Oklahoma. For those unfamiliar with this state, there are a few images brought to mind when they here that name, primarily big tornadoes, the gaping cavity in the side of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal building, and the comfortable, folksy settings (in front of distant mountains?) prominent in Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Broadway musical of the same name. Otherwise, we’re the small-ish afterthought of a red state situated just north of texas, and those that haven’t been through here have little idea what we’re all about. They don’t know that we are the settled home of the five civilized tribes (plus), that the trail of tears ended here, that we’ve become in recent years the earthquake capitol of the globe, and they definitely don’t know that a Sooner is a no-good, dirty, conniving land thief. They certainly don’t understand that the Crimson from OUr uniforms is an homage to the red dirt that is the source of OUr name, that we have a long history of overcoming tragedy and hardship to survive, that so-called Southern hospitality has nothing on Sooner generosity, or that nothing can dampen OUr spirits or quell the pride we feel in OUr state.
As a land-locked state, we have a number of neighbors, each with a unique stereotype of a personality. The northwest corner sees small borders with both New Mexico and Colorado, and, due to the small number of shared miles and the small number of people that occupy that area, neither seem to largely affect life as a Sooner. To the north, the land of wildcats and jayhawks, the rolling Flint Hills, a state historically rich with abolitionism (thanks John Brown). To the northeast, Missouri, and with Mizzou now a member of the SEC and with the St. Louis Cardinals no longer having a farm club here (they were formerly the Tulsa Oilers), and the number of media outlets ensuring that the once-might KMOX was no longer the sole distributor of sports media west of the Mississippi, it’s a state that is far less involved in OUr affairs than it once had been. Their southern neighbor, Arkansas, is to me the home of relatives that I don’t publicly acknowledge, gorgeous hills, clear mountain springs, and the hollowed-out husk of a football program left destitute by the likes of Lou Holtz & Bobby Petrino.
To the south, just across the Red River, lies texas, the land where everything’s bigger, where cowboys and steers and big trucks and belt buckles and good ol’ Americana reside in a stunning, symbiotic tribute to everything wholesome about this great nation. It’s a divide that predates OUr statehood, as Oklahoma was Indian Territory, and as such was a Union-controlled territory during the War Between the States, while texas seceded and joined the Confederacy. It’s a far larger state than Oklahoma, and due to that size, as well as their access to the gulf coast and the shipping ports there, texas is considerably wealthier than we are. Abused and over-pumped, Oklahoma’s rich oil reserves were heavily depleted in the first half of the 20th century, and although Tulsa and Glenpool once housed more millionaires per square mile than anywhere in the world, OUr time at the top of the financial world was short-lived. In the long-run, texas had more available natural resources and successfully parlayed them into more statewide success. Now, they openly and willfully poach our teachers, and despite having cesspools like Houston and Dallas, mock issues of public health and crime here in the Sooner state.
Oh.. and football. Few teams have had success against OU, but texas can claim a decidedly winning record versus the Sooners. Even though the bulk of that success was prior to the modern era, before helmets, jock straps, and the forward pass were normal parts of the game, they still own the overall bragging rights. Never mind that they haven’t had the overall success that OU has had… we’ve won more titles, had more Heisman winners wear OUr laundry, and never mind that they even had to name their stadium after a Sooner (in case you’re unaware, before he became the greatest longhorn head coach ever, Darrell K. Royal was born on July 6, 1924 in Hollis, Oklahoma and played defensive back for Bud Wilkinson’s Sooners from 1946-1949). Never mind that OU has a winning record since we sent the Nazis and the Japanese Imperialists to defeat in the second World War. Never mind that OUr uniforms are gorgeous, wondrous, awe-inspiring works of art (except those gosh-awful red-on-red trash unis), and they’re stuck with the nastiest, ugliest color in the world. Never mind that they haven’t been nationally relevant since Saban’s boys knocked out Colt, that they’ve been subjected to thre of the biggest losses in the RR? history just in the past two decades, that their greatest player knew less about football than a Pop Warner defensive back. Never mind that they’ve lost back-to-back games with football juggernaut Maryland, or that just last season, they lost to KANSAS. Never mind any of the facts in this case, because if there’s one immutable truth in the OU vs. texas bout, it’s that texas is thoroughly convinced of its superiority, and they’re going to tell you all about it every chance they get.
