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Berry Tramel: Why OU and Texas are joined at the hip

The facts show that the Sooners and Longhorns have been successful together as a result of being in the same conference. Splitting up Oklahoma and Texas would have been bad for both sides.
by Berry Tramel Modified: June 26, 2010 at 6:38 pm •  Published: June 26, 2010

In the olden days, OU and UT could fall behind and still have conference supremacy to chase. Not so now. Red River bragging rights usually brings the Big 12 trophy.

The ancient foes challenge each other, and both have answered the challenge. Texas is good for Oklahoma, and Oklahoma is good for Texas.

It doesn't mean they like each other. Doesn't mean Sooners can stomach Longhorn arrogance (although OU hides its exasperation much better than do the Texas Aggies). Doesn't mean the Longhorns have changed their impression that Sooners are trailer trash.

They don't love each other. But they've learned to live together.

Sure, it's frustrating to Okies that Texies drove the realignment stagecoach. But television sets are a fact of collegiate life.

It's no commentary on either program that Texas gets the first call from conference headhunters. It's a population issue. Texas' 2009 estimate: 24.8 million; Oklahoma's 2009 estimate: 3.7 million.

That's why every conference thirsts for Texas. It's not the Show Band of the Southwest. Not Mack Brown's charm. Not Austin's music scene. It's no more complicated than Texas television sets.

You could justifiably argue that Texas could have drawn the Sooners into Pac-16 talks earlier than the 11th hour (had the 'Horns been so considerate of Texas A&M, the deal would have been consummated).

But Texas also showed respect the Sooners' way. No chance was UT going anywhere without Oklahoma. The 'Horns wanted a Southwest constituency, and while yes, that's 100 percent self-serving, none of this is about brotherhood. It's all business, and an Oklahoma/Texas collection of schools sticking together — be it Big 12, Pac-16 or SEC — makes sense for both Sooners and Longhorns.

It's an alliance, really. Like the U.S. and Russia in World War II. Football makes strange bedfellows.

So yes, the Sooners could have revolted. Could have rejected Texas' original Pac-16 plan or even hightailed it out West without the Longhorns. But that would have cutting off your chinstrap to spite your facemask.

Where would Oklahoma find a rival to match Texas? A&M? Please. Arkansas? You've got to be kidding. Where would Texas find a rival to match the Sooners, who can't be pushed around the gridiron the way any replacement would be?

These peanut butter cup rivals are two great programs that go great together. Partners in many ways.

Berry Tramel: 405-760-8080; Berry Tramel can be heard Monday through Friday from 4:40-5:20 p.m. on The Sports Animal radio network, including AM-640 and FM-98.1.

by Berry Tramel
Berry Tramel, a lifelong Oklahoman, sports fan and newspaper reader, joined The Oklahoman in 1991 and has served as beat writer, assistant sports editor, sports editor and columnist. Tramel grew up reading four daily newspapers — The Oklahoman,...
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