Seriously, folks, if you haven’t been to the Red River Shootout Rivalry, go. At least once. It is one of the iconic experiences in college football. Seeing it on TV is nothing compared to being there and soaking up the supercharged atmosphere. The stadium is split at the 50 yard line. Half orange, half crimson. This terrific series started in 1900, when Oklahoma was still a territory. Ah, the good old days!
Texas leads the series, 59-42-5. Dallas was chosen as a “neutral site” in 1912, since it’s approximately halfway between Austin and Norman. Someone in Austin figured that out, naturally. That may or may not be true, but I choose to believe it, and my mythology is just as valid as your mythology. Plus the Texas State Fair happens every year at the same time as the game, so you can get yourself a fried Twinkie or a fried pickle or a fried Snickers or fried ice cream, with a heart attack on the side. Fun for the whole family!
I have a couple of stories for you. One of my friends from high school came from a family of Sooners. Not her fault; it was just an accident of birth. Despite this handicap, she made the right choice and opted to attend UT. We started the same year, right before the invention of fire. She got to live in a dorm (LUCKY!) and her dyed-in-the-wool OU dad helped her move in. He could NOT resist wearing a Sooners shirt into the UT dorm. She really had a good sense of humor about the whole thing. Every year her dad got tickets to the game, and every year she’d go, decked out in her burnt orange, sitting in a sea of crimson. She’s one of my personal heroes. Rock on, Tracy! Represent!
You may have figured out by now I’m an attorney. Don’t worry, still holding on to the day job, hyuk hyuk, don’t forget to tip your wait staff. This is a second career for me. I started law school at the decrepit age of 37. Even someone with my advanced years was given the opportunity to have a mentor as a first year student. I applied, and was assigned a mentor. How exciting! A live adult human attorney who worked in exchange for actual money! I eagerly read over the info page about him…and clapped my eyes on a terrible sight. HE WENT TO OU AND ADMITTED IT, RIGHT THERE IN WRITING. The world slid off its axis. Everything went kind of blurry. I thought maybe there was some career-ending mistake. What the cuss—I traveled two thousand miles to attend school in Oregon, and I get matched up with a SOONER as my mentor? Fate has a sense of humor, indeed.
Our first visit was in his office. We agreed at the beginning to not talk about football, but naturally it was the topic of just about every conversation. He had never been to Austin! If you can imagine. But he traveled to the Cotton Bowl every year to meet his brother and wallow with his own kind. Seriously, though, he was a great mentor and we still occasionally keep in touch. I was able to forgive his shortcomings and he recognized my superiority, so it all worked out great.
I’m writing this post early in the week, before many of the dudes who write about sporting contests have weighed in and prognosticated about the game. In a continuation of the Poor Planning Department of Me™, my brain began begging for a vacation in the summer. My fingers complied, and booked a trip starting on Wednesday. So yes, gentle readers, in addition to booking myself for sailing classes at the beginning of the season, I managed to get myself out of town for the OU game. So, my musings are a little early this week. Forgive me, or, if you cannot, do your best to remember the good times.
Let’s talk stats, because that’s pretty much what we have to discuss. The teams appear to be pretty evenly matched. Texas ranks 25th in total yardage with 477.4 yards, and OU ranks 28th with 463.8. Texas bests the Sooners in points scored, 46.8 to 38.3. David Ash, icewater master of the offense, has a 77.5% completion rate. Landry Jones, former Heisman hopeful (HAR HAR) is at 63.3%. OU has allowed an average of only 16 points by opponents, besting Texas’s record of 26.4. The two teams have at-home losses, and are 1-1 in conference play. This game is always important, but this year both teams have something to prove. Texas comes off a disappointing loss after a four-quarter bare-knuckle brawl. And OU lost to Kansas State, very likely dashing their national championship dreams. OU is riding to Dallas on a win over Texas Tech in Lubbock. Say what you will, it’s hard to beat the Red Raiders at home.
It’s no secret how I feel about Bob Stoops and the Swooners. I expect to see a high-scoring contest. There’s no word yet whether Hicks will play, but he’s sorely missed in the defense. Here’s hoping his pointy hip gets better real quick. Coaching left so much to be desired in the WVU game. Manny Diaz better be worried about his job, and whip the defense into an appropriate frenzy.
Right now, Texas is the underdog. Say what? OU comes in ranked at number 13. They are favored to win by 3. Texas needs to take the positive from last week and build on that. Better play calling and coaching. More attacks through the air against an outmatched OU secondary. And oh, there was something else…DEFENSE DEFENSE DEFENSE! I’m glad the ‘Horns are the underdog, so they can focus on having something to prove. Like, not letting Landry Jones and Bob Stoops run the table and come away with the win. This is an important game for the ‘Horns, and it will very likely be a pivotal point either to legitimacy or another descent into disappointment.
Game time is at 11:00 a.m.,Central Time, so get all set up with your mimosas and Bloody Marys (THEY ARE NUTRITIOUS, THEY HAVE TOMATO JUICE) and scream your lungs out. The over/under is 61 points, so the bookies are expecting another high-scoring contest. Gamble wisely, children.
This article was first published in its entirety on GridironGirl.org
Photo courtesy of UT Athletics