Jackson Rushing was born and raised in Austin. Grew up a Longhorn fan. Went to the University of Texas. Earned not one but three degrees from the school.
Safe to say he's hooked on the Horns.
Thing is, he sees both sides of the Red River Rivalry. Sees it every day. Sees it up close, actually.
Rushing is an art history professor at Oklahoma.
“It's different, I can tell you that,” he said of being a Texas fan living in Norman and working at OU.
But has the rivalry become even more different for Longhorn fans this year?
For the first time in more than a century, Texas is a one-rivalry team. Gone is Texas A&M. Gone is College Station from the Big 12 map. Gone is that traditional Thanksgiving showdown between the Longhorns and the Aggies.
Texas and Texas A&M first played in 1894, and in a football-mad state, their rivalry became the granddad of them all. But now, it's anyone's guess when they might meet again on the gridiron.
“With the absence of the Aggies,” Longhorn quarterback David Ash said earlier this week, “I guess (OU) is our only rivalry that we have right now.”
So, does that mean Texas fans are going to direct all of their vitriol toward OU? Does that mean this Red River Rivalry is about to get even more intense?
“I think it is already maxed out in terms of intensity,” Rushing said.
Maybe he's right.
This rivalry has long been heated. OU-Texas has been so good through the years that it survived no matter what league the teams called home. They competed when they were in the same conference (Southwest, 1915-19), when they were in different conferences (1920-95), then again when they were in the same conference (Big 12, 1996-present).
But since the turn of the century, this rivalry has been in its heyday. And that's been because of the programs' success. During the decade of the 2000s, there were five instances where the OU-Texas winner eventually played in the national championship game.
The importance of the game in the national championship chase has fanned the rivalry's fire.
Meanwhile, the Texas-Texas A&M rivalry cooled a bit.