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Fuel for the rivalry: Tiebreaker feud has made OU-Texas game even more bitter

BY DAVID UBBEN, Staff Writer, dubben@opubco.com Published: October 16, 2009
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NORMAN — Saturday’s edition of the Red River Rivalry could be among the most contentious in the 109-year history between the two teams.

Although the preseason hype leading into what was supposed to be a matchup between two top 5 teams led by two Heisman candidate quarterbacks has lessened by a pair of Oklahoma losses and an injured Sam Bradford shoulder, last season’s fallout will still be fresh in fans’ minds.

Oklahoma and Texas tied for the Big 12 South title in 2008, both finishing 7-1 in conference.

But so did Texas Tech.

Texas beat Oklahoma 45-35 in 2008’s Red River Rivalry game, but since the Red Raiders made it a three-way tie, the head-to-head result was irrelevant (to computers, anyway).

The three-way tiebreaker was the computerized BCS rankings, where, in the final week of the regular season, the Sooners leapfrogged the Longhorns into the Big 12 title game, and with a win, the national title game.

"It’s a huge game,” said coach Bob Stoops. "This is our 11th season, but in the 10 we’ve already completed, it’s been one of us in the Big 12 Championship game.”

Although Stoops downplayed the role of last year’s results in this year’s game, the recent off-the-field history between the two teams has ratcheted up the on-field rivalry.

Here’s a look at what has happened off the field over the past year to fuel the Red River Rivalry fire.

The asterisk: April 2009
Official records show Oklahoma won the 2008 Big 12 Championship after beating Missouri 62-21. Someone on Texas’ staff must have missed the memo. The year 2008 was at the end of a list of the Longhorns’ Big 12 titles on a wall of the team’s practice facility.

Next to an asterisk, of course.

A day after reporters wrote about the claimed title in April, it came down.

Texas coach Mack Brown said he had no knowledge of the new wall decoration and didn’t approve of it.


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