Bedlam Series Between Oklahoma, Oklahoma State To End When Sooners Join SEC
Getty Images. Pictured: Oklahoma State quarterback Spencer Sanders (left) and Oklahoma wide receiver Marvin Mims (right).
Conference realignment has claimed yet another victim. This time, it’s the annual Bedlam Series between Oklahoma and Oklahoma State. Both of the schools' athletic directors told Action Network the series will end once Oklahoma leaves the Big 12 for the SEC in 2025.
The Bedlam Series began in 1904 — three years before Oklahoma became a state. The schools have met 116 times and have played annually for the past 112 years, making Bedlam the nation’s second-longest current uninterrupted college football rivalry.
However, that's coming to an end.
“It (playing Oklahoma) presents logistical issues under our current (scheduling) structure,” Oklahoma State AD Chad Weiberg said. “We don’t have any openings to play them. We’re full. Unless there are significant undertakings to make the game happen, it can’t happen.”
Added Oklahoma AD Joe Castiglione: “Oklahoma State has shown no interest to schedule any future games in football, so we’re moving on (with filling OU’s future nonconference openings).”
Castiglione also admitted the Sooners have limited availability for OSU on their future nonconference schedules.
The biggest reason is both schools have similar scheduling philosophies. OSU is expected to continue with a nine-game Big 12 schedule, and the expectation is the SEC will have a nine-game conference schedule when OU and Texas join the league in 2025.
That leaves only three nonconference openings per season. OU and OSU each schedule a Power Five nonconference opponent and fill their final two spots with either two Group of Five opponents or a Group of Five and an FCS opponent.
Both ADs said their schools’ nonconference Power Five openings are nearly completed for the next 15 years.
Oklahoma has scheduled a home-and-home series with Michigan (2025-26), Nebraska (2029-30) and Clemson (2035-36). The Sooners also added SMU (2023, 2027) to replace the recently canceled future series with Georgia and Tennessee since those were scheduled to be played when they will be in the SEC.
Oklahoma State has scheduled home-and-home series with Arizona State (2022-23), Arkansas (2024, 2027, 2032-33), Oregon (2025-26), Alabama (2028-29), Nebraska (2034-35) and Colorado (2036-37).
Castiglione said at some point the Sooners and Cowboys may play “down the road,” but he isn’t optimistic about the near future once OU leaves for the SEC in 2025. Castiglione said if the football series ever returns, the game likely would be played in September instead of its traditional spot at the end of the regular season.
“It’s very difficult to predict the future of college athletics right now,” Weiberg said. “Would we have interest? Yes, when the logistics work out, but that appears to be well into the future.
“It is disappointing (the series is ending). This is a part of the history of this state, is Bedlam. To think about that coming to an end or some lengthy pause, up until a year ago was almost unfathomable.”
With the Bedlam Series ending, it becomes the latest longtime rivalry impacted by conference realignment. Other impacted games include Oklahoma-Nebraska, Texas-Texas A&M, Missouri-Kansas, Pitt-West Virginia, Nebraska-Missouri, Arkansas-Texas and Nebraska-Kansas.
Castiglione said he has had productive conversations with Weiberg, and both ADs are confident the schools will continue playing the Bedlam Series in all other sports except football.
But it’s the end of the Bedlam on the gridiron that will have the greatest impact on both schools.
“(Bedlam ending) is one of the consequences of OU’s decision (to join the SEC),” Weiberg said. “It’s disappointing for the people of the state of Oklahoma.”