Finally, the beginning of my favorite week of the football season (and easily my longest) - it's always thrilling to anticipate the sight of that orange blood on the floor of the Cotton Bowl. It is such a beautiful sight, when leaving the stadium following another OU victory, to witness the flow of those orange tears streaking down the faces of those poor, pathetic shorthorn fans.
If you choose to read further, please bear with me. As I said previously this is my favorite week of the football season, and I tend to indulge myself with personal thoughts and memories.
My first trip to the Cotton Bowl was 1973. Ironically, it was also the first trip, as a head coach for Barry Switzer (my personal favorite OU coach). WHAT A DAY. Final score OU 52 - them 13. It was a beautiful thing to witness. It was also my first experience to personally attend big-boy football, and it was electric.
Thank you for this #42, Rufus Alexander, class of 2006 - "Nobody can prepare you. There's nothing a coach can tell you before the game, because when you go out there and you se the people, you see the stadium, the ride up there, you get inside the State Fair, people banging on the buses, flipping off the buses, yelling stuff, IT'S REALLY LIKE NO OTHER."
OU's legendary coaches are 32-25-2 all time in the RRR:
Bennie Owen (1905-26) 8-7
Bud Wilkinson (1947-63) 9-8
Barry Switzer (1973-88) 9-5-2 My personal favorite
Bob Stoops (1999-present( 6-5
Bringing up the Red River Rivalry still makes Switzer bristle: "It bothers me and frustrates me so much that I got screwed out of two wins ...", both were TIES, NOT losses, and the screwing took place at that famous NEUTRAL field in Dallas. Last time I checked Dallas was in Texas, and that doesn't equate to "neutral" to me. Yes it is almost exactly half way geographically between Norman and Autism, but that's it. In addition, way to many Big 12 referee's reside in the state of texASS as well as some who actually live in Autism. How does that make them neutral?
Back to Switzer's (and my) angst.
1976 tie (6-6) was not an officiating error like 1984. The game ended in a tie because of a bad snap from center on Uwe von Schamann's extra point attempt (essentially automatic with Uwe) or OU wins 7-6.
1984 tie 15-15 was DEFINITELY and officiating gaff. Three plays after OU recovered a fumble at midfield that was NOT awarded by the officials, Keith Stanberry intercepted a Todd Dodge (current North Texas head coach) in the end zone, only to have it ruled INCOMPLETE. Wonder if those boys lived in Autism?
According to Switzer: "I don't view the game any differently (today), the only difference for me is now I get to sleep at night when the game is over."
Is this the GREATEST rivalry in college football? Obviously I think so, but I offer some others for debate.
Army-Navy. I offer this out of patriotism, but problem is that the winner RARELY goes to a bowl game
Souther Cal-Notre Dame. Not much more than catholics v hollywood
Ohio State-Michigan. No longer a rivalry since Michigan dropped football at the start of this decade
Georgia-Florida. Not much more than an excuse for those losers to get drunk, and who really needs an excuse
Auburn-Alabama. Intrastate games are NOT a rivalry. Only the Pukes consider it a rivalry with OU
Obviously fans of the above mentioned teams will disagree with me, so you decide for yourself.
The basic numbers:
texASS leads the overall series 59-40-5 (46-36-5 in Dallas; early games also played in OKC, Norman & Autism)
Since 1946, overall series record favors texASS 32-29-3
Six of the last ten years either OU or them have played for the National Championship - OU won in 2000 and texASS won in 2005.
OU-texASS is so BIG it awards THREE trophies:
The Golden Hat is presented on the Cotton Bowl turf immediately after the game
The Red River Rivalry trophy (started in 2003) goes to the winning side's student government
The Governor's Trophy is exchanged by the governors of the two states and resides in the respective state capital for the year.
PRIDE and BRAGGING RIGHTS are probably most important to the fans, but it also matters to the players. With so many players leaving the cesspools of texASS to attend OU and WIN, it gives the players a special pride when they are forced to return home during the summer. Those same players suffer tremendous abuse if they lose this game.
OU and texASS claim seven Heisman trophy winners:
texASS - Earl Campbell and Ricky Willams
i believe that's 5-2 in favor of OU, thank you very much.
On a sad note, texASS quarterback Peter Gardere, is the ONLY quarterback in the history of the RRR to go 4-0 as a starter, and that sucks big time.
After the disaster (for them, heaven for me) that occurred in Autism last Saturday, this weeks game should be most interesting. It's time for OU to win a few in a row (like TEN) and there is no better time to start than Saturday. While I won't be physically in attendance this year, I will be in spirit.
Honestly, my biggest concern, is how OU will handle the dynamic texASS quarterback who was anointed during his rousing performance against Alabama in last year's championship game. It was stastically brilliant and he continues to expand that classic resume. Throwing bombs to his critically acclaimed wide receivers and handing the ball off to his unstoppable running backs. My body just quakes every time I think about it. NOT