Dave Sittler: Upsets shatter Bedlam dream scenario
BY DAVE SITTLER World Sports Writer
Sunday, November 20, 2011
11/20/11 at 8:53 AM
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Original Print Headline: Upsets shatter dream scenario for Bedlam
WACO, Texas - Are you kidding me? Baylor and Iowa State are going to go down in history as the culprits who teamed up to screw up the Bedlam game for the ages?
Nope. There is no kidding about it:
Baylor 45, Oklahoma 38.
Iowa State 37, Oklahoma State 31.
For the second straight night, fans stormed the field after their team had upset one of the Bedlam Brothers. That Friday night scene at Jack Trice Stadium in Ames, Iowa, was duplicated Saturday night at Floyd Casey Stadium.
So the third weekend of November 2011 will instead be remembered for the ages as when Bedlam went bust, thanks to two of the Big 12's perennial losers.
As a result, the Dec. 3 Bedlam game that was supposed to have a berth in the BCS national championship game on the line might now be little more than the championship game for the state of Oklahoma.
Oh, the BCS hopes of OSU (10-1, 7-1 Big 12) barely remain on life support. But that's more than can be said for OU (8-2, 5-2).
Thanks to a defensive secondary that simply couldn't stop the brilliant play of Baylor quarterback Robert Griffin III, the Sooners' hopes to win the school's eighth national championship are now officially dead.
Last summer, OU coach Bob Stoops said it was "about time" the Sooners won another national title. But a home loss to a bad Texas Tech (5-6, 2-6) team, coupled with the Sooners' first-ever loss to Baylor, means that OU has already run out of title time with two games left.
True, Baylor and Iowa State aren't the league's bottom feeders like seasons past. But when OSU is No. 2 and OU No. 5 in the BCS standings, the Bedlam Boys are supposed to be able to handle two teams that were a combined 13-8 before they shocked the Sooners and Cowboys.
Granted, OU and OSU also were fighting a lot of adversity because of injuries and off-the-field issues. But that shouldn't have caused this 24-hour Bedlam disaster.
OU was trying to overcome losing its leading rusher and receiver during the past two games. But BCS contenders are separated from pretenders by their ability to overcome adversity.
There also was the fact that Baylor was 5-0 at home this season. But the Bears entered Saturday night's game with a 0-20 record in the OU series.
OU's first-ever loss to the Bears (7-3, 4-3 Big 12) turned out to be costly in so many ways. The Sooners may have lost their third standout player for the season when defensive end Ronnell Lewis suffered a knee injury in the second quarter.
The Sooners already were playing without All-American receiver Ryan Broyles (knee) and starting tailback Dominique Whaley (ankle).
But injuries weren't the reason for this bitter defeat. The cause was showcased at halftime when Stoops got into a heated discussion with secondary coach Willie Martinez as the two coaches headed to the Sooners' locker room.
Martinez's players had one bust after another during the first half. And whatever adjustments Stoops and Martinez attempted to make at halftime obviously didn't work.
Griffin, the gifted, versatile Bears quarterback who goes by "R.G.III," may have put himself squarely back in the Heisman Trophy race as he repeatedly shredded OU's pass coverage.
The final dagger by Griffin was a 34-yard touchdown pass with eight seconds left in the wild contest. It was his fourth TD pass of the game, and blunted a gutsy comeback by OU's offense.
Stoops, Martinez and defensive coordinator Brent Venables had no answers for Griffin, who threw for 479 yards and rushed for 72 more.
This outcome wasn't a total surprise. After all, OU entered the contest ranked No. 72 nationally in pass defense. And while the defensive front played relentlessly the entire game, it couldn't contain a scrambling Griffin from repeatedly finding receivers who were wide open because of breakdowns in the secondary.
With a home finale this Saturday against Iowa State before the Bedlam contest at Boone Pickens Stadium, the only thing left for the Sooners is to play the unfamiliar spoiler role with the Cowboys.
An OU win would end OSU's slim BCS title-game hopes. It also could produce a tie for the Big 12 title between the Sooners and Cowboys.
But it wasn't a conference championship that was supposed to go to the winner of the Bedlam game for the ages.
OU's Travis Lewis tries to chase down Baylor's QB Robert Griffin lll in Waco, TX. STEPHEN PINGRY / Tulsa World