NORMAN — Many are the reasons victory over Texas is sweet for all Sooners. Players, coaches, fans, shopkeepers, tax collectors, doesn't matter.
Championship implications. Disgusted by low-energy cows. State pride. Revolted by burnt orange. A more joyous walk through the State Fair midway.
To that list, add another. Bob Stoops' peace of mind.
Losing the OU-Texas game is not conducive to a coach's mental health. Or for some, his job security, though Stoops and Mack Brown aren't in that club.
Stoops and Brown are made men, having restored tradition-rich programs to splendor. In zero danger of being asked to leave.
Any hot seat they're on is self-warmed.
But warm it still gets. Brown lost five straight to the Sooners, 2000-04, and a cloud hung over Texas football. Now Stoops has lost four of five to the Longhorns, and questions creep about OU's ability to regain the reins of this streaky series.
The ancient foes meet Saturday in the ancient Cotton Bowl, and even before UCLA jack-hammered the Longhorns three days ago, word out of Austin was that you'd better get the 'Horns this season. With all its young talent, Texas is primed for dominance in the future.
Of course, the same could be said for the bruised but unbowed Sooners, who seem to be adding freshmen studs to the rotation on a weekly basis.
But either way, this OU-Texas game stands as pivotal for more than just a championship test for the Sooners and self-preservation for the 'Horns.
This game either ends or extends what is fast becoming a historic Texas slump for Stoops.
Lose this game, and Stoops goes to 1-5 in his last six Bevo bashes.
Here are the OU coaches who have had such a drought against Texas: Gary Gibbs 1-5 (1989-94), Bud Wilkinson 0-6 (1958-63) and Snorter Luster 0-5 (1941-45).
Gibbs and Luster were fired; Wilkinson resigned his throne.
This rivalry can zap coaches on the Texas side, too. Ed Price, too, went 1-5 (1951-56) and didn't get the chance to go 1-6.
After dominating Wilkinson, Darrell Royal got dominated by Barry Switzer, losing five straight, then settled for a 6-6 tie and retired.