Here at the Tailgate Society we make the rules and we decided that our RV is part time machine, so we are going to skip ahead to week seven before returning to week six at some point. Why you may ask, because we can.
Good day friends and football fanatics and welcome to TGS ULTIMATE TAILGATE ROADTRIP! Thank you for joining us on the fifth stop in a recurring series of articles brought to you various writers and perspectives here at The Tailgate Society that will be covering a different marquee game each week of the college football season (as well as bowl games & playoffs). One rule we will stick to in these pieces is that the games must take place in a state that a current TGS Member lives in. Here at the Tailgate Society, we love all things football: the pageantry, the rivalries, the controversies, the Cinderella stories and of course – the upsets.
As most of you are, or should be aware, we are just 15 short days shy of the greatest time of year that the good lord has given us – College Football Season – so what better way to celebrate than taking a hypothetical roadtrip to visit some of the coolest Stadiums and games in our backyards!?! Seeing as we’re now officially broadcasting/typing out of 15 football friendly states, we’ll be going on a journey to various locations to show you what games we’ll be attending (or at least Tailgating for).
Week 7 – The Red River Showdown
The Red River Showdown is one of the most iconic rivalries in all of college football, annually pitting the school who actually controls the Big 12 against the school who thinks they control the Big 12. Formerly known as the Red River Shootout until 2005 when it was modified to ‘Showdown’ (because guns), the game has been played every season since 1900. Texas leads the all time series 61-45-5, though OU has held the upper hand in recent years – winning 11 of the past 17. Both squads have entered the matchup ranked in 28 different instances since 1970 (the most recent in 2012), with both ranked in the top ten 15 times during the same time frame (the last occurring in 2008). That 2008 clash was one of the most memorable RRS matchups in the last two decades, featuring Sam Bradford spearheading OU’s historically potent offense (on a seemingly immaculate path to the national title) and the legendary Longhorn duo of Colt McCoy and Jordan Shipley. Texas pulled off the upset 45-35, proving that the Sooners could be halted after all.
The RRS has featured seven different hall of fame coaches through the years, most notably Barry Switzer (OU, 1973-88) and Darrell Royal (who – rather amusingly – played for the Sooners from 1946-49, then coached the Longhorns from 1957-76 and subsequently had the stadium named after him). So it’s interesting that the 2017 installment will feature new head coaches on both sidelines in Lincoln Riley and Tom Herman. Riley was brought onto Bob Stoops’ staff from East Carolina in 2015 after the Sooners struggled offensively the year before. His offenses have been, uh, pretty damn dynamic to say the least (finishing 7th and 2nd nationally in total offense the last two years) and played a large part in his promotion to HC. Herman (previously known mostly as an elite recruiter) exploded onto the scene at Houston with a Peach bowl thrashing of #9 Florida State in 2015 and then, ironically enough, toppled the #3 Sooners to kickstart 2016. He’d all but locked up the job in Austin by the year’s midpoint. I think we could very well be in for some scintillating action from these two for the foreseeable future.
Baker Mayfield is the man to keep an eye on for OU, with most of his 2016 running mates (Samaje Perine, Joe Mixon, and Dede Westbrook) headed to the NFL. He was a freewheelin’ dynamo last season, throwing for nearly 4000 yards and 40 TDs and scrambling for six more on the ground. For UT, Shane Buechele returns under center with a bevy of weapons on the outside. RB D’Onta Foreman is gone, but Chris Warren should pick up the slack in the backfield. I’m most interested to see the Longhorns’ defense under new coordinator Todd Orlando, whom Herman brought with him from UH after helming quietly productive defenses the last couple of years. They’ve got a number of young, capable pieces that could mesh into a pretty intimidating unit.
The Cotton Bowl remains one of the most historic venues in college football, opening in 1930 at the site of the State Fair of Texas. It was originally the home of the Cotton Bowl classic until it was moved to Cowboys stadium in Arlington in 2010. It’s housed multiple football teams from different levels through the years (the Dallas Cowboys and SMU Mustangs, among others) as well as a couple of soccer organizations. It’s been host to the RRS since opening, and was chosen primarily because it sits approximately halfway between Austin and Norman. It held a seating capacity of only a little over 68,000 until 2006 when renovations began in order to retain the RRS. It now sports a capacity of over 92,000 and notched a record 96,009 during the 2011 RRS.
Trophy – Golden Hat
Not much else to be said for something this awesome.
Stuff to do
The main side attraction is, of course, the State Fair of Texas. All kinds of Texas-y stuff to do here, but the most fascinating allure is all of the zany food. The following can seriously be found on 2017’s menu:
Deep fried fruit loops (nice)
Oreo Beer (okay)
Deep fried chicken noodle soup on a stick (what)
Crawfish lollipop (hold up)
Ramen grasshopper cookie (let me off this ride)
Fat smooth (STOP)
Hmm. Yep. Alrighty then. Moving on…
I think the Sooners ultimately take a wild one, 34-27 – mostly because I don’t know how the Longhorns will be able to contain Mayfield. He’s just too good and has a great shot to head back to New York for the Heisman ceremony in December.
Arkansas @ Alabama
Ohio State @ Nebraska
Auburn @ LSU
Utah @ USC
TCU @ KSU
Not the most exciting slate.
If there’s a bucket list of college football destinations, the RRS has to be toward the top of the list. Every diehard CFB fan needs to experience this at some point.