Lincoln Riley on Future of Bedlam: ‘It’s Our Hope That We Can Continue That’

August 5, 2021

Oklahoma football coach Lincoln Riley on Thursday doubled down on what OU and its leadership said last week about Bedlam in a meeting with the Board of Regents.

In Riley’s first media availability of OU’s fall camp, the Sooners’ coach said that it’s everyone’s hope at OU that the rivalry will continue, even as they transition into the SEC.

“Our leadership has made that clear that we hope to be able to do that,” Riley said. “Certainly respect the history of that game. It’s been a lot of fun to compete against those guys, to play a game that means so much to this state and certainly, I think everybody here at OU, it’s our hope that we can continue that. It has been a great game, great matchup, university, program that we have a lot of respect for and a lot of respect for the history and what it means for this state.”

Riley’s comments echo what OU president Joe Harroz said last week when discussing the topic and the implications of OU’s departure from the Big 12.

“We want the Bedlam rivalry to continue well past the expiration of this media rights agreement,” Harroz said. “Make no mistake, we want the Bedlam rivalry to continue. Even with this change, we want to play Oklahoma State in every sport in every year.”

I maintain that playing OU is in OSU’s best interest for myriad reasons but also important to keep around if only for the tradition that is Bedlam. However, OSU brass has not been as transparent about its stance on the topic. Mike Gundy has yet to fully comment on the matter, only saying he’s a “traditionalist” without going as far as offering an opinion on the future of the series. OSU president Kayse Shrum was equally unclear, saying of the topic last week, “We enjoy the intensity and tradition whenever we play OU in any sport. Right now, there are too many unknowns to determine what the future holds.”

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