Rivalry games hold a special meaning for college football players and fans to begin with. For the Oklahoma State Cowboys and Oklahoma Sooners set to wrap up the 2013 season in Bedlam this weekend, their rivalry game has even more meaning attached to it with the implications for the Big 12 title. For the Sooners, they are out of the running to secure the conference crown but they can play the role of spoiler for their rival OSU by keeping the Cowboys from become conference champions.
As it stands now, Oklahoma State sits at the top of the Big 12 standings thanks to wins over both the Baylor Bears and Texas Longhorns, giving the Cowboys the tie-breaker over both despite their identical conference records. If OSU wins on Saturday, they’ll clinch the Big 12 title and punch their ticket to the Fiesta Bowl with the conference’s automatic bid to the BCS. Oklahoma is playing for pride more than anything, and would love nothing more than to keep their in-state rival from a big-time bowl game.
To do it, however, Oklahoma will need to overcome an Cowboys’ offense that has found its footing in recent weeks. Clint Chelf has been as good as anyone in the Big 12 since reclaiming his starting job and the Oklahoma State offense has been rolling in the home stretch. The Sooners’ defense is confident since they were able to contain him somewhat last season in an Oklahoma win but know that slowing down Chelf is a huge key to keeping the Oklahoma State offense in check.
On the other side of the ball, Oklahoma is looking a bit more like the explosive Sooner offense that we all expected them to be this season. Trevor Knight is back under center and coming off his best performance of the season against the Kansas State Wildcats. With Knight clicking, the Sooners have the firepower to compete in a shootout with Oklahoma State and come away with a win.
Playing in Stillwater, however, presents its own set of challenges. The last time Bedlam was here in 2011, Oklahoma left with their tail between their legs after a humbling 44-10 beatdown. Can the Sooners put forth a better effort in 2013 and spoil the Cowboys’ Big 12 title chances in the process?