In the 112-game history of the Bedlam football series, the 1983 game still holds up as being crazy and dramatic.
If you were an Oklahoma fan at the time, it was immeasurably satisfying. One week after Marcus Dupree quit the Sooner squad, coach Barry Switzer savored a tremendous comeback victory in Stillwater.
For Oklahoma State fans, the 1983 outcome still ranks among the more sickening of all Bedlam outcomes. After having led 20-3 in the fourth quarter, the Jimmy Johnson-coached Cowboys lost 21-20.
Today, most college football classics are televised nationally and result in an explosion of Twitter activity. The Bedlam battle at 2:30 p.m. Saturday will be televised nationally by ABC, with Steve Levy on play-by-play, Brian Griese on analysis and Todd McShay providing sideline reports.
In 1983, Bedlam wasn’t nationally televised. It wasn’t even regionally televised.
Tulsa’s KTUL-8 produced and presented the telecast, with 35-year-old Chris Lincoln getting $250 for the play-by-play assignment.
“Incredible game and an incredible comeback by OU,” recalled Lincoln, now the anchor of Oklahoma Sportscene, a weekly sports-talk show airing weekly on Cox Communications systems statewide.
For the 1983 Bedlam production, there were four cameras — two at press-box level and two on the field.
“We had a few basic graphics, but that was before (the advent) of the time-and-score graphic that we have on the screen all the time now,” Lincoln said. “Back then, it was pretty basic television.”
Including the SkyCam camera that hovers above the field, ABC will use nine cameras on Saturday. Media credentials have been issued to 86 members of the ABC talent and production staffs.
Lincoln will be in Norman on Saturday. On Sunday, the former KTUL sports director will celebrate his 71st birthday.
National Bedlam: Believe it or not, there was no nationally televised Bedlam football game until 1984, when the second-ranked Sooners hosted and defeated the third-ranked Cowboys 24-14. The game was televised by ABC.
NBC had the first nationally televised OU game. It was played on Nov. 8, 1952, when the Sooners were beaten 27-21 at Notre Dame.
OSU’s first nationally televised game was carried by ABC on Dec. 13, 1958. In the Bluegrass Bowl at Louisville, Kentucky, the Cowboys defeated Florida State 15-6.
Predictions: Jeremie Poplin of The Buzz 1430 expects to see a 52-34 OU victory on Saturday.
“The Cowboy defense just doesn’t have the personnel to be as effective as they need to be under (new coordinator) Jim Knowles,” Poplin said. “OU won’t waste possessions on Saturday the way Texas did against OSU.”
Dylan Buckingham of The Franchise 107.9 and Oklahoma City’s KFOR-4: “Oklahoma 52-31. OU’s offense hasn’t scored fewer than 45 points since the Army game in September. OSU is giving up nearly 37 points per game in Big 12 play. That’s a recipe for disaster against the Sooners.”
Curtis Fitzpatrick of the OKC Sports Animal: “OU 51-31. With the way their offense is rolling, I don’t see how the Sooners don’t get into the 50s. OSU will score, but not at the same pace as Kyler Murray and company.”
Nathan Thompson of FOX23: “Sooners 55-34. The OSU defense hasn’t been good, and this is their worst match-up of the season. There are too many Sooner playmakers and too much speed — especially at quarterback. Kyler Murray again could get 300 yards passing and 100 rushing.”
Mark Rodgers of the OKC Sports Animal: “OU 48-31. The Cowboys’ best chance to win is to use the quarterback run game to bleed the clock. This OU offense versus this OSU defense is a bigger mismatch than the overall history of the series.”
This article originally ran on tulsaworld.com.