The History of Oklahoma Versus Texas College Football Game – The Red River Shootout

The Dallas Cowboys versus the Washington Redskins; the New York Yankees versus the Boston Red Sox; the world of sports is full of traditional rivalries. Nothing, however, can match the historical rivalry between the University of Texas Longhorns and the University of Oklahoma Sooners. Called the Red River Shootout, it is considered to be one of the three greatest rivalries in college football winbir.

These two teams have faced off 104 times, and their rivalry has a number of characteristics that distinguish it from others, as well as some odd traditions. The game often has conference or national title significance – much like the Cowboys-Redskins Super Bowl face off, which doesn’t happen too much anymore. Also, unlike other team feuds, the Longhorns and Sooners play at a neutral site rather than a home team stadium.

Each of these schools has had a football program for more than 100 years. Some of their traditions, now nationally known, are typical Texas and Oklahoma behavior. For instance, the ‘Hook ’em Horns” Texas tradition, considered quaint by people from other parts of the country, are just a normal conversational phrased for people of the Lone Star and Sooner states. Another tradition is the running of game balls. The ROTC units at both colleges use a relay race to rune one game ball from their campus to Dallas. Once in Dallas, they participate in a practice scrimmage, with the winning team taking home a trophy and bragging rights – something that both Texans and Oklahomans are exceptionally good at.

The neutral site for the Red River Shootout is usually the Cotton Bowl stadium in Dallas, adjacent to the Texas State Fairgrounds. The game is held at the same time as the state fair, adding to the air of festivity. The stadium, which is almost exactly halfway between the two universities, is divided down the 50-yard line, with half those attending wearing the crimson and cream colors of Oklahoma and the other half clad in the burnt orange and white of the Longhorns.

From 1945 through 2004, one or both of these teams had been ranked nationally in the top 25 college football teams. While Texas has held the games-won advantage, prior to 2005, Oklahoma had won 5 consecutive games. This Sooner winning streak also included the worst loss in Texas football history, and was the longest losing streak for the Longhorns going back to the 50s. Despite the fact that Oklahoma trails Texas in total games won in their rivalry, the Sooners have the most total victories of any American college football team since 1945, and have earned several AP National Championships since 1950. Texas, on the other hand, in 2002, was selected as “America’s Best Sports College” by Sports Illustrated.

You can have your “Hatfields and McCoys.” For a feud that is longstanding, full of eccentricities, and is likely to endure until the end of time, nothing beats the Longhorn-Sooner rivalry.


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