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That brings us to that December 3 showdown just mentioned between the Oklahoma Sooners and Oklahoma State Cowboys as the No. 1 most important 2011 showdown in the Big 12.
These two programs have met in the Bedlam Series since 1904, and as far as rivalries go, this one is definitely one of the more lopsided series. OU currently leads 81-17-7.
Since starting in 1904, the series has only missed two years: 1905 and 1909. The last Oklahoma State victory came in 2002 in a stunning upset of the then-No. 3 Sooners in Stillwater, with unranked OSU winning 38-28.
In 105 meetings, only 10 were between two ranked teams (four since 2003). It's probably a foregone conclusion that 2011 will be the 11th. Both teams are absolutely stocked with experienced talent. Both offenses know how to score, and they do it with seeming ease. Last season ended in a 47-41 shootout win by Oklahoma, which faced a higher-ranked Oklahoma State squad for just the third time. As prolific as both offenses are, expect another wild one with plenty of points to go around.
If everything goes according to the plans in both Norman and Stillwater, this game will remind many of the November 24, 1984 classic between No. 2 Oklahoma and No. 3 Oklahoma State. Oklahoma's 21-14 win gave it a share of the Big 8 title, and although both teams finished the year in the Top 10, fans in Stillwater still look back on what might have been.
Will 2011 be viewed in the same manner? And in which Oklahoma city will it be viewed with fondness and in which with resignation and disappointment?
This game will likely decide the 2011 Big 12 champion and the automatic BCS berth that goes along with it. If that wasn't enough, it's also possible, given both teams' preseason positions, that this game could amount to a BCS championship game play-in.
Should both programs endure until December 3, the winner could likely be staring a Top-Two BCS ranking squarely in the face. That's more than enough reason to place the 2011 Bedlam game on December 3 at the top of our list of the Big 12's most important showdowns.