Print

Red River Showdown History

Named for the river that divides Texas and Oklahoma


THE UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS LONGHORNS AND THE UNIVERSITY OF OKLAHOMA SOONERS HAVE PLAYED IN DALLAS EVERY YEAR SINCE 1929 . . . AND IN THE COTTON BOWL SINCE IT OPENED IN 1932.

The gridiron mash-up of Texas-OU (or OU-Texas, depending on your personal preference) turns half of the Cotton Bowl into a sea of burnt orange and the other half into an ocean of crimson for the annual Red River Showdown.

Recently, Oklahoma University’s athletic director told the ESPN television network, "Because of its prominent history and unique atmosphere, the setting of the Red River Showdown truly represents one of the most special games in all of college football."

"Special" is an understatement. These fans are fierce. That’s because the road to the national championship has often traveled through this game in Dallas. In the 1960s, passions were so high that hundreds of revelers would routinely be arrested for their antics the night before, or after, the game.

The annual clash, at a half-way point between the two schools' campuses, trumps just about any other college football rivalry in excitement, entertainment ... and economic impact.

In his book, Runnin' with the Big Dogs: The Long, Twisted History of the Texas-OU Rivalry, author Mike Shropshire surmises:

"The excitement is due in large part to the raw and dynamic history of the two states involved, from the Indian wars to the oil boom. Before statehood Oklahoma was known as Indian Territory, so this Red River Shootout is Cowboys and Indians all over again."