Truth is, for such a storied piece of real estate, Owen Field hasn't hosted many showdowns. Only 18 times has OU hosted a game matching top-10 teams, and 14 of those were conference affairs. Often Nebraska, with an occasional Texas Tech, Missouri and OSU tossed in.
Only four times has OU hosted a nonconference game when both teams were ranked in the AP top 10:
1986: No. 1 OU beat No. 4 UCLA 38-3.
1983: No. 6 Ohio State beat No. 2 OU 24-14.
1966: No. 1 Notre Dame at No. 10 OU 38-0.
1953: No. 1 Notre Dame beat No. 6 OU 28-21.
That's it. That's what makes Saturday night so special. The spectacle of college football's biggest name coming to Norman. The history of the series, which so haunts the Sooners. Plus the fact that this is a virtual Big Bowl elimination game.
There was no such animal when Bud Wilkinson and Frank Leahy and Ara Parseghian strolled the sidelines in OU-Notre Dame games past. When Billy Vessels and Johnny Lattner, Paul Hornung and Tommy McDonald, Clendon Thomas and Dick Lynch, competed in games that never will be forgotten.
But the concept was the same. A game that could make or break a season. A game that will live forever, win or lose. Particularly if you lose.
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.