Why Texas-OU is the biggest game in the State and biggest party in the City

Why is Texas-OU such a big thing in Dallas, – co-worker from Kansas


Because it’s about America, and football, and Texas and Liberty…wait let me start over.

First you got to understand that the football game and the celebration of the football game are different, but are intertwined so much that they’re almost the same.  And both are big, big deals in Texas, Oklahoma, and Dallas.  Hundreds of thousands people come to town for the game, which includes two teams that have played for half of the national championships in the past 12 years.  20 million in revenue is generated because of the weekend, during which more beer in Dallas is consumed then any other weekend.  So let me explain why it’s so big.

The game, well it’s an old tradition, like really old.  The first game happened before Oklahoma was a state, the Longhorns weren’t even called the Longhorns, they were called the Varsity.  Oklahoma looked like this when they started playing.


Throughout the history of the game, both teams have been consistently good, sometimes scary good.  Since World War II at least one of the two teams have been ranked in the top 25 an astounding 65 out 67 times, and in the top ten 48 times.  The two teams have combined to win a national champion once every seven years.  And though Oklahoma’s been arguably more successful nationally, Texas leads the series 59-43.


Their success has led them to becoming the top programs in their respective states.  Sorry A&M, two years of Johnny Football doesn’t make up for a century of playin second fiddle in the state, (though I should note that they’d be a strong first fiddle in 40 of the other 49 states in the union).

Man too stupid to use hat

Sorry Aggies

As marquee the most successful programs in the area, they’ve naturally become each other’s biggest rivals.  Again, some in Aggie land will remark its A&M that’s Texas’s biggest rival, but I’ll let hall of fame coach Darrell Royal answer that question.

“That game – the rivalry game for us has always been Oklahoma. The A&M game’s been a great game and all of that. And we may play ’em. But it’s not something that we have to do. I think the Oklahoma game is something we have to do.”


Here’s the coach Royal getting what I’m sure is a “Three Legged Race Award Plaque”

In case you didn’t catch what he’s saying, it’s that, for seventy years, Texas didn’t have to play Oklahoma but they wanted.  They had to play A&M for decades for conference reasons.  Once the two teams didn’t have to play each other last year, they stopped.

For Oklahoma, their best in state rival is the Bedlam game against Ok State.  Which Oklahoma has won 80% of and once went on a 43-3 streak.  So yeah, not really a fair matchup.  Nebraska might have been a good example, but much like the Texas-Texas A&M game, once the two teams stopped having to play each other for conference reasons in 1996, they stopped playing each other regularly.

But what makes this game even more meaningful, what turns it from a big rivalry game into an cultural event, a day circled on thousands of calendars, is the unique venue, the surroundings, the atmosphere, in short the party, the celebration that surrounds the games.

utexas_480_271_c1_c_t_0_0What comes before Part B…

So let’s talk about that party.  Why is it so big.  Well first, as I’ve said, the game’s a big deal, but it’s also at a neutral site.  Which means for the college kids it combines both aspects of a drunken tailgating home game, and s-faced road tripping away games.    As crazy as the kids from Norman and Austin are nowadays they used to be worst.  Columnist A.C. Green used to say that in the 70’s, you couldn’t walk across the intersection of Commerce and Akrad (where the two largest hotels in Dallas were) because there was six inches of glass in the streets from all the beer bottles and broken windows.  It was all in good fun, I mean there were arrests but usually only for drunk and disorderly or criminal mischief for throwing a flaming mattress out a hotel window.  Another writer put it like this “…the Friday night before the annual Texas-OU game is a night that Dallas must brace for all year long.”

7335540_87They are completely sober….really.

But it’s not just the kids from UT or OU that make it a crazy party.  It’s their friends too.  Every 17-25 year old that doesn’t attend OU or Texas has a friend or cousin or significant other that did.  So they come out and party too.


An OU girl, her friend, a Texas girl, and her two cousins.  All are welcome

Their 41 year old uncle that attended UT law school parties too.  There’s a famous story, like a hallmark story in sports journalism, that encompasses the game and the weekend.    Written by Dan Jenkins for Sports Illustrated, Jenkins wrote of a party he and two forty something bankers (and Texas alumni) attended that included “…Texas fans, Oklahoma fans, Dallas Cowboy fans, Dallas Cowboys, bartenders, musicians, entertainers from the city’s private clubs” (Jenkins code for strippers). And If you trace just the amount of alcohol that Jenkins mentioned in his story that these two guys drank, it’d make the Mad Men cringe.


What all this party us partying?


Oh yeah, okay carry on

In fact it was the result of another alumni, David Harold Byrd, that locals in Dallas used to know that the party had started.  Byrd was a big booster of the university, the football team and in particular the band.  So whenever the band arrived in Dallas the Friday before the game, it would march through the streets of downtown, on a Friday afternoon, to Byrd’s office on Ross Ave for an impromptu show.  Once you heard the sound of the band in downtown, you stopped working and starting drinking.  Byrd would help the town out with this whole heavy drinking by throwing an open party at his home with 50 cases of liquor.  That’s right I said 50 cases and I said liquor, 500 bottles of hard booze.

liquor-gallery2Bascially he had a liqour store at his house

At his party he served beef, pork, deer, elk, buffalo, zebra, camel, and more.  He also has a mountain range in Antarctica named after him.


Do you have a mountain range named after you?  No, then you can’t come to my 500 liquor bottle party.  J/K here have a zebra burger.

So you take all that, the importance of the game, it’s history, the throngs of drunk college kids, their friends and the alumni and put it in a city that knows a little about partying, at an event like the Fair, which knows in particular how to party and entertain people. ..And you get a wild crazy party like atmosphere around a huge game.


If you can’t decide who to root for, go for both, and then get really really drunk.

The party’s died down a little in recent years particularly when one team has a few down years in a row, And the St. Patty’s Day Parade is slowing challenging Texas-OU for the city’s biggest annual party, but Texas-OU is still king among the annual partying event in Dallas

One thought on “Why Texas-OU is the biggest game in the State and biggest party in the City

  1. Pingback: DIBTA: 20 reasons why Dallas Is Better Than Austin | The Dallas Whisperer

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