Cowboys, Sooners red-dy for Bedlam

US Presswire

Landy Jones (left) and Brandon Weeden (right) face off in the Bedlam game Saturday night.

The 106th edition of the Bedlam Series between the Oklahoma State Cowboys and Oklahoma Sooners kicks off at 8 ET on ABC Saturday night with state bragging rights and the Big 12 Conference title on the line.

The third-ranked Cowboys also have an outside shot at a berth in the BCS Championship game if they can deliver a convincing win over the 10th-ranked Sooners combined with a loss by LSU to Georgia in the SEC Championship.

The Sooners have long been the big brother in this series with wins in over 75 percent of the matchups since 1904, including the last eight. How lopsided has this rivalry been? Oklahoma has 26 30-point wins in the series and Oklahoma State has just one.

If the Cowboys can overcome this historical precedent they have a chance to re-write their record books. Oklahoma State has never been to BCS game and hasn’t even won a share of a conference title since 1976, when they split the Big 8 title three ways with Oklahoma and Colorado.

Offense Rules

Don’t expect the scoreboard operator to get bored during this game. Not only are the Cowboys and Sooners ranked third and fourth nationally in total offense, but they also are two of the quickest-scoring teams in FBS.

Lowest Average Time of TD Drive
2011 Season

Oklahoma State leads FBS with 20 touchdown drives that last one minute or less; the Sooners are fourth with 16. The Cowboys have scored at least one touchdown in under a minute in every conference game this season, and are one of two teams averaging fewer than two minutes per touchdown drive this season.

What to Watch For

One of the key matchups in this game will be in the red zone, where the Cowboys have scored 47 touchdowns this season (third-most in FBS). Oklahoma State frequently looks to air it out when inside the opponents’ 20-yard line, ranking fifth in FBS with 24 red zone passing touchdowns.

Brandon Weeden Red Zone
Passing by Target, 2011 Season

Much of the Cowboys’ success in the red zone can be traced to the prolific pass-catch combination of Brandon Weeden and Justin Blackmon. Weeden and Blackmon have connected on a red zone touchdown in 17-of-23 games played since the start of 2010. Blackmon leads FBS with 11 red zone touchdowns and has eight more red zone touchdowns than any other receiver on the Cowboys.

The Sooners have allowed only 15 red zone touchdowns this season (tied for seventh-fewest in FBS) and just seven of those have come in the air. In their last four games combined, they’ve given up only three passing touchdowns in the red zone.

Numbers to Know

With a win, Oklahoma will have its 32nd 10-win season in school history, breaking a tie with Alabama for the all-time lead. Alabama earned its 31st 10-win season two weeks ago.

While double-digit wins aren’t anything new to these schools, there are others at the opposite end of the spectrum. Of the current 120 FBS schools, 12 have never had a 10-win season. The University of Indiana Hoosiers have the distinction of playing the most seasons without a 10-win campaign (124 seasons).