Saturday, October 4, 2008

The Red River Rivalry

Over the years, the Oklahoma-Texas football game has been one of those rivalries that has taken on a distinct life of its own.

It always matters who wins, no matter what the records are, no matter what the rankings are (or even whether either team is ranked). Of course, the game is that much more interesting when things like unbeaten records and possible conference and national championships are thrown into the mix.

The 2008 edition of the "Red River Rivalry" promises to be the most anticipated game between the two schools since 2004, when #2 Oklahoma shut out #5 Texas, 12-0.

That was the first time Oklahoma had won five straight against Texas in 30 years.

Such a winning streak won’t be on the line this time. OU won the game last year, Texas won it the year before that.

But both teams will be ranked in the top 5 when they kick off next Saturday. The Sooners made sure their record would have no blemishes when they buried Baylor 49-17 Saturday afternoon. The Longhorns remained unbeaten with their 38-14 victory over Colorado Saturday night.

The winner of next Saturday’s game at the Cotton Bowl should be one of the favorites to play for the national title in January.

Of course, unbeaten Texas Tech and Oklahoma State might have something to say about that. Both are in the same division of the Big XII as Texas and OU.

And as Thayer Evans observes in the New York Times, "The game could ... muddle the polls if Texas wins. The Longhorns would join Alabama, Louisiana State and Missouri in the battle for No. 1."

ABC is set to televise the game on Saturday, starting at 11 a.m. (Central).

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