Oct 13

The Red River Shootout

Posted By:Russ James - Firth, NE  Tags:

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 #3 Texas (5-0) vs. #20 Oklahoma (3-2) -  12:00 EST, ABC, The Cotton Bowl, Dallas, TX

This game, in no uncertain terms, embodies what college football is, or at least should be. Pride, history, emotion and signifigance are the ingredients that make this one of
the greatest rivalry games in college football's past, present and future. It is a game that anyone who considers themselves a fan should appreciate.

The 'Red River Shootout' saw it's first game in 1900 with Texas handing it's Oklahoma neighbors a 28-2 loss in Austin, Texas. To put this in a historical perspective, Oklahoma
was not even a state at this time, it was still a United States territory, and the campus was still in the 'Oklahoma Territory'. The Oklahoma Territory wasn't admitted to the Union until 1907 when it joined with the Indian Territory and officially received statehood as the State of Oklahoma.

While the Red River Rivalry has a long history, it is by no means the longest in college football's history. That honor goes to the Harvard/Yale rivalry which dates back to 1875, and is called simply "the game". Other longer running match-ups include the Army/Navy game which began in 1890, Clemson/South Carolina - 1896, Ohio State/Michigan - 1897, Alabama/Auburn - 1893 and Virginia/Virginia Tech who first saw action in 1895. There are literally dozens of other rivalry games that have been around as long or longer than the
Red River Shootout, but few - if any - have had as much national importance as this one, particularly in the past few years.

Since 1945, one or both of these teams has been ranked in the top 25 in 60 out of 65 games. Since 2000 both teams have been in the top 5 four of the nine times they met. Since the inception of the Big 12 in 1996 either Oklahoma or Texas has represented the South Division in all but two of the thirteen Conference Championship games, with Oklahoma getting 5 of those titles and Texas taking 2. In that same time one of these two schools has played for the National Championship four times, with each of them winning an out-right National Champinship once, Oklahoma in 2000, and Texas in 2005. So, it is a game that goes simply beyond the 'bad blood' of most college rivalries, it's a game that matters year in and year out both on a conference level and a national one.

Some interesting trivia/history of the game:

The border between Texas and Oklahoma is of course the Red River, hence the name, however that border is still in dispute in the area of Texoma lake, approxiamtely 60 miles north of Dallas, and had been for nearly 200 years when congress finally stepped in 2000 and finally settled the dispute and set the border as the as the vegetation line on the south bank of the Red River.

This boundary dispute got so heated that it drove one Oklahoma governor to approach the Red River in an Army tank.

In 2005 the Dallas Morning Sun asked all 119 Division 1A football coaches to identify the top rivalry game in college football. The Red River Rivalry came in third behind Ohio State-Michigan and Army-navy.

Each school's respective ROTC program run a relay system to bring one game ball from their campus to Dallas. Once there they play a scrimmage game for bragging rights.

There are three trophies exchanged after the game; a gold ten gallon hat kept by the winning universities athletic department till the next year, the Red River trophy is exchanged between the two schools governments, and the Governor's trophy, exchanged between the states' two governors.

The game takes place on the last days of the Texas State Fair.

The game was called the 'Red River Shootout' up until 2005 when corporate sponsors SBC Communications stepped in and decided to officially name it the SBC Red River Rivalry,
with SBC's renaming as AT&T it is now referred to as the AT&T Red River Rivalry. Weak. It's the Red River Shootout.

Tickets for the game are divided on a 50-50 basis and the two sections are typically divided by the 50 yard line.

Well call it what you want, but with the importance of this game, it's history and the emotion it generates this is one that can't be missed. Oklahoma is as dangerous a team as
Texas is likely to face and they need this win to salvage their season. It's going to be a shootout.

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