Sneak Peek:<BR> Bedlam is spelled F-U-N

Bedlam is here quicker than usual, but not quick enough for Miles and his Cowboys. Can OSU make it a three-peat? Will the winner of the game stay afloat in the Big 12 and national championship races? With all the variables, one thing is for certain: Bedlam week never lacks in entertainment value. Another quick peek into the latest issue of the O-State Sports Report!

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Bedlam is spelled F-U-N
by John Helsley

There's no turkey on the table, yet it is time for Bedlam. Which means it's also time to hear how Oklahoma is "really, really" taking the Cowboys serious this time.

C'mon, enough already.

They may not be quite ready to publicly admit the matchup is a rivalry, but didn't the Sooners show their true hand by shifting the game away from Thanksgiving weekend and a guaranteed big payday, for what, a contingent extra week of preparation for the Big 12 title game?

The game is big. Massive. Why else would fans of both squads engage in Bedlam volleyball over the talk radio airwaves and along the bars in the middle of summer? Anybody who suggests otherwise need check in at the local clinic for a urinalysis.

Still, we heard the Sooners say how they were caught napping in 2001.

We heard, after a week of talk contrary, that they still weren't fully focused a year ago. Maybe Sooner minds drifted when the score reached 35-6.

All that talk, disrespectful to the Cowboys.

The truth is, OSU coaches and players were quite confident two years ago, despite their own 3-7 record and OU's lofty status as the nation's No. 4-ranked team.

They hinted all that week that there were weaknesses to exploit, most found along the Sooner offensive line. Then they went out and proved it, sacking Nate Hybl seven times and stuffing the OU ground game, leaving the Sooners with zero yards rushing.

The Cowboys introduced a star to the nation that day, with Rashaun Woods pulling a pass from the night air and putting OSU on track for greater things.

Woods, of course, reintroduced himself to the Sooners last fall, but only in passing, in too big a hurry to reach the end zone.

The Cowboys called their success that day, too, this time recognizing holes in the Sooner secondary.
"We talked prior to the game," Cowboy coach Les Miles said afterward, "that when we get ahead, we're going to continue to push.

"We're not going to sit on the score. We understand how dangerous OU is and that we would have to continue to score."

Not if the Cowboys got ahead, when they got ahead.

And they did. From the outset.

OSU romped to touchdowns on four of its first five possessions, finally totaling 506 yards – an OSU record in Bedlam battles.

"I knew that we could do that with our game plan," said Josh Fields, who threw for a career-high 357 yards and four touchdowns. "Once it started happening our confidence built up.

"We thought we could score on every possession. We had a lot of fun out there."

Said Miles: "The way we had been performing the back half of the season, there was a good chance it would happen just like that. And it did.

"In the same vein, it could have been a nip-and-tucker all the way. It could have been a come-from-behinder. But that was a very distinct possibility, that we'd come out and play well on defense, we'd score fast and often on offense."

Eventually, the Pokes even pulled off, leaving a few prime plays unused in the game plan.
Perhaps those will come in handy this time.

Oh, the Sooners will be a double-digit favorite. Again.

They're a talented and dominant team. Again.

And they've got plenty to play for. Again.

So do the Cowboys.

Know this, the Pokes will be OU's toughest matchup, for many reasons.

OSU's offensive balance is key. The Sooners feast on teams that are one-dimensional, which explains their easy handling of Texas and Texas Tech. Tech doesn't even pretend to run and the Longhorns, for whatever reason, just don't do it well.

The Cowboys make you account for Woods, which opens lanes in the running game for their talented backs. And if you don't account for Woods ... that doesn't seem likely after last year.

Playing in Norman won't be easy. Because of the past two outcomes, this Bedlam crowd may be the most rabid ever assembled at Owen Field. Still, the Cowboys should be able to draw on the success of their last visit.

Most critical for the Cowboys is their mindset. They've relished their Bedlam victories and now feel like they belong in such big games. They don't believe this is a game to fear. They think it's "fun." That shifts the pressure to the Sooners, a role they're not familiar with.

So they best take OSU serious. Really, really serious.

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