If you’ve spent even one second around a computer, newspaper, TV or radio since last Sunday, you are certainly more than aware that the Jim Harbaugh-coached San Francisco 49ers will meet the John Harbaugh-coached Baltimore Ravens in the Super Bowl on Sunday evening.
There is a current equivalent that occurs yearly in college football. The parallels aren’t quite perfect, but the stakes are almost as high, at least to the principals.
Mike Gundy has faced off against his younger brother, Cale, 16 times in a number of roles in the Bedlam rivalry. Mike, the former Oklahoma State quarterback, served as the Cowboys’ wide receivers coach, quarterback coach and offensive coordinator from 1990-95, returned to Stillwater as the Cowboys’ offensive coordinator from 2001-04 and took over as head coach in 2005. Cale, the former Oklahoma quarterback, is an original member of Bob Stoops’ staff dating back to 1999 as the running backs coach.
“I look at it as a heck of a deal,” Mike told Berry Tramel of the Oklahoman. “For mom and dad, someone’s going to win the dang thing.”
“What a great time for the mom and dad,” Cale said. “It doesn’t get any better.”
Cale’s Sooners sport a 12-3-1 record against Mike’s Cowboys in their 16 Bedlam showdowns, but the rivalry reached a boiling point in 2010 and 2011 when Oklahoma and Oklahoma State twice squared off with a championship on the line.
“I wanted to beat my brother,” Cale said of the two title clashes. “I wanted to win the Big 12 championship.”
In 2010, the Sooners topped the Cowboys, 47-41, to claim the Big 12 South title, but a year later the Cowboys got the better of the Sooners with a 44-10 walloping to win the Big 12 crown outright.
“I know how hard he’s worked to build that program,” Cale said. “If Oklahoma couldn’t win it, I was happy when my brother had the opportunity.”
Who’s to say if the losing brother will have the same outlook come Sunday night, but there will be one stark difference between the Harbaugh and Gundy showdowns. Jim and John’s parents, Jack and Jackie, figure to be seated in a Superdome suite on Sunday evening, eyes either buried in their hands or glued to the field. The elder Gundy’s father, Ray, however, usually won’t even be found in Norman or Stillwater on Bedlam game day. He goes hunting.