With the annual Bedlam showdown approaching, Oklahoma State students are getting ready for what they are hoping will be a blow to the Oklahoma Sooners' national championship hopes.
Whether they are born and bred in the state of Oklahoma, from across the border in Texas, or on a visit from London, OSU fans start planning for the match up against in-state rival Oklahoma even before the official beginning of football season.
After OSU beat the Sooners 16-13 last season, fans have been licking their chops for a chance to revel in another win.
"I have been waiting for a rematch since November of last year," said Melissa Daniels, education sophomore. "We might have beat them last year in dramatic fashion, but I don't think we have their respect yet.
"I think one more (win) will do the trick."
Joey Cantrell, landscape contracting junior, didn't come right out and say he was a Cowboy fan, but said just enough for anyone to realize where his loyalty lies.
"We're anti-OU fans if that helps," he said.
Cantrell's friend, Elissa Moore, a psychology junior, said she has first-hand knowledge of Sooner football, and those experiences are what have driven her to the orange side of the road.
"I am from Texas, but I went to high school in Norman for three years, and my experience there makes me hate Norman and OU," Moore said.
Going to the games with her family was something Moore will always remember, because at the time — the pre-Bob Stoops era — the bleachers at Owen Field were pretty empty.
"There were no fans at all in the stands and the people were so rude," Moore said. "It was such an empty place and now everyone is like ‘OU, OU,'. Seems like when they got good, people started coming from everywhere saying they were fans. I lived there, so I should know."
Other OSU students agree with Moore, and Trey Bolden, mechanical engineering junior, was passionate about his feelings on the subject of Sooner Magic. Bolden said Cowboy fans seem more oriented toward the team and university than their neighbors to the south.
"Even an outsider who has no knowledge of the OU-OSU rivalry should have disrespect for the way their fans conduct themselves," Bolden said. "When they lose no one cares about the team, and then when the coaches and team work off their asses to turn the OU program around, people start jumping the bandwagon acting like they were there supporting all along. If I were Bobby Stoops, I would be offended.
"If I am Bob, I worked to get this train moving, and I would be upset that people act like they are "Sooner fans for life" — sticking the program out —when everyone knows it isn't true.
"That's shady — if you are a fan for life, then you show up when (former OU coach) John Blake sucks AND when Bob Stoops is winning championships."
Cantrell said the loyalty across the board is one of the reasons he enjoys being a Cowboy fan.
"OSU fans are more true," Cantrell said. "They follow OSU in all sports — not just when they are awesome or whatever, but they stick by their school and are loyal to the place they grew up loving.
"If someone is an OSU fan, they are a die-hard. They show up in the bad times and the good."
As far as the game itself goes, some OSU students are able to keep their dislike for the Sooners under wraps, and keep perspective on their game predictions.
Oklahoma is still the No. 3 team in the nation, and beating a team of that caliber is never an easy task.
"It's the rivalry, it always gets stepped up a notch big time," said Trisha Vanderwiele, pharmacy sophomore, "We've had a good season, and I think that especially since it is a home game for us we will give another good fight."
The Cowboys have prevailed over the Sooners four out of the last seven years, including a tough 12-7 loss to OU during its 2000 championship run.
"That says it is a legitimate rivalry," Vanderwiele said. "Everyone is always saying how much more wonderful OU is than us, but it is a rivalry and you never know what will happen."
Vanderwiele said she isn't happy about the way OU tries to overlook OSU as a rival team.
"Yeah, they always say, Texas is it for them, like we aren't up to those standards or something," Vanderwiele said. "But if we win Saturday, that will make it five out of eight (wins).
"You would think they'd get the hint."
Edward Stringer, American studies and business administration sophomore hailing from London, England, is in Oklahoma for a semester of studies, but said he is not out of the loop when it comes to the football rivalry in Oklahoma.
"I know all about it, it sounds like a huge affair," Stringer said.
Stringer, who is part of the "paddle people" — a group of students that drum up spirit with orange paddles against a retaining wall at Lewis Field — said he was informed about the rivalry soon after his arrival in the States.
"Ever since the first week I have been here its been lambasted upon me," Stringer said. "Everyone just said, ‘OU — make sure you hate them'. I have been on the campus of OU and just learned to not like the university pretty much.
"I am a born OU-hater now — imported right from England."
Stringer said he has gained perspective on the American game of football during his stay in Stillwater.
"Just the whole idea of university life, in the fact that certain things, like a simple football game, brings so many people together," Stringer said. "I really enjoy the togetherness of this University. You dont get that very much over in England. It is very special to witness."
Some students aren't as warm-hearted as Stringer, and Corey Johnston, business junior, said he has nothing but hatred flowing through his viens for the Sooner Nation.
"OU used to be a four-letter word," he said. "Thing is, as the word is passed down from Sooner to Sooner, it became two letters.
"Go figure — I don't know that I expect much else from fans that ride the bandwagon to McDonald's to get their OU championship bobble-heads.
"I say bring it on — let's make it five out of eight."