Win, and in.
Oklahoma needs to beat Oklahoma State on Saturday in Stillwater to clinch a spot in the Big 12 Championship Game.
Of course, the Sooners can still lose to the Cowboys and land a ticket to Arlington, TX, but that would require help from Texas Tech. If the Red Raiders beat Baylor earlier in the day (11 a.m., Fox Sports 1), the Sooners are on their way to a Bedlam rematch at AT&T Stadium.
Nobody is thinking about next week. Not yet. But that doesn’t diminish the oddity of preparing to play the same opponent in back-to-back weeks.
“Yeah, that would definitely be a little bit weird,” said OU senior Pat Fields. “Something that we’re not used to, to say the least. But I think it would be cool, though, especially with the venue being changed. It going from an Oklahoma State game to a neutral site game, I think the environment of it changes in terms of Oklahoma State is going to be extremely hostile.
“And mind you, I visited Oklahoma State, I was recruited by them, so I’m used to the paddles slapping on the boards and all that. And of course, I’ve played there. So going from that type of environment to the Cowboys Stadium, where it’s completely different. I think that’ll be like the biggest thing that’ll be different. I’m looking forward to the challenge of it. I think it will be cool.”
“I think we're going to wake up, we're going to prepare for our game, do what we normally do and aim to win,” said senior Jeremiah Hall. “We're not worried about the results of those guys. We have our own game to play, so we're going to be ready for that one. Honestly, I'm not even thinking about what's going on down there in Waco."
Lincoln Riley said this week there won’t be a lot of obsessing about Baylor-Tech.
“I don't know that we'll pay a whole lot of attention to it,” he said. “Will we look at a score? Yeah, probably so. I think the thing ... we've just gotta deal in the controllables and deal with what we know right now. What we know is if we win the game, we're where we wanna be. And so I think that's the most important thing.
“Listen, I mean, no matter what happens with that other game, our expectation level is to play well and to win the football game, like any other game. We would be disappointed if that did not happen regardless of what happens in the Baylor game.”
That’s a sound philosophy. Whether it’s practical is another thing.
There remains an unprecedented element to what could be an all-time classic in an entertaining series: they could very well play again next week — this time for a championship.
“Coach Riley has done a good job of keeping the team's mindset appropriate,” Hall said, “in terms of letting us know that everything we want to accomplish is right in front of us. Coach Riley does a good job of making sure we have the right mindset going into a game. In my experience, I will say that this one definitely means a little bit more. We definitely have a little bit more on the line in this game, specifically.
“That's something that only an older guy could really understand compared to previous Bedlam games where maybe we're playing them a little bit earlier in the season or not so much is on the line, as in past games haven't determined whether or not we've gone to the Big 12 Championship Game. This one definitely means a little bit more in my opinion.”