The Bedlam Series is the name given to the Oklahoma–Oklahoma State rivalry. It refers to the athletics rivalry between Oklahoma State University Cowboys and Cowgirls and the University of Oklahoma Sooners of the Big 12 Conference. Both schools were also members of the Big 8 Conference before the formation of the Big 12 Conference in 1996, and both were divisional rivals in the Big 12 South Division prior to 2011.
The Bedlam Series is, like most other intrastate rivalries, a rivalry that goes beyond one or two sports. Both schools also have rivalries with other schools, though most of those rivalries are limited to one or two sports at the most. The rivalry is all the more intense since their games often decide the conference championship.
While the football and basketball games stand today as the marquee events in the Bedlam Series, the term "Bedlam" actually began with the rivalry between the schools' prestigious wrestling programs, more particularly the raucous crowds that attended the matches held at Oklahoma State's Gallagher-Iba Arena.
The first Bedlam football game was held at Island Park, now known as Mineral Wells Park, in Guthrie, Oklahoma. It was a cold, and very windy day with the temperatures well below the freezing mark. At one moment in the game when the Oklahoma A&M Aggies were punting, the wind carried the ball backwards behind the kicker. If the Oklahoma A&M squad recovered the ball it would be a touchback and if the University of Oklahoma squad recovered it, it would be a touchdown. The ball rolled down a hill into the half-frozen creek. Since a touchdown was at stake, members of both teams dove into the icy waters to recover the ball. A member of the OU team came out with the ball and downed it for a touchdown. OU won the game, 75–0. Though this was not the source of the name "Bedlam", the scene was clearly an apt beginning for the Bedlam Series in football.
Author Steve Budin, whose father was a New York bookie, has recently publicized the claim that the 1954 Bedlam Game was fixed by mobsters in his book Bets, Drugs, and Rock & Roll (ISBN 1-60239-099-1). Allegedly, the mobsters threatened and paid off a cook to slip laxatives into a soup eaten by many OU Sooner starting players, causing them to fall violently ill in the days leading up to the game. OU was victorious in the end, but their 14–0 win did not cover the 20-point spread they had in their favor. However, many people involved in the 1954 contest do not recall any incident like the one purported by Budin to have occurred. Since it started in 1904, Bedlam is now the 4th-longest continuously-played rivalry in FBS (Division 1) college football. Because it is uninterrupted since 1910, it is also now the single longest uninterrupted rivalry, between two public universities, in the same state, that have a game named "University of _ vs. _ State University."
|Oklahoma victories||Oklahoma State victories||Tie games|
Oklahoma owns the all-time series record in men's basketball, 135–95. The Sooners swept the 2013–14, 2014–15 and 2015–16 regular season Bedlam series for the fourth and fifth time in the last 10 seasons. OSU's last series sweep came in 2017. OU is 17–6 in the last 23 Bedlam games and is now 25–18 vs. the Cowboys since the formation of the Big 12 (135–95 all-time).
Oklahoma State holds a lopsided advantage in the schools' wrestling rivalry, the original "Bedlam Series." The Cowboy wrestling program currently holds a 141–27–10 record against the Sooners, which is all the more remarkable considering that both schools have long been national powers in wrestling. Oklahoma has won seven team national championships in its history, while Oklahoma State's wrestling program has a record thirty-four team national titles.
- World, Tulsa. "The Bedlam Series". Tulsa World. Retrieved October 13, 2018.
- "Nobody really knows why OU-OSU is called 'Bedlam'". Retrieved October 13, 2018.
- "Postscript: The Historic Field House" (PDF). Sooner Magazine. Summer 2011. p. 32.
- "Facilities: Gallagher-Iba Arena (Oklahoma State Official Athletic Site)". Retrieved November 14, 2011.
- Long, Charles F. (September 1965). "With Optimism For the Morrow: A History of The University of Oklahoma". Sooner Magazine.
- Budin, Steve with Schaller, Bob (2007). Bets, Drugs, and Rock & Roll: The Rise and Fall of the World's First Offshore Sports Gambling Empire. Skyhorse Publishing. ISBN 1-60239-099-1.CS1 maint: Uses authors parameter (link)
- "Book claims '54 Bedlam Game was fixed by mob". ESPN. Archived from the original on October 18, 2007. Retrieved October 2, 2007.
- "Bedlam basketball debate | Berry Tramel's Blog". Blog.newsok.com. June 29, 2009. Archived from the original on July 3, 2009. Retrieved November 24, 2012.
- "History – Past Champions". NCAA. Archived from the original on November 17, 2006. Retrieved December 11, 2006.