamb would’ve been a catchy combination.
9. November 29, 1980 — Oklahoma 63, Oklahoma State 14: J.C. Watts ran for four touchdowns and the Sooners jumped out to a 28-0 lead on the Cowboys. It was a dismal end to a 3-7-1 season for the Cowboys, who had finished 7-4 the year before under first-year coach Jimmy Johnson. Even when OSU scored to make it 42-14 on a touchdown pass from Jim Traber (yes, that one) to Mel Campbell, little used running back Jerome Ledbetter returned a kickoff for a touchdown and ran for two more scores. Ledbetter had 13 carries that season. Two of them were touchdowns against the Cowboys.
8. December 1, 1956 — Oklahoma 53, Oklahoma A&M 0: This game marked the 50th all-time meeting between the in-state rivals in football. Oklahoma had beaten the Aggies by the exact same score the year previous in Norman, and the Sooners came to Stillwater and easily became the first college team to win 40 games in a row on a streak that would eventually grow to 47. It was the final game ever for Sooners back Tommy McDonald and center Jerry Tubbs, and marked the end of the most dominant part of the famous streak for Oklahoma. While the Aggies weren’t the only team Oklahoma dominated in that stretch, it’s still not a good way to go out on Senior Day, or as they called it back then, Mom and Dad’s Day.
7. November 9, 1907 — Oklahoma 67, Oklahoma A&M 0: It was a game that was played just seven days before Oklahoma officially became the 46th state and featured a pair of brothers and former teammates duking it out. The transfer portal was alive and well in the early 20th century as Roy and Ralph Campbell from Wellston transferred to the Bedlam rivals from Central College (UCO). Roy was the starting center for A&M and Ralph started at center for OU, but the game was a laugher. Oklahoma A&M finished the season 1-5-2 that year and were outscored 108-22 on the season, including the second worst loss in Bedlam history.
Oklahoma State’s Justin Blackmon (81) celebrates with the crowd after beating OU, 44-10, at Boone Pickens Stadium in Stillwater on Dec. 3, 2011. (Bryan Terry/The Oklahoman/USA TODAY Network)
6. December 3, 2011 — Oklahoma State 44, Oklahoma 10: Sure, the Sooners have won games by more in the series than this 34-point win by the Pokes that didn’t make this list, but the 2011 Bedlam game was the most lopsided win for the Cowboys in modern history and one of the few times where Oklahoma State was far and away the better team on the field. The Sooners came in injured, missing leading rusher Dom Whaley and leading receiver Ryan Broyles, and four Landry Jones turnovers (two interceptions, two fumbles) didn’t help the cause. Oklahoma State bullied the Sooners, en route to their first outright conference title in 63 years. The crazy part about the win, it was the only time all season that OSU didn’t get a TD pass from Brandon Weeden and ended a 10-game streak for Justin Blackmon of catching at least one TD pass. The Cowboys instead dominated in the run game, as Joe Randle had 151 yards and two touchdowns and Jeremy Smith had 119 yards and two touchdowns of his own.
5. November 28, 1970 — Oklahoma 66, Oklahoma State 6: The Sooners finished just 18 yards shy of their single-game rushing record at the time, racking up 519 yards on the ground against Oklahoma State, with 388 of them coming in the first half. Oklahoma had come out of the gates at 3-3, but the big win in Bedlam capped a stretch where Oklahoma won four of five, with its lone loss at No. 3 Nebraska by a touchdown. Though the Sooners went on to tie Alabama in the Bluebonnet Bowl, they used that momentum to carry them to a 9-0 start in 1971 before the Game of the Century against Nebraska in Norman.
