Enemy Intro: The Cowboys’ Final Stage Includes Bedlam in Norman
The final leg of Oklahoma State’s 2022 roster features the biggest game of the year. Whether or not a November Bedlam will have implications for the Big 12 title will have been decided in October, but a trip to Norman is always a high-stakes affair. Let’s take a look at the last three games on the Cowboys schedule.
Be sure to check out the previous chapters of our overview: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3.
Week 10: Iowa State | November 12 | Stillwater, Okla.
Series history: 33-20-3
Mike Gundy is 10-4 against the Cyclones during his tenure, including a six-game winning streak, but things have been more even lately. The two teams have split the last four meetings, with the home team winning each of the last two. The Cowboys’ somewhat controversial loss at Ames was their only flaw last season aside from that heartbreaker at Arlington.
UIS in 2021: The Cyclones were in the hunt for the Big 12, at 3-1, after their victory over the Cowboys. But then they stumbled on the stretch, finishing 2-4, including nasty losses to West Virginia and Texas Tech and a Cheez-It Bowl loss to Clemson. Iowa State also lost former All-Big 12 and All-Cyclone all-arounder Brock Purdy, who will try to play on Sunday. Leaving even a bigger hole is the two-time All-American Breece Hall.
UIS in 2022: The good news for those in Ames is that Iowa State has once again fended off the poachers and survived the coaching season without losing the services of famed head coach Matt Campbell. But he plans to rebuild in 2022.
Reflection on the UIS: A lukewarm take: Keeping Campbell is better for the ISU and Big 12, but has he topped nine wins? In three years with Purdy and Hall, he won only one Fiesta Bowl.
Week 11: Oklahoma | November 19 | Norman, Okla.
Series history: 19-90-7
Why talk about ancient history? The Cowboys own the bragging rights this year after bottling Caleb Williams in the fourth quarter at Stillwater and sending him and Lincoln Riley to the Pac-12. The day after Bedlam, Riley was named the new head coach of USC and Williams and several OU commitments soon followed.
OR in 2021: The Sooners finished 11-2 with a win at the Alamo Bowl, but that wasn’t the season their fans signed up for. Losses to Baylor and Oklahoma State left OU out of the conference championship game for the first time since being reinstated in 2017 and, essentially, without its cherished head coach.
405’s radio waves were filled with souls who knew Lincoln was soft all along, providing good riddance to those players and rookies. We’ll see how they feel this fall.
OR in 2022: It’s on and up with the start of the Brent Venables era. The Sooners had a bargain with UCF transfer quarterback Dillon Gabriel, but there are still talent holes to be filled all over the roster. OU said goodbye to first rusher Kennedy Brooks and three of its top four receivers this offseason. The Sooners also lost a handful of defensive leaders like Isaiah Thomas, Perrion Winfrey and Nik Bonitto. At Clemson, Coach V has proven his acumen to field high-flying defensive fronts. We’ll see how quickly it can replenish OUs.
Reflection on OR: The Sooners are due for a step back, but don’t write them off just yet. It will be interesting to see how long it takes to bounce back from the reset with their numbered Big 12 days.
Week 12: West Virginia | November 26 | Stillwater, Okla.
Series history: 9-4
The Cowboys have won seven straight against the Mountaineers. It’s their longest active winning streak against a conference counterpart other than Kansas.
WVU in 2021: The Mountaineers ended a 6-7 season with a loss to Minnesota in the Guaranteed Rate Bowl. I’ll take bowls I didn’t know existed for $500, Alex. It was a step back in Neal Brown’s third year at the helm, following a shortened 6-4 COVID season in 2020 that netted the program its first bowl victory in five years.
WVU in 2022: Brown hired former USC offensive coordinator Graham Harrell to revamp a West Virginia offense that scored more than Kansas last season and ranked in the league’s bottom three every year of his mandate. But Mountaineers QB Jarret Doege traded this offseason and first rusher Leddie Brown left to play on Sunday, leaving WVU with big question marks in the backfield.
Thoughts on WVU: The ‘Neers are still a step away from competing in the Big 12, but Brown could feel some heat if they can’t show real progress in the fourth year.