Golden Hat Or Bust: One Last Shot At BCS For Oklahoma

Logan RogersCorrespondent IOctober 9, 2009

DALLAS - OCTOBER 7:  Head coach Mack Brown of the Texas Longhorns lifts the 'Golden Hat', the traditional Red River Shootout trophy, after winning against the Oklahoma Sooners at the Cotton Bowl on October 7, 2006 in Dallas, Texas. The Longhorns won 28-10. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

     To the nation, the Red River Rivalry may have lost some of it's luster. To the Longhorns, they just want revenge for last years 'tie-break'. As for the Sooners, this game is life or death.

     As Bob and Mack gear up to downplay the fact that they can't stand eachother. Fans on either side have already started to talk the usual smack. Oklahoma fans still scoff at the memory of the high pitched whinning and furious politics employed by Coach Brown, and how it failed. As the Texas faithfull remember getting passed on for a title shot to the very team they beat, they start to prepare for the torchlight parade. And the beat goes on.  

     Apologies to Baylor and Colorado, this week's respective opponents for the two perrenial powers, but you are unofficially(officially) being over-looked.The Baylor Bears have zero wins against the Sooners, that won't change this year. The Buffs are struggling to find an identity, that won't change this week.

     Bradford and McCoy may be chummy off the field, they even shot a competition of various games (ping-pong, horse,to name a few) for ESPN to air before the game. Don't be fooled by t.v. smiles. These two would love nothing more than to beat the other.

     Though neither harbor any ill will, what they do both posses is a fierce competitive nature. They both understand the storied history of the best rivalry in all of collegiate sports, and how their story will play out should they lose this one.

     The score is even at one win a piece, and because this is the last meeting between the two as college play-callers, there will be no more chances to write another chapter. After Oct. 17th, the story between the two will have been written.  

     During last year's meeting.  In the waining moments of the third quarter, Oklahoma's defense seemed to start to get a handle on Colt and crew. Then, it happened again. Ryan Reynolds, the heart of the team, had yet another ACL injury.

     The Longhorns took full advantage, turning a five point deficit into a ten point victory. Without Reynolds on the field making in-game adjustments, the OU defense could not get the stops they needed to.

     Now Reynold's is healthy again. Some say he has lost a step. That he can't hold down that precious middle, which in Coach Venebles(OU's defensive coordinator) scheme, can be a weakness if linebacker play isn't up to snuff. Sooner fans had better hope it is, because Coach Davis(Texas' offensive coordinator) will look to capitalize on any weakness, and he has proven that if he finds one he will exploit it. Especially in the middle of the field.

     The war between OU and UT will have, and has always carried, many story lines. The history, like the hate, runs deep. Always has, always will. The stat crazed and the emotionally drunk will have plenty to bicker over. Women and children will stay home. The ROTC programs of each school will relay race a game ball to the Cotton Bowl. The media will pick the whole thing apart, piece by piece, until all the lights burn hot.

     Back in Norman, under soft light, sit's an emtpty case. Oklahoma wants to fill it, actually, they need to. Because this year, if those hated Longhorns carry that coveted trophy away again, they will take more than a gold hat resting on a block of wood. More than a tangible symbol of conquest. UT would walk away with any hope that OU can turn this season around.

     No bragging rights. No fourth straight Big-12 Championship, and no automatic bid to to a prized BCS bowl. Most importantly, no chance to prove that the Sooners can win the 'big' one. Like Coach Stoops always say's "You gotta be in it to win it".

     Lose on the 17th, and any reasonable outlook on being "in it", is gone.

     Win, and that familiar path to BCS glory will once again rest at the feet of the Oklahoma Sooners.

     This game may be important for UT, but as you see, for the Crimson and Cream, it's everything, and this everything starts by filling that empty case.