Lincoln Riley didn’t want to be ‘that guy.’
Oklahoma’s first-year offensive coordinator didn’t want to downplay the importance of the Bedlam rivalry, which has included five Oklahoma victories in the last six games in Stillwater. Still, he said Monday that there are bigger things at play than just a rivalry game.
“I think that, in a way, overshadows the rivalry a little bit right now,” he said. “Not to discredit it. I don’t want to be the guy that’s new to it and says it’s not (important). Of course, it’s a great rivalry, a lot of history.
“But the importance of this game for us, what’s riding on it, is probably our focus.”
With a win, Oklahoma has a real chance to head to the College Football Playoff, just a few months from some predicting that the Sooners wouldn’t even win 10 games this ear.
Riley is new to the rivalry. None of his previous stops had a rivalry this heated – with maybe the exception of the Red River Showdown earlier this year, if that counts. Texas Tech didn’t have it. East Carolina didn’t have it. He’s been in rivalry games before, but nothing with a potential national championship in the balance.
Riley is taking an extra long look at Oklahoma State because of it and maybe a little bit also of what’s at stake.
“They build it all around the front,” Riley said of Oklahoma State’s defense. “. . . It’s hard to really get settled in on what they do. They do such a good job of mixing it up. At the same time, they don’t bust very much. It looks like they do a good job of doing all those things, but keeping it simple for the kids.”