4. November 18, 1978 — Oklahoma 62, Oklahoma State 7: Oklahoma was just merciless in Norman against their in-state rivals after falling in Lincoln to Nebraska the previous week. After an opening touchdown drive by Oklahoma that was capped by a 1-yard run by Billy Sims, Oklahoma State answered with a touchdown drive, culminating with a 1-yard run by Worley Taylor. The Cowboys had played No. 4 Nebraska close just three weeks earlier. Maybe they could keep with the Sooners? That’s when Oklahoma turned on the gas, scoring 55 straight points while rushing for 629 yards, averaging 7.6 yards per carry and setting a school record for first downs with 36. The real shock came after the game though, when Sooner coach Barry Switzer announced to his team and the gathered press that OU was going to the Orange Bowl to play Nebraska with a chance to avenge the loss they had just suffered one week prior. Oklahoma did avenge that loss, beating the Huskers 31-24 on New Year’s Day.
3. November 24, 1945 — Oklahoma A&M 47, Oklahoma 0: The game saw Oklahoma A&M riding a 17-game win streak against collegiate competition and Oklahoma limping in at 5-4, having lost two of their previous three games under Dewey “Snorter” Luster, who had already announced his resignation at the end of the season. A lateral from Jim Reynolds to All-American Bob Fenimore on the opening kickoff set the Aggies up at the OU 24. Jim Reynolds took the first snap 24 yards to paydirt and the route was on. Fenimore, or The Blonde Bomber as he was known, threw for two touchdowns and ran for another. Very rarely in Bedlam does Oklahoma State (A&M) empty the bench against Oklahoma, especially in Norman, but that was the case in 1945.
2. November 30, 1946 — Oklahoma 73, Oklahoma A&M 12: Just a year after losing 47-0 to the Aggies, Oklahoma went to Stillwater and avenged the loss to an Oklahoma A&M team that was struggling to cope with the loss of Bob Fenimore to injury. The 108-point turnaround from 1945 to 1946 is something we never came close to seeing again in Bedlam. Six different players accounted for Oklahoma’s 10 touchdowns. The Sooners led 59-0 at the end of the third and Oklahoma A&M could only muster a few consolation touchdowns in the fourth quarter
1. November 5, 1904 — Oklahoma 75, Oklahoma A&M 0: It was the first ever meeting between the schools and it took place at Island Park in Guthrie, which was then the territorial capital. It was a matchup of Rough Riders (OU) and Tigers (A&M), and it was a cold and windy day. Oklahoma A&M did not have an official head coach, and had not scored a point in their first three games of the season. Oklahoma was 2-1-1, and like this season, the only blemish was a loss to Kansas. Three of the best A&M players were injured, and the game got ugly quickly.
Famously, this first Bedlam gave us one of the most bizarre plays in college football history. Oklahoma A&M fullback B.O. Callahan, from Henessey, dropped back to punt, but couldn’t drop back very far because he was backed up to a cigar advertisement sign. Out of bounds was much more of a suggestion than a rule in those days. Since Callahan couldn’t drop back more than a few yards, he had to kick the ball high to get it over his linemen and the oncoming rushers. That’s when the November wind sent the ball backwards over his head and into Cottonwood Creek.
By rule in 1904, if Oklahoma recovered the ball (even though it was in a creek), it would score a touchdown. If Oklahoma A&M recovered it, it would get possession back and it would be a touchback. So players from both teams went into the creek and Ed Cook got there first, swam the ball back to shore, and Oklahoma scored one of their many touchdowns.
Not only was it a terrible game, but players from both teams had to play the rest of the games in soaking wet uniforms on a cold November day. Every single Sooner scored a touchdown, including center Roy Waggoner, who snapped the ball to the quarterback, then ran backwards and took a lateral and ran for a touchdown. Imagine Creed Humphrey snapping the ball to Kyler Murray and then running behind him, taking a pitch, and speeding around the defense for a touchdown.
That game gave us a cool story, but it was by far the least competitive game in Bedlam history. I’m assuming we don’t see a 76-point win for either team this weekend, and as Bedlam screeches to a halt on Saturday night, 119 years later, the game at Cottonwood Creek will remain the most lopsided Bedlam game ever.