More Than 100 Years of Rivalry

The rivalry between the Longhorns and the Sooners started before Oklahoma was even an official state. In 1900, Oklahoma was a “territory” and neither school had a mascot. UT’s team was simply called Varsity. The first UT victory was a lopsided 28-2.

The Oklahoma men played a very good game, but they had weak points and the Varsity men found this out, and proceeded to take advantage of them. – Austin-American Statesman

1915-1916 Season, Texas/OU Game
1915-1916 Season, Texas/OU Game. Texas won 21-7 in 1916!

In the late 1970s, the rivalry between schools was overshadowed by the intense rivalry between Barry Switzer and Darrell K. Royal. Switzer had become OU’s head coach in the 1973 season. That rivalry came to a head in 1976, when both coaches said the other had spied on practices (way before Spygate, though actually closer to Watergate). That 1976 game was also attended by U.S. President Gerald Ford. Ford made an appearance with Royal and Switzer before the game. Switzer and Royal both spoke to Ford, but not to each other. The game ended in a 6–6 tie. It was Royal’s final Red River Shootout.

Mack Brown’s very first Texas / OU game was as offensive coordinator – with OU! In 1984, Texas entered the game ranked #1, Oklahoma #3 (#2 in some polls). It had rained all morning. The field was so wet, members of the Texas Longhorn Band used it like a giant Slip-and-Slide. From wild weather to wild endings, that game was one for the ages. With 10 seconds remaining, trailing by 3, Texas was driving, and was within field goal range, but decided to take one more shot at the end zone. The ball was intercepted in the end zone, but ruled as an incompletion by officials. Texas kicked the field goal with the final seconds, leading to a 15-15 tie. The Texas quarterback that year was none other than Todd Dodge, current coach of Westlake High School, former coach of Southlake Carroll and the University of North Texas football.

  • The game has changed names several times over its history, starting with the Red River Shootout, then the impossible to say Red River Rivalry, to its current title the AT&T Red River Showdown (as of 2014).
  • The Texas BBA program was founded in 1916, one year before OU’s business college was established – so UT has been beating OU on and off the field for over 100 years!
  • The Texas BBA program is older than the Golden Hat Trophy, the Hook ’em Horns hand sign, Big Tex, and Big Bertha.

One thought on “More Than 100 Years of Rivalry

  1. Did you know? UT’s football squad – along with most everything else on campus, was called “Varsity” because it was a nationally used informal contraction of the word “university.” Think of it as university -> ‘versity -> ‘varsity. Look through the old UT yearbooks and newspapers and you’ll find lots of references to the ‘Varsity Band, ‘Varsity Library, ‘Varsity tennis Club, and so on. At the time in Texas, a student attending ‘Varsity was understood as being enrolled at the University in Austin, while someone going to the “College” was a student at the A&M College of Texas – you know, that other school. 😉

    Sometime in the late 1920s or 1930s, the term “varsity” evolved to designate the A sports team at a high school.

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