Oct. 20, 2009
NORMAN, Okla. -- The first installment of the 2009-10 Bedlam Series, presented by The Oklahoman and Oklahoma Farm Bureau Insurance, kicks off Friday, Oct. 23 at 7 p.m. as soccer battles Oklahoma State in Stillwater.
Traditionally, the in-state rivals have concluded the regular season slate against each other, but the Sooners have one more contest remaining after Friday's rivalry game (Oct. 30 vs. Baylor in Norman).
Nine out of the 13 Bedlam meetings, since Big 12 play began in 1997, have fallen during the regular season finale, but this year's version still holds plenty of importance for both squads.
Last year's 4-2 OSU win marked the fifth time in the previous eight years, that the rivalry game decided a potential bid in the conference tournament. The No. 9 Cowgirls rallied in Norman to celebrate a Big 12 regular season title and ended OU's season.
In 2009, the Sooners (7-9-1, 2-5 Big 12) are tied for ninth place in the standings with Kansas and Iowa State, and sit right behind Oklahoma State (9-7, 3-5) at 3-5. The top eight teams qualify for the Big 12 Championship (Nov. 4-8).
OU and OSU have one game remaining following Friday's meeting, as Baylor travels to both Norman and Stillwater. Friday's game is not a do-or-die game, but OU is approaching it as a must-win situation.
"It's safe to say that we have to win out," said OU Head Coach Nicole Nelson following Sunday's double overtime loss to Missouri.
"I think there is a good chance three wins may get us in. At the same time we have taken a little bit of the control out of our hands. And it depends on what other people do."
The high stakes are nothing new to the Bedlam Series, which is led 11-2-1 by Oklahoma State. Since the series started in 1996, 11 of the 14 meetings have been decided by one goal and four contests have ended in overtime.
The Sooners will be aiming to snap a four-game skid against the Cowgirls and register their first win in Stillwater since 2005. In that meeting, OU won 3-2 and ended OSU's season while advancing to the Big 12 Championship.
"It puts a lot of pressure on us," junior Whitney Palmer said. "We have to depend on other teams to see what they do. But we have to win these next two games to even have a chance of getting through."