A Unique Rivalry Game
With crimson-clad fans decorating one half of the historic Cotton Bowl in Dallas, Texas, and those in burnt orange claiming the other side, the AT&T Red River Showdown provides one of the most unique atmospheres in all of sports.
The annual Oklahoma vs. Texas matchup is one fans mark on their calendars every year, and the 113th meeting brings an extra layer of excitement. This is the first season since 2012 that both teams enter the rivalry ranked, with the No. 7/5 Sooners possessing a 5-0 record and the No. 19/20 Longhorns holding a 4-1 mark. Kickoff is slated for Saturday at 11 a.m. CT on FOX, and ESPN’s College GameDay show will be on site before the game.
The matchup takes its name from the Red River, which creates part of the boundary between the southern part of Oklahoma and the northern side of Texas. The two teams first played in 1900, and each contest since 1929 has been held in Dallas, which was chosen as the neutral site location since it is about halfway between the two campuses in Norman and Austin.
Austin St. Denis, a senior who is majoring in communication and minoring in sports management, will be making his fourth trip to Dallas for the game as an OU student. This year, the Houston, Texas, native will also experience a family divided Red River Showdown as his sister is a freshman at Texas.
“We’re so nice to each other and we’re such good friends, so we lay off the trash talk, but it’s still really fun,” St. Denis said.
For St. Denis, sticking around after an OU win his sophomore year at the State Fair of Texas is one of his favorite OU/Texas memories because he enjoyed watching his Sooners receive the iconic Golden Hat Trophy. OU enters the game having claimed the trophy in six of the last eight years.
“You have these two completely contrasting colors, different universities, and different student bodies, all competing in this one stadium just split right down the middle. The environment is unbelievable,” St. Denis explained. “OU games are really exciting as they are when people chant ‘Boomer Sooner’ back and forth, but it’s just a whole new element because you have the OU fans chant ‘Boomer Sooner’ and UT fans chanting at the same time.”
Adding an additional uniqueness to the game is the fact the Cotton Bowl is located inside the State Fair of Texas, creating a crimson and burnt orange split just like inside the stadium.
“Being in the middle of the fair is really cool because the fan bases who converged for the game also go to the fair and the surrounding events,” St. Denis said. “A lot of times we’ll walk up and be in a big sea of burnt orange. Then you make your way over to the other side and find everybody who’s cheering for OU, so that’s always pretty fun.”