DALLAS — Vengeance is mine, saith the Lord, and it’s a darned good thing he does. Else, whose would it be Saturday in the Cotton Bowl?
Sooners want to repay Longhorns. Longhorns want to repay Sooners. Heck, if you didn’t know any better about this double revenge game, you’d think ties were back in college football. "I’m sure they’re a little bit bitter,” Sam Bradford said of the ‘Horns, "but if they’re bitter, we’re bitter, because they beat us.” Strange but true. In 2008, OU lost to Texas but won. Texas beat the Sooners but lost. Oklahoma beat out the Longhorns for the Big 12 South Division title. The infamous three-way tiebreak broke OU’s way, resulting in an array of wild emotions and antics. And now, on college football’s 38th parallel, the green grass of the Cotton Bowl, the ancient rivals meet again. "Could be weird,” said OU passcatcher Brandon Caleb. "But that all goes to the side when the game starts.” Maybe to the sidelines. Not into the crowd. Not into the half crimson, half burnt orange stands where this holy war is staged every October. Sooners are outraged that Texas has won three of four in the series, including a 45-35 barnburner in 2008. Longhorns are outraged that OU got to play in the BCS title game and didn’t so much as apologize for it. There hasn’t been this kind of sniping in the series since the infamous tie of 1984 or even the bad blood between Darrell Royal and Barry Switzer in 1976. All of this talk is for folks who don’t wear shoulder pads. Media and fans, we love this stuff. Maybe the players do, too, I don’t know, but they can’t afford to dwell on it, lest they get dump-trucked in the first 15 seconds of the game.
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BAD BLOODThe 2008 season, in which Texas beat OU but the Sooners won a three-way tiebreaker to represent the South Division in the Big 12 title game, prompted bad blood to rival two other bitter OU-Texas events: →1984: Ranked No. 1 and 2, the teams tied 15-15, but only after Texas kicked a field goal on the last play of the game following a Keith Stanberry interception that was mistakenly ruled incomplete in the end zone. You can still hear the anger in Barry Switzer’s voice when he talks about it a quarter century later. →1976: UT coach Darrell Royal accused (accurately) OU of spying on a Longhorn practice. Switzer and Royal then exchanged insults. Switzer said Royal would rather spend time around "guitar-pickers” than work hard. Royal called Switzer and assistant Larry Lacewell "sorry bastards.” The tension-filled game ended in a 6-6 tie. BY BERRY TRAMEL