The Red River Shootout is here. This weekend is marks THE game of the year, every year, for the University of Texas and Oklahoma constituents. It’s a rivalry going back more than 100 years, and Texas leads the series (of course). This year, The Longhorns (the protagonists of the annual drama) enter the game with a 2-year winning streak. However, it’s gonna be a tough game, as Oklahoma (the bad guys you can feel free to hate) looks pretty strong, and Texas has been underwhelming.

Both teams know, if you win one game all year, this is it. Sorry A&M, your rivalry is close. Texas Tech, your one-sided hatred is flattering, but about as scary as a small dog yipping at our ankles.

Just like Cowboys-Redskins, Yankees-Red Sox, Australia-New Zealand, one thing I’ve learned about this series and any heated team rivalry – throw the records and the rankings out the window. It does not matter. Players play up to the challenge – fan intensity peaks – the environment is at critical mass.

When I think about what I love about football (a previous post), Texas-OU embodies it all.

The Road Trip to Dallas from Austin.

The tailgating experience at the State Fair of Texas.

Entering the historic Cotton Bowl, seeing the stadium literally split in half with fans – the good side side burnt orange, the other side clad in crimson.

The game is always intense. I remember vividly seeing Stonie Clark stop James Allen on a game-saving goal line stand in 1994.

And Roy Williams famous “Superman” play in 2001. Chris Simms – nuff said.

The aftergame. The winning fans stay at the fair, making the other team’s fans feel worse as they make their way out and think about their long drive back down I-35.

The celebration in Dallas. Either you’re drowning your tears or toasting the victory.