DALLAS — Mack Brown looked disheveled. Looked exasperated. Looked like a guy who had run out of gas three hours ago and had to walk 10 desert miles to the nearest filling station.
Texas' football coach walked into the Cotton Bowl interview room Saturday and had no answer for why the Sooners routinely dominate his Longhorns in historic fashion.
And finally on another amazing Saturday at the Texas State Fair, Mack was all square with Bob Stoops. Big Tex Bob didn't have an answer, either.
OU routed Texas 63-21 in a game that was not as close as the score indicated. The Longhorns had seven drives of three-plays-and-punt. The Sooners had seven touchdown drives of longer than 55 yards.
And now Stoops has beaten Mack four times by at least 38 points in a series that once considered 21-14 a blowout. What in the name of Fred Akers is going on?
“I don't know how to answer that,” Stoops said. “Fortunately, we've been able to play well. It isn't just one side or the other.”
True enough. Robust offense. Suffocating defense. Big plays in the kicking game. In a series that historically is a dogfight, the Sooners have produced victories of 63-14, 65-13, 55-17 and 63-21, the latter two this year and last.
And it's not like they're beating the dregs of Texas. The Longhorns came into those four games nationally ranked 11th, 11th, 11th and 15th.
OU has beaten Texas by at least 38 points four times in the 2000s. That's the same number of times in the 2000s they've beaten by 38 points Kansas, Kansas State, Missouri, Nebraska and Iowa State. Combined, over 34 meetings.
OU has beaten Texas by at least 38 points more times than the Sooners have beaten Baylor by at least 38 points (three) in the 2000s. Or Texas Tech (three). Or Texas A&M (three).
This calls for simplicity. The Cotton Bowl setting creates a unique college football experience. The split crowd. The state fair. The hype. The revelry.
And the Sooners thrive in it.
“One of those things that comes with this game, comes with this venue,” said OU center Gabe Ikard. “The energy is so high here. It gets personal real quick. It's a physical battle.”
That's Mack's great failure. His teams have not approached the magic level that Stoops' teams have approached in Dallas.
It's not that Texas never wins. The Longhorns won in 2005, 2006, 2008 and 2009. But the Sooners have been blown out just once, in '05, when they were outmanned. The only time Texas truly was outmanned, 2010, the Longhorns made a good game of it, losing 28-20.
But on a regular basis, Texas wilts in the Cotton Bowl. What's that old Mike Tyson line? “Everybody has a plan until they get punched in the face.” OU gets up quick, punches the ‘Horns in the face, and they don't respond.
This much is indisputable. The Sooners come to the Cotton Bowl ready to play.
“You can't describe it,” said OU cornerback Aaron Colvin. “You don't really have to tell … when it's OU-Texas week. Everyone is already riled up. Everyone is ready to go out there and ball out. The guys in the locker room, energy was very high. We almost had to calm down somewhat before the game.”
So now Big Tex Bob is 9-5 in the series, which produces OU's best winning percentage (. 643) against Texas. Barry Switzer (9-5-2) had a .625 winning percentage. Bud Wilkinson (9-8) had a .529 winning percentage.
Wilkinson beat Texas by at least 30 only once. Switzer did it three times. Stoops has done it four times and counting.
And Mack Brown is left to wonder how he's getting back to that car that ran out of gas 10 miles away.
Berry Tramel: Berry can be reached at (405) 760-8080 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. He can be heard Monday through Friday from 4:40-5:20 p.m. on The Sports Animal radio network, including FM-98.1. You can also view his personality page at newsok.com/berrytramel.