Sadly, I suspect Mike Gundy is correct about this.
Ahead of the 116th edition of Bedlam, Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy not only suggested that Saturday’s meeting between the seventh-ranked Cowboys and No. 10 Oklahoma could be the last in Stillwater for quite a while, but revealed pessimism about the rivalry continuing on at all after the Sooners leave for the SEC.
“I don’t think it’s a realistic thing that it’s going to happen based on the business side of Power 5 conference football, the Big 12 or the SEC,” Gundy said Monday. “That’s just my opinion on it. I could be wrong. I’m not getting that from anybody.”
Gundy cited finances, the future of a 12-team Big 12 and nonconference schedules planned years in advance among the reasons he doubts the football rivalry that dates back to 1904 will go on with OU no longer in-conference.
“I don’t think it will (continue),” Gundy said.
It’s another decision in a long line of decisions made by the people running the sport to reject the regional passions that have driven college football’s popularity in favor of a more national focus manufactured by conference realignment and postseason expansion.
It pains me to say this, but there is one way I can see to maintain the rivalry, and that would be for the SEC not to go to a nine-game conference schedule. Bedlam could then join the other existing non-conference rivalry games that Florida, Georgia, Kentucky and South Carolina already play. But I don’t think that would be as good for business.