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OU-Texas Boasts Most Unique Setting In College Football

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NORMAN, Oklahoma -

There's no other way to put it. The Red River Rivalry (or Shootout if that's your thing) is one of the greatest things about college football.

In fact, I'd go as far to say it's the most unique setting for a game in all of college football. Now, I haven't been to every college stadium in the country, nor have I experienced every rivalry there is, and sure, there are rivalries that are more historic (Ohio State vs. Michigan) or possess more hatred (Auburn vs. Alabama), but no rivalry can boast the atmosphere Oklahoma vs. Texas has.

If you've never been to Dallas and experienced this, put it on your bucket list.

The hustle and bustle of the State Fair of Texas makes an already exciting place even more so, even if the casual fairgoer cares nothing about the football game. The smells of fried anything and the sounds of music and fair workers trying to coerce you to spend money on a game you can't win create a very unique atmosphere for a football game.

If the fair is the appetizer, the game itself is the main course, a big juicy filet mignon, medium rare with all the trimmings. Or, if you prefer, a massive smoked turkey leg.

There's nothing like having a huge stadium packed with people for a game, but when it's equally split, the energy is heightened tenfold. Half the crowd burnt orange, the other half crimson. It's loud, it's exciting and it's crazy.

It's not the most hateful rivalry in the country, but there is plenty of desire on both sides to crush the other, both from the players and the fans. As with most rivalries, the fans are the ones who fuel what hatred there is, but most of the players on both rosters are from Texas. They've played each other in high school, with each other in high school or at 7-on-7 tournaments.

These players know each other; some of them are close friends. That kind of intimacy—players who have battled in high school battling for two of the biggest college football programs in the country—is unique and adds a personal edge to the games.

You really feel the venom in the crowd from both sides, something you lose when rivals are engaged in home-and-home series. For example, in 2009, when Texas' Aaron Williams sacked Sam Bradford, the Texas crowd went crazy. When they saw Bradford had reinjured the shoulder he hurt against BYU, they went ballistic. You could feel the fury building in the OU section that the Longhorns fans would dare find delight in the Sooners' fallen hero.

As for the rivalry on the field, the Longhorns own the overall series lead, 59-43-4. However, Texas' advantage comes from a 27-11-2 advantage from 1900-1945. Since that time, the series is tied, 32-32-2. So when they say throw out the records because anything can happen, they really mean it.

The favored team normally wins in this rivalry, but there have been several instances when the underdog, which had no business of winning the game, came out on top. Texas won four straight in the series from 1989-1992 as an unranked team and when the Sooners were ranked No. 15, No. 4, No. 6 and No. 16, respectively. OU did the same thing in 1982 and 1996, but also won in 1966 when no one saw it coming.

I've been to three of these games, as well as games across the country. Trust me when I say it's one of the best atmospheres in all of college football and easily the most unique setting. If you haven't been, you need to go.

You'll thank me later.

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