Megan McKibben watched the Red River Rivalry last year from the Oklahoma half of the Cotton Bowl.
She laughed much of the day.
What more was a Texas fan to do during another beatdown?
“It was borderline comical,” she said, sounding anything but amused.
A Longhorn fan who was then living in Oklahoma City, the tickets that McKibben was able to buy were from Sooner fans. So, she and her husband got some friendly heckling before the game from Sooner fans around them. But as the afternoon wore on, the barbs died down.
The McKibbens' melancholy was obvious.
“Getting blown out is a miserable feeling,” Megan said.
Mack Brown knows it. The past two years, his Horns have been blasted by the Sooners. Beat by 38 points two years ago and 42 points a year ago. Historic margins of defeat.
Those routs aren't the reason that Mack isn't expected to be coaching at Texas beyond this season, but they are big, ugly black marks against him.
“It is the icing on the cake,” Texas fan Kevin Kloesel said. “It sort of tops a whole lot of other things that have gone on over the last several years.”
Kloesel has been a Longhorn fan all his life. He is an Austin native who now lives in Norman where he teaches in OU's College of Atmospheric and Geographic Sciences and oversees outreach programs and tours at the National Weather Center.
He hates what has happened to Texas football. Coaches being bashed? Players being booed?
It tears at his heart.
His brother Scott was a running back at Rice in the early 80s. The Owls only won a couple games during his entire career, and it created a revolving door of coaches.
Having seen how that affected his brother, Kloesel understands how hard all of this is on the Texas players right now, so he hates to be critical. But he sees no way Mack will keep his job.
The program is financed as well as any in the country, but the results these past few seasons haven't shown that. The Horns have been non-factors in the Big 12 race, much less the national championship hunt. They have lost at home. They have slipped in prominence.
The Red River routs remind fans of just how far the Horns have slid.
And these games against OU have only risen in importance for Texas. Used to be, Texas A&M was every bit the rival that OU was for the Longhorns, probably even more.
Jackson Rushing, another Austin native and Texas fan who lives in Norman, remembers the Aggies being the team that he hated losing to most.
Eating rocks was preferable to that.
“That was the game that we couldn't bear to lose,” said Rushing, an art history professor at OU. “And it's sort of shifted in the last several years where the big game for us really is OU.
“This is kind of a new normal.”
With Texas A&M's move to the SEC, the OU game holds more significance than ever to Texas fans. Lose to the Sooners, and there's no game against the Aggies to potentially win and make you feel better about your team.
Get blown out by the Sooners? Well, it feels worse than ever.
It is another knock against Mack.
Even though McKibben endured the indignity of last year's rout while sitting in the OU half of the stadium, she hates that this is likely Mack's last Red River Rivalry as the Texas head coach.
“I have a soft spot for Mack,” she said, explaining that the Horns were in their heyday when she was an undergrad at Texas.
“I want the best for Mack, but I think this will probably be the end.”
Win on Saturday, and McKibben is sure that some of the Mack-must-go talk will subside. But after what she's seen from the Longhorns so far this season, she's worried that this year's game might be a repeat of last year's.
She'll watch this one from home.
Jenni Carlson: Jenni can be reached at (405) 475-4125. Like her at facebook.com/JenniCarlsonOK, follow her at twitter.com/jennicarlson_ok or view her personality page at newsok.com/jennicarlson.