ARLINGTON, Texas -- With Big 12 co-founders Oklahoma and Texas preparing to play their final seasons in the league before moving to the SEC, Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy on Wednesday said he thinks this is the final season for the Bedlam rivalry -- and he's not happy about it.
"In football, Bedlam is history in my opinion," Gundy told ESPN at Big 12 media days at AT&T Stadium. "OU chose to go to the SEC. When they did, they took Bedlam with them. ... [Oklahoma athletic director Joe] Castiglione is a friend of mine, but when he and their president decided to go to the SEC, they took Bedlam with them. Do I like it? No. I like tradition.
"I like Big 12, I liked the old Big Eight," he said. "I like rivalries. I like the things in college football that have been around forever, but that's not going to matter anymore. All those things are history."
Gundy said Oklahoma State's schedule is set through 2037, and suggested that if the SEC ever moves to a nine-game conference schedule, it wouldn't be smart "from a business perspective" for the SEC to schedule another Power 5 opponent.
"Nobody likes it," he said, "but Bedlam's out the window."
The Big 12's most-played rivalry -- in terms of current Big 12 teams -- will remain intact in 2024, as Kansas and Kansas State have played 120 times, the most in an All-Big 12 rivalry, according to ESPN Stats & Information. Texas and OU would be next at 117 games, followed by Bedlam at 117.
Still, Gundy conceded it's possible the two rivals meet again in a bowl game, and he said the Big 12 will remain "on solid ground" even without OU and Texas. He pointed to the recent additions of BYU, Houston, Cincinnati and UCF, which officially joined the Big 12 this month, as suitable replacements.
"Last year obviously TCU made it to the [CFP] finals and Texas has been nowhere near there," he said. "... There's teams that are in our league that have performed at a very high level over the last however many years and it hasn't always been [OU and Texas]. I don't think anybody is ever saying them leaving doesn't affect the Big 12, but I think that with the way it's moving and the four teams that are coming in ... we were very fortunate we were able to pick these teams up to make up for them leaving."
This year, the Big 12 will have 14 total teams because of the four additions, plus the final season with OU and Texas. In 2024, the league will shrink to 12, but Gundy said "it's not unreasonable to think we could be at 16 again real quick."
Gundy said he believes conference realignment will continue because of TV revenue as a driving factor. Big 12 commissioner Brett Yormark didn't specifically say what the league's plan is -- other than there is one.
"We do have a plan and hopefully we can execute that plan sooner than later," Yormark said. "But as I've always said, I love the composition of this conference right now. The excitement the four new members have brought to this conference has been incredible, and if we stay at 12, we're perfectly fine with that. If the opportunity presents where there's something that creates value and aligns well with our goals and objectives starting with the board, then we're certainly going to pursue it."
The realignment landscape has been mostly quiet as leaders throughout college athletics await the Pac-12's announcement of a new TV deal. When asked what schools he thinks would be a good fit for the Big 12, Gundy mentioned the four schools that have for months created the most speculation -- Colorado, Utah, Arizona and Arizona State -- but said it was only a guess.
"Colorado is right down the road," he said. "They used to be in our league. They make sense, right? You know, if you're thinking location, a little bit of television market, the two Arizona schools grab the West Coast a little bit. You know, Utah sitting right there. I'm guessing they have a rivalry with BYU, so you bring another rivalry in."
The only thing Gundy seems sure of about realignment, is the Bedlam rivalry is on its way out.