This is why the Sooners’ failure to find a single stop in the first 3 quarters of the Red River ______ several weeks ago was so utterly soul-crushing. Not only did it lead to a loss, but it was a loss to them, the braggarts from the wrong side of the river, the braggarts that actually have a lot of state advantages that we do not, and they TOLD US ALL ABOUT IT. They laughed about how bad OUr defense was, about how they added to their win total in the series. They mocked OUr quarterback’s almost comeback, they scorned us because their freshmen kicker found the hole between the uprights, and they celebrated with a golden hat that we’ve grown more than a little accustomed to keeping in Norman. And then we went to work with them. We met them at conferences. Whilst touring a fine museum in Houston, a town I visited solely to interview for a training program/job, a security guard came down a long hallway yelling at me about the interlocking OU on my jacket, and concluded his witless repartee with the mindless exclamation "hook’ em horns!! YEAH!!" There’s no retort for such situations. We lost, they won, and we have to suck it up, and that… that sucks.
It’s why there’s more to win this week than just a game. More at stake than yet another Big 12 title. Much more to lose than a possible chance to slide into a third College Football Playoff. This week OUr boys in the crimson & cream will have an opportunity to shut those bloviating bastards from texas the hell up.
Yeah, if we win impressively, we have every reason that we should have the 4th spot in the CFP. If we top them, it’ll be a TWELFTH CONFERENCE TITLE, four times as many as the beef-o cult can claim. We’ll have put another tick in the win column, and another mark on the right side of the series record. None of it matters as much as topping them. None of it is as important as beating them, on their side of the Red River, and for the next 10 months they’ll have to live with the fact that their revival came up one game short at the hands of their "inferior" neighbors to the north. Ten months will stream by with Oklahoma having concluded a burnt-orange resurgence with a crimson-clad beatdown. Ten months will come off your calendar with Tom "MENSA" Herman having been bested by "the guru from Muleshoe." It will mean redemption, resolution, the righting of a horrible, horrible wrong.
And what if Kyler & Co. can’t conquer OUr foes? If Hollywood can’t cut free? If Ceedee can’t find first downs? If Grant can’t grant us touchdowns? If Carson can’t "banana" his way through the longhorn D? If Lee Morris can’t find the endzone (when that’s all he really does)? If Ruffin’s riders can’t tackle? If Buzzy’s in the wrong gaps? If the Kenneths (Murray & Mann) can’t get Ehlinger on the turf? If LJ Humphries & Collin Johnson beat up Parnell and Tre? If Bookie, Barnes, and DTY don’t make the right reads?
Then we have another 10 months of having to deal with those people and their bragging. The incredibly uneducated and wholly unentertaining trash talk of longhorns fans. The shame. The indignity. The shame (it’s worth saying twice). It’s entirely unbearable, and I for one cannot bear the thought of it. That’s what is at stake this week. That’s why this is more than a game… it’s more than a football game… this is real life being able to not strangle the texas fan that you work with. It’s Christmas without sticking the turkey fork through the hand of that weird drunk of an uncle that roots for texas. It’s truly the noblest cause of all… beating texas… it is quite literally the repelling of evil itself.
Time to win a Big 12 title.
Time to go back to the CFP.
Time to right the wrong.
Time to #Beattexas
Time for the #hornspointdownforever
*FYI: The lack of capitalization is intentional and is entirely meant as a sign of total disrespect. Also, all of the bad words should be used for that worthless bunch of burnt orange garbage.