DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Each year opponents who have faced off for more than 100 years leave their respective home fields and meet on neutral ground. Football teams from the University of Oklahoma and the University of Texas each “saddle up,” hop on Intersate-35 and meet halfway – in the Cotton Bowl at Dallas Fair Park.
While the Cotton Bowl has hosted historic games through the years, none are as “divided” as this, with fans separating the stadium, from 50-yard line to 50-yard line, with half crimson, half burnt orange.
The Red River Showdown happens just as the State Fair of Texas gets in full swing. Each year the faceoff seems to come with controversy and concern – for one team or the other – Saturday’s game will be no different.
Both the University of Oklahoma Sooners and the Texas Longhorns have a 2-2 record. The Sooners lost to Ohio State and Houston, teams ranked No. 2 and No. 6 respectively, while the Longhorns fell to the University of California and Oklahoma State.
The final score on the board at the Cotton Bowl has often defined careers, among student-athletes and coaches. Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield will return to Dallas for a second time, while this will be the first Red River faceoff for Texas quarterback Shane Buechele. Coach Bob Stoops has been leading the Sooners since 1999. While Coach Charlie Strong has only held the reigns at Texas for two years, with a record of 13–16, he did have a win over Oklahoma last year.
While Texas and Oklahoma will be meeting on the gridiron for the 111th time, the Longhorns have more wins in the century old series at 61. OU has walked away victorious 44 times. But in the last 10 years the teams have been split with five wins each.
The two storied programs don’t actually meet until Saturday, but the festivities in and around Dallas shave already begun, so expect increased traffic around the fairgrounds. To help with traffic across the city Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) has added additional light rail, bus and train routes with special connections to Fair Park.
“Ride DART and show up right at the State Fair and have complete access to the Fair as well as the Cotton Bowl. Now on Texas/OU we are going to have service provided as early as four hours before the game and we’ll have DART employees at key locations to help,” DART spokesman Mark Ball said.
For the city of Dallas the Showdown isn’t just about football, it’s about money. Dallas Convention and Visitors Bureau president Phillip Jones says the game has a huge impact on the North Texas economy. “It’s a great weekend for us… a great weekend for the hospitality industry. It’s our number one weekend of the year for hotel occupancy.”
Anyone actually making his or her way inside the Cotton Bowl, the game is also broadcast on a giant screen just outside the stadium, should know what is and isn’t allowed inside.
No large bags or backpacks are allowed inside the Cotton Bowl and purses can be no bigger than 10 inches. No weapons, regardless if one has a permit, are allowed. While you can’t bring in food or alcoholic beverages, there’s plenty available once you get inside. And while it’s not a problem to snap pictures with your phone – leave the selfie sticks at home.
While there is Dallas fun and the State Fair of Texas — Saturday is about football! The No. 20 Sooners face the unranked Longhorns at the Cotton Bowl Stadium on Saturday. Kickoff for the Red River Showdown is 11 a.m.
*Listen to Texas Longhorn football locally on 1080 KRLD
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