When it comes to the Bedlam football rivalry ending, coach Mike Gundy adamant that ‘Oklahoma State has no part in this’
Athletic directors for both schools told the Action Network on Monday that the series officially would be ending when Oklahoma departs for the SEC.
“We don’t have any openings to play them,” Oklahoma State athletic director Chad Weiberg said. “We’re full. Unless there are significant undertakings to make the game happen, it can’t happen.”
Weiberg’s counterpart at Oklahoma, Joe Castiglione, said that the Cowboys had opted not to continue with the series.
“Oklahoma State has shown no interest to schedule any future games in football, so we’re moving on,” he said.
On Tuesday, Gundy told reporters at Cowboys practice that while he likes Castiglione, “We’ve got to quit beating around the bush and call it the way it is.”
“Bedlam is history, we all know that. We’ve known that,” Gundy said, “because OU chose to follow Texas and the money to the SEC. It’s OK. So now, we’re having what I think are childish discussions, in my opinion, over something that’s done. And I would like to make this the last statement that I have because I have no hard feelings.
“But what’s going on now is almost a situation with a husband and a wife, or a girlfriend and a boyfriend when you know you’re dead wrong and you try to turn the table and make them think they’re wrong, when Oklahoma State has no part in this.”
Later Tuesday, Castiglione told ESPN that Oklahoma has slightly more nonconference scheduling flexibility than Oklahoma State, but he hasn’t given up entirely on a future Bedlam series.
“I think it will come back at some point in the 2030s,” he said.
Castiglione added that the Sooners are talking to Oklahoma State officials about competing in other sports they have in common, but “football is a little different” because they schedule further in advance and there are fewer nonconference opportunities and dates to work with than there are in other sports.
“It makes total sense for us to keep the competition between the two schools going,” he said.
Weiberg told ESPN later Tuesday that the Cowboys’ schedule is almost full through 2038 with Power 5 nonconference opponents, including Arkansas, Oregon, Alabama, Nebraska and Colorado. Weiberg said those games were scheduled before Oklahoma announced its intent to eventually join the SEC.
“They made the decision they made for reasons that make sense to them, and I get that, but those decisions have consequences and this could be one of them,” Weiberg said.
The Big 12 plays nine Power 5 opponents as part of its conference schedule, so there is a hesitancy to schedule two more Power 5 nonconference opponents. Weiberg said the reason athletic directors have to schedule so far in advance is because it provides more options, but that doesn’t mean Bedlam can’t return at some point. He said the decisions are based on logistics — not emotions.
“Once we start getting out towards the ends of our current deals, then can conversations be had about that resuming? That’s kind of what you see,” he said. “It’s not unusual for these rivalries to pause when teams switch conferences. Texas and Texas A&M have been paused. Oklahoma and Nebraska played for the first time in close to a decade. This is a normal byproduct of conference realignment.”
Gundy said the Cowboys were not involved in what he called the months of “multibillion-dollar conversations” between Oklahoma and the SEC, and therefore had no choice on the issue.
“So, everybody needs to get over it and move on and quit trying to turn the tables,” he said. “It’s somewhat comical that they still want to bring us into this equation. Let’s not turn the tables. Let’s just say, ‘Hey, look, we chose to follow Texas and take the money and we’re going to the SEC.’ It’s all good. Let’s quit talking about it. Let’s talk about football.”
Gundy has been outspoken on the end of the rivalry, which was first played in 1904 with 116 meetings since then. In July, at Big 12 media days, he said the series was winding down.
“The future of Bedlam is a year or two left,” he said in July. “I mean, that’s the future that’s based on somebody else’s decision.”
Gundy predicted that most conferences would move to nine conference games, which would make it even harder for nonconference games to be scheduled, particularly when the Cowboys’ schedule was already booked through 2032 or 2033.
“You’re talking about contract buyouts, and you’re talking about convincing head coaches to play another game, which would be like playing another conference game,” Gundy said in July. “There’s a lot going on. I think most fans would love to do it. I just don’t think it’s feasible to happen, in my opinion.”
Gundy also said at that time that if he were new Big 12 commissioner Brett Yormark, he wouldn’t allow Texas and Oklahoma in league business meetings.
“I say that jokingly,” Gundy said. “But I mean, if you’re strategically in a business meeting, if it’s two cellphone companies, I don’t want somebody from their company in my company.”
ESPN senior writer Heather Dinich contributed to this report.