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The Best Rivalry In This Millenium Is Oklahoma vs. Texas

With the haze of conference realignment in college football currently lingering around us, let me remind you of something about the Big 12 conference real quick. Since 2000, no conference has participated in more national championship games than the Big 12 with seven (albeit with a total record of 2-5 in title games, but that's besides the point.) Like it or not, if the champion of the Big 12 conference finishes with an unblemished record, there's a strong possibility that team will be sitting in the locker room on the second Monday of January.

Of course, we can't even begin to get far without acknowledging that six of the seven appearances from the Big 12 conference have been the winner of the biggest game in college football every year. That game is the Red River Rivalry Shootout played in the 92,000 capacity Cotton Bowl in Dallas, Texas between the Oklahoma Sooners and the Texas Longhorns.

If you don't understand the pageantry and high drama that's highlighted in the Red River Shootout, then you just haven't been paying attention. The split of the crowd right down the 50-yard line of Whiny Burnt Orange and Crimson. The atmosphere around the Cotton Bowl, with the Texas State Fair going crazy, kids carrying turkey legs the size of their face, and country folks eating anything of the deep-fried variety, is second-to-none. Kool-aid, snickers, butter, oreos, and cheesecake are the hot commodities I hear this year.

However, what a lot of people don't realize is how intense and historic the actual rivalry is. From former Hollis, Oklahoma legend and Sooners quarterback Darrell Royal (for who the Longhorns' stadium is named after) is known to have crafted the wishbone from watching Texas A&M run the option, and creating a three-back offense from it. Yet, its Barry Switzer (who stole it from Texas) who is credited for perfecting the same offense. Folks are still mad about this.

What's also important about this game is this is where credibility is earned, Heismans are won, and legends are made. The Roy Williams "Superman" play in '02 is etched every single college football fan's mind to this day. Watching the introduction of Adrian Peterson in '04 to the national audience as he lumbered up and down the field. Seeing the emergence of Jamaal Charles in '05 as he ran wind sprints on Oklahoma. The emergence of the phenom Vince Young in '06 as he torched Oklahoma and the world quickly realized they had nothing for #10. Witnessing the duel of two of the greatest college football quarterbacks of all-time in Sam Bradford and Colt McCoy do battle was a pleasure to see.

This is a game that potential champions are made. As I stated earlier, Oklahoma and Texas have played in six national championships since 2000 and that is a testament to the phenomenal coaching of Bob Stoops and Mack Brown. They've only had one losing season COMBINED (Texas last year) in their entire history coaching at their respective schools. Oklahoma and Texas have stayed remarkably relevant for over a decade. 9 of the 11 Big 12 champions have either been Oklahoma or Texas since 2000. There isn't another rivalry going right now that has that type of resume.

So when the clock hits high noon on Saturday, do yourself a favor and treat yourself to the biggest game on the college football calendar. This game was almost taken away from us due to greed and gluttony by a variety of parties, and that would've been a damn shame. Oklahoma and Texas have the greatest love/hate relationship going, and that's something anyone can respect.



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