Two Oklahoma teams. One national semifinal.
No. 3 Oklahoma and No. 4 Oklahoma State didn't debut atop the first BCS standings. But almost as good, the Bedlam rivals appear to control their own destiny. And both appear to be on a collision course for a Dec. 3 Stillwater showdown -- a de facto national semifinal that potentially could catapult the victor into the BCS National Championship. In other words, win and you're in.
Top-ranked LSU and No. 2 Alabama meet Nov. 5 in Tuscaloosa, Ala., in a game that figures to determine the other national title participant.
Because those two play, the Sooners don't have to worry about style points. Don't have to worry about the polls. Win out, and OU is playing for the national title for the fifth time under Bob Stoops no matter what Wisconsin, Boise State, Stanford or Clemson do.
Of course, it's not that simple. Beginning Oct. 29, the Sooners enter a three-game tilt that could feature a couple of potential landmines. First, OU goes to Manhattan, Kan., to face what should be 7-0 Kansas State, which will be playing its biggest home game in more than a decade. After that, the Sooners face Texas A&M, which defeated OU last season and is playing better football after suffering a pair of second-half swoons against OSU and Arkansas. Finally, the Sooners go to Waco to take on Baylor and Heisman hopeful quarterback Robert Griffin. OU should win all three going away. Then again, if the Sooners play like they did against Kansas, they could be in for some battles.
The Cowboys, surprisingly ranked No. 1 in the computers, have an equally challenging slate, which includes a trip this weekend to Missouri. But like the Sooners, OSU will be favored by a touchdown or more in every game leading into Bedlam.
Bedlam always has been high stakes with bragging rights in the state on the line. But 1984 was the last time the rivalry had national championship implications on both sides. That season, the second-ranked Sooners defeated No. 3 OSU 24-14 in Norman on the final week of the regular season, sending the Sooners to the Orange Bowl with a chance of winning the national title.
Win this Bedlam showdown, and OU will have another chance at a national championship.
Jake Trotter covers University of Oklahoma football for SoonerNation. He can be reached at email@example.com. Submit questions to his mailbag and look for answers every Friday.