Red River ramblings

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It’s that time of year again. The weather is cooling off, leaves have begun to change, and anything that can be battered and fried is ‘Fair’ game in Dallas. Of course, it wouldn’t be October in Texoma without the Red River Rivalry.

This year, the top-ranked Sooners again face the undefeated Longhorns, and everyone in Texoma – including the staff here at KXII- can’t wait for Saturday.

“The Red River Rivalry?” you might ask. Well, we could call it ‘OU-Texas’. Or ‘Texas-OU.’ But anyone who has covered the game in these parts knows better, unless you want a heap of steamin’ Sooners or livid Longhorns calling and emailing that their team should be mentioned first.

Don’t think it’s a big deal? Don’t tell that to Oklahoma cornerback Dominique Franks. He told the Associated Press earlier this week he can’t sleep sometimes thinking of the Longhorns. Franks says he went to bed at ten o’clock Monday night but woke up at 1 a.m. in anticipation of Saturday’s game.

So how does Texoma fit into the Red River Rivalry? The map tells us (via Interstate 35) that Norman, Oklahoma, is 189 miles from Dallas, the site of the Cotton Bowl where the game is played, and that Austin is 196 miles from Dallas. That means the road to glory goes through Carter and Love Counties in Oklahoma and Cooke County, Texas, for Sooner fans. It is annual tradition for Channel 12 to cover the Sooner fans’ trip south on Friday, and you can be sure we will as they pass through today.

But what about the actual game? How does Texoma fit in? Ardmore’s own Jermaine Gresham is the Sooners’ standout tight end and OU offensive lineman Stephen Good is from Paris, Texas (Paris HS). Gresham tied a Sooner single-Red River Rivalry-game record last year by catching 2 touchdowns against Texas.

There have been other former Texoma high school standouts to go on to glory on the gridiron in the Red River Rivalry. Here’s the list:

Texas Longhorns:

Phil Brown, RB (Commerce HS), late 1980s
John Elmore, OL (Sherman HS), early 1990s
Jason Burleson, TE (Sherman HS), early 1990s
Chris Robertson, RB (Denison HS), late 1990s

Oklahoma Sooners:

Ateleo Ford, WR (Ardmore HS), late 1990s-early 2000s
James Allen, RB (Wynnewood HS), mid-1990s
Dan Cody, DL (Ada HS), early 2000s

(If there is a local player we’ve left out, please leave it in the comments below!)

While it might be all fun and games to Sooners and Longhorns, the annual event means big bucks for the city of Dallas, after a $57 million renovation to the Cotton Bowl, which increased its seating capacity from approximately 76,000 to more than 92,000 in 2008. A recent study estimates that the Red River Rivalry will generate $34 million to the Dallas economy.

Speaking of money, it’s time to put your money where your mouth is, as they say. Here’s this year’s wager between Sooner girl First News AM anchor Lisanne Anderson and UT fan Chef Cathy Zeis from First News AM:

We’ve been asking you all week in our webpoll on our sports page who you think will win. Here are the results:

Who will win this week's Red River Rivalry in Dallas?

Oklahoma Sooners - 46.9%
Texas Longhorns - 53.1%

And here are the fearless predictions of KXII staffers:

•Josh Stevenson says Texas with the upset, 38-35

•Charlie Haldeman, Texas A&M ’00 – Texas 35, Oklahoma 42

•Daniel Gotera, Northwestern University, Class of '06 - Oklahoma 38, Texas 24***Bonus Prediction: #19 Michigan State 24, #22 Northwestern 35***

•David Reed (Baylor graduate) - Oklahoma 38, Texas 27...also Baylor 24, Iowa St. 20

•Todd Bates “Sooner Fan” - Oklahoma 35, Texas 21

•Holly Taylor, Univ. of OKLAHOMA, Sooner Gal - Oklahoma 35, Texas 14

•Bryan Norman, The Denison Yellow Jackets could beat either team! - Texas 35, Oklahoma 31

•Debbie Thomas, die-hard TEXAS fan! - Texas 31, Oklahoma 17

•Matt Griffin, Univ. of Texas, Class of '04 - Texas 28, Oklahoma 24

Have a great weekend, and enjoy the game.

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