By Steve Lansdale
This is more like it.
The AT&T Red River Showdown, the annual clash between Texas and Oklahoma, is one of the most popular and storied rivalries in all of college football. The clashes between the Longhorns and Sooners started in 1900, when Oklahoma was still a U.S. Territory and the OU campus in Norman was located in what was known as the Oklahoma Territory. Texas leads the all-time series, 61-46-5.
In the 112 meetings between the schools, at least one team has been ranked in the Associated Press top 25 poll 70 times. When the teams meet Saturday in the Cotton Bowl, that number will climb to 71, as both teams are ranked among the nation’s elite programs.
The importance of having two ranked teams is obvious. Having one team ranked and the other enduring a rebuild can lead to one-sided, non-competitive affairs. But when the Longhorns and Sooners both are ranked, each with legitimate goals of competing for the Big 12 championship, and everything gets ratcheted up a notch or two — players run faster, hits are delivered harder, and the sounds and smells from the Texas State Fair drift into the Cotton Bowl with a little more intensity.
The AP released its newest poll Sunday afternoon, and both teams are ranked. Oklahoma enters Saturday’s showdown ranked No. 7 in the country, while Texas comes in at No. 19. The Longhorns jumped two spots in the poll after going into Manhattan, Kan., and knocking off Kansas State, 19-14, while the Sooners dropped a couple of spots, despite hammering Baylor, 66-33. LSU whipped Ole Miss, 45-19, and Notre Dame topped Stanford, 38-17, to leapfrog Oklahoma in the polls.