Oklahoma football: Red River rivalry begins a new chapter in 2017

DALLAS, TX - OCTOBER 08: Bobby Evans
DALLAS, TX - OCTOBER 08: Bobby Evans /

Oklahoma football has been taking on opponents for 122 years. The Texas Longhorns have been on the Sooners’ schedule for 111 of those varsity seasons.

Texas has won 61 of the 111 Red River games, the Sooners 45 and there have been five ties.

For the past 18 seasons, either Bob Stoops, Mack Brown, or both, have patrolled the sidelines before a bipartisan capacity crowd at the historic Cotton Bowl in Dallas. That will not be the case when the two teams assemble on an October weekend in the fall for the annual OU-Texas weekend and the 112th edition of what now is called the Red River Showdown.

Stoops coached the Sooners in more rivalry games with the hated Longhorns than any coach in OU gridiron history. In 18 seasons, Stoops won 11 Red River games, the most by any Sooner head coach over the Longhorns. His overall record in the Red River Showdown was 11-7.

For the record, Bennie Owen (1905-1923) and Bud Wilkinson both coached in 16 games in this rivalry series. Owen broke even with an 8-8 record; Wilkinson fared a little better, winning 9 of 16.

Barry Switzer (1973-1988) also coached in 16 OU-Texas brouhahas. Switzer went 9-5 with two games ending in a tie.

Oklahoma Sooners Football
Oklahoma Sooners Football /

Oklahoma Sooners Football

Against Mack Brown, who coached at Texas for 15 seasons (1998-2012), Stoops was 9-6, which was a prime reason contributing to Brown’s dismissal as Longhorn head coach. The Sooners won five consecutive times in this longtime rivalry series from 2000 to 2004, twice winning by more than 49 points.

When the two teams meet in the 2017 Red River Showdown, it will mark the first time in 70 years that there will be a new head coach on both sidelines. It will be the first OU-Texas game as a head coach for both Tom Herman of the Longhorns and Oklahoma’s Lincoln Riley.

The last time both schools entered this annual rivalry game with a new head coach was in 1947, Wilkinson’s first season at Oklahoma.

It is safe to say that this annual football rivalry hasn’t really been the same since Brown has been gone, and it had even begun to lose some of its luster in the last couple of seasons that both Brown and Stoops were battling it out. In the early years of the Stoops-Brown coaching rivalry, the Red River Rivalry, as it was once called, the game seemed to be as much about Stoops vs. Brown as it was about OU-Texas.

The competition between Riley and new Texas head man Herman has already begun. Texas has flipped a four-star quarterback recruit (Cameron Rising) that had originally committed to the Sooners, and in the past couple of week, Riley has picked up commitments from two wide receivers and a tight end, all from Texas.

With new coaching eras beginning at both Oklahoma and Texas, it also opens a new chapter in one of college football’s oldest and most heralded rivalries. Mark your calendar now for Oct. 14.