The Campus Read-Option: The Red River Rivalry Is A Slice Of Americana

With a slate of ho-hum games on the schedule, the biggest game this weekend is the annual Red River Showdown between No. 19 Texas and No. 7 Oklahoma at the historic Cotton Bowl in Dallas.

College football has its share of bitter rivalries. Very few have a history that spans decades, and that has simultaneously had a multi-generational impact on fans and families. 

Texas vs Oklahoma is certainly one. Once described as a carnival on steroids, it’s also the only one that is played at a state fair.

Dubbed the Red River Showdown, but also commonly referred to as the Red River Rivalry and the Red River Shootout, it’s played annually at the Texas State Fair at the Cotton Bowl, giving it a little something extra that makes it stand out from other college football rivalries between two schools with similar fan bases who share a passionate dislike for one another.

NCAA Football Classics: History of Texas vs. Oklahoma in Red River Rivalry | ESPN

We look at some of the classic games in the annual meeting between the Texas Longhorns and the Oklahoma Sooners at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas. 00:13 – 1963 – No. 2 Texas beat No. 1 Oklahoma 28-7 00:27 – 1984 – No. 3 OU tied No.

This game has a unique kaleidoscope of colors, sounds and the scent of food that explodes into one unique aura when the Longhorns and Sooners, with both schools being 200 miles equidistant from Dallas, meet up. With their fans in tow, it’s like two separate, powerful armies meeting up on neutral ground to determine football supremacy.

It transcends football to become a true, unique slice of Americana. 

In the late 1940’s, America was looking for something to get excited about in the wake of WWII. With Texas and Oklahoma being the two most powerful football programs in the country at the time, they found it in The Red River Rivalry.

And as the importance of television grew, the passions of this game grew more far reaching. Originating in 1900, the history of both states, both schools and both teams have been intertwined ever since. There is a litany of legendary coaches, players and games wrapped up in this spectacle.

Rites of Autumn: Texas-Oklahoma Rivalry

This video is a telecast, broadcast, and production of Lions Gate Entertainment. I claim no ownership of this material, and do not profit from it in any way. This video is intended for historical and educational viewing purposes. Rites of Autumn: The Story of College Football Narrated by Burt Reynolds.

But even bigger than that is the aura and pageantry that represents a slice of America and the passions that are evoked within the crucible of college football that make this event worth watching every year, no matter where either squad is ranked.

This Saturday afternoon will be the 113th time that the series is being played, and Texas is the only Big 12 Conference program that holds an all-time series lead against the mighty Sooners.

Even with the Longhorns mired in mediocrity over the past few years, the shine has never come off of the annual matchup. This year’s game looks to be more delicious than most get-togethers because both programs walk in with a national ranking for the first time in over a decade.

Texas fans, after four consecutive wins, are screaming that coach Tom Herman has resurrected the mystique of the Longhorns and worked them back into playoff contention in only his second year. Last week’s win at Kansas State was the first victory they’ve had there in 16 years.


No. 18 Texas holds off late push from Kansas State. The Longhorns controlled the clock en route to a 19-14 victory.

They’ve definitely looked much better recently than they did in the season-opening 34-29 loss to Maryland. But Texas is taking a big step up against Oklahoma, a juggernaut program that’s routinely in contention for a birth in the College Football Playoff.

Last weekend, the Sooners stomped a 66-33 mud-hole into Baylor’s hind parts, accumulating 607 total yards on 54 plays for a ridiculous average of over 11 yards per play. PER PLAY!!!

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And OU quarterback Kyler Murray, among the top players already being considered for this year’s Heisman Trophy, averages close to 300 passing yards per game and has thrown 17 touchdowns in just five games. In addition to his rocket arm, he’s also a supreme threat when he breaks contain and runs with the ball. 

And some are suggesting that the Oklahoma offense is even more powerful this year, despite the fact that last year’s MVP and Heisman winner Baker Mayfield is now doing his thing for the Cleveland Browns.

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Oklahoma is 27-1 over its last 28 games against conference opponents with many of those wins coming by blowout.

Texas wants to prove that they’re back. Oklahoma is out to show that they’re still the baddest, fastest, most electrifying and best squad in the Big 12.

The Red River Rivalry’s 2018 version should be worth the price of admission. 

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