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Wednesday, October 25
Oranges back in style for OU-Nebraska rivalry

By Wayne Drehs

More from Norman
Rain, rain go away After a summer and fall of burn bans due to the area's long-standing drought, the Oklahoma City area has been pounded by rain in the last couple days, potentially effecting the play in Saturday's game.

Since last Sunday, Norman has received over six inches of rain, with anywhere from two to four additional inches expected to fall on Wednesday. Scattered showers and thunderstorms were in the forecast for Thursday, Friday and Saturday as well.

The average rainfall for the entire month of October is 3.23 inches.

The drainage system at Owen Field absorbed the rain through Wednesday, with nary a puddle in sight. But one has to wonder how much more water the field can handle.

Weather has been a hot topic on local sports call-in shows, with many Sooner fans pointing out that OU's 63-14 win over Texas three weeks ago was played in wet conditions.

But that game only saw rainfall in the first quarter. And with Oklahoma relying so heavily on the passing game, one would have to think that inclement weather and a heavy football would favor the Huskers.

Gathering stuff One has to look no further than their TV Guide to realize the importance of this game in the local television market.

In addition to a live broadcast by ESPN's "College Gameday" crew, Fox Sports Net's Big 12 Showcase will originate in Norman this week.

Local television stations are getting into the act as well, each coining their own semi-unique slogan for a Sooner television special.

At the Oklahoma City CBS station, the choice is "Big Red Showdown," which will air Thursday night.

ABC took that a step further with the, "Big Red Battle: A Showdown in Norman," which will carry viewers into the national broadcast of the game.

Lastly, the area's FOX station went simple, titling their special, "Sooner Showdown." FOX's thirty-minute program will air at 6 p.m. Saturday night, wrapping up the day's events.

NORMAN, Okla. - Glance at some highlights of old Nebraska-Oklahoma games and you notice a large presence of oranges.

That's right, oranges. In the middle of Oklahoma. Sure they often had bruises and divots in them, but for their purpose, it didn't matter. They weren't to be eaten. These oranges were symbolic, representing the Orange Bowl that the winner of the big game often attended.

And with that trip often came along a shot at a national championship. So the ugly oranges were a good thing, often flung from the student section onto the field. When the game would end, the victors wouldn't so much raise their fists or arms in joy, they would raise an orange.

This year, with the Nebraska-Oklahoma game carrying national championship implications for the first time in more than a decade, the topic of oranges again is red hot. Especially since this year's BCS Championship game is being held -- where else -- the Orange Bowl. While OU Campus Police have threatened a trip to jail for those throwing oranges, students seem unfazed.

"Why should we worry about the ramifications?" said Mike Purdy, sports editor of The Oklahoma Daily, OU's campus newspaper. "There's too much tradition to worry about that stuff."

After the Texas win three weeks ago, a few oranges were flung onto the field at Dallas' Cotton Bowl. Two weeks ago, after Oklahoma defeated then-No. 2 Kansas State, students were driving around campus honking their horns and hurling the citrus projectiles at one another.

And a basket that's part of "The Seed Sower," Oklahoma's main campus statue, was filled with, you guessed it, oranges.

And this all happened after road games. Imagine the pandemonium if Oklahoma beats top-ranked Nebraska at home.

"From what I hear, if we win, the goalposts are coming down," Purdy said. "Oranges will be thrown."

Campus police are hoping not. They've gone on local television newscasts, threatening not only ejection from the game and a $200 fine for citrus tossers, but a thought-provoking trip to jail as well.

The University has gone as far as to remove all oranges from the shelves of a campus grocery store. Still, OU junior Matt Franklin thinks that will stop little.

"It might be a little premature, there are still a couple of games to win to get to the Orange Bowl, but nobody is tougher than Nebraska," he said. "So if we can get ahead late in the fourth quarter, why not go ahead and throw them?"

Amy McFall, the editor-in-chief at The Oklahoma Daily and thus Purdy's boss, is a little more cautious about her orange predictions, electing not to comment on the precautions the university has taken.

Though she isn't a big football fan and won't be at the game, McFall did say that students should get involved.

"I know we have a lot of school spirit and if that's the way we choose to express the spirit, so be it," she said.

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