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Thursday, October 4, 2001
Texas-Oklahoma a true classic
By Beano Cook
Special to

Once upon a time, back when God and I were boys, Texas-Oklahoma was a nonconference game. But that didn't make it insignificant. It was still the highlight of the year in the lower plains states because it brought together the oil people from Texas and the oil people from Oklahoma, and those guys didn't exactly make ten dollar bets. They were betting oil wells!

Darrell Royal
Darrell Royal coached Texas to national titles in 1963, '69 and '70.

Since OU and Texas are now in the same division of the same conference, the game of course takes on much bigger importance.

In 1958, the Texas-Oklahoma matchup became the first big game ever decided by the two point play. Darrell Royal became the Texas head coach in 1957 with an order to beat Oklahoma. He didn't get it done in the first year, and they were a seven point underdog in his second year.

Texas scored first when Rene Ramirez scored the first Longhorn touchdown of the game on a pass from Bobby Lackey. Royal went for two in the PAT and was successful, which made the score 8-0 Longhorns. OU rallied to take a 14-8 lead with a TD in the fourth, but Texas scored another TD, kicked the extra point, and won the game 15-14.

That game was a huge win for Texas and sort of the beginning of the end for OU in that era. The series has swung back and forth several times. Oklahoma dominated for a decade under Bud Wilkinson beginning in 1947. Then Royal came in in '57 and dramatically changed the trend -- the Sooners didn't lose to the Horns every year Royal was at Texas, but during Royal's reign, Texas won national titles in 1963, '69, and '70. Royal's last season was 1976, by which time Barry Switzer was ushering in a new era at Oklahoma.

The greatest thing about this great rivalry is the neutral location. In Dallas, 50 percent of the fans are from Norman, 50 percent are from Austin. It's very colorful and with the exception of the Georgia-Florida game, there is nothing like it in college football.

There was talk of moving the game to a home and home. Let me add my name to the long list of folks who think it would be a big mistake to take the Red River Shootout out of Dallas.

Beano Cook is a college football historian for ESPN. Help | Advertiser Info | Contact Us | Tools | Site Map | Jobs at
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