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What to know ahead of the Texas-Oklahoma Red River Rivalry game

A smiling football player in a white jersey with orange numbers wears a golden hat in front of another player and a crowd of fans in a stadium.
Cooper Neill
In this Oct. 6, 2018, file photo, Texas tight end Andrew Beck (47) wears the Golden Hat and celebrates with fans after defeating Oklahoma 48-45 in an NCAA college football game at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas. The teams meet in the annual Red River Rivalry game on Friday.

The historic Red River Rivalry between the Texas Longhorns and Oklahoma Sooners returns to Cotton Bowl Stadium Saturday with both teams undefeated for the first time since 2011.

The college football matchup — also known recently as the Red River Showdown — has been a State Fair of Texas tradition since 1929. The venue is neutral territory, with Dallas about the halfway point between the two schools' home stadiums in Austin and Norman, Oklahoma.

Nearly 100 years later, its become the fair's hottest ticket.

"It’s been a long time, and so everybody really holds this game in high regard,” said Karissa Condoianis, senior vice president for public relations at the State Fair of Texas. “This is a huge game for everybody that cheers for either school.”

Condoianis would know. She and her husband have their own “Red River Rivalry” at home — she’s a University of Oklahoma alumna, said her husband is an alumnus of the University of Texas at Austin.

Fans fill a football stadium and watch on as a marching band spells out the word TEXAS on the field.
Mike Fuentes
In this Oct. 8, 2011, file photo, Texas fans, left, and Oklahoma fans, right, fill the Cotton Bowl for the NCAA college football game between Oklahoma and Texas in Dallas.

Although she grew up hearing about the rivalry between Texas and Oklahoma, Condoianis said she’s uncertain of its origins.

“I've never thought of it as to why the rivalry is so big, because my entire life it's been that way. I even remember my parents talking about it as I grew up,” she said. “But it is something I know fans look forward to every single year and there’s definitely a passion depending on what side you’re on.”

The series itself dates back to1900, before moving to Fair Park and Cotton Bowl Stadium where the two teams play every October in front of more than 92,000 screaming fans clad in the burnt orange of UT or Oklahoma crimson.

The two teams meet following the Longhorns’ 49-0 victory against the Sooners last year. It will be the third time both teams are 5-0 for the season, ESPN reported.

Here’s what to know ahead of this year’s Red River Rivalry game.

A black and white photo of football fans climbing goal posts in a football stadium.
Ferd Kaufman
Joyous Oklahoma fans climb the goal posts to tear out the cross bar for souvenirs after the Oklahoma defeated Texas 18-9 in an NCAA college football game at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas, Oct. 8, 1966. The Big 12 is losing its marquee matchup when the Red River Rivalry is played Saturday for the final time under the league’s umbrella.

When is the game?

Kickoff is 11 a.m. Saturday.

Condoianis said the State Fair of Texas will open at 7 a.m. to give visitors and game-goers enough time to find parking and get into the stadium early.

Why are they called Red River rivals?

The Red River marks part of the border between Texas and Oklahoma. The name “Red River Rivalry” is a nod to the river that separates the two states.

Is it Red River Rivalry or Red River Showdown?

The annual game between the Texas Longhorns and the Oklahoma Sooners is known as the Red River Rivalry, and in 2005 the name was changed to the SBC Red River Rivalry.

When AT&T became the new sponsor, the name was changed to the AT&T Red River Showdown.

This year, the “rivalry” returns after a new sponsor, and is now called the Allstate Red River Rivalry.

Will my game ticket get me into the State Fair?

Yes, if you have a ticket to the Allstate Red River Rivalry it will get you into the fair on game day.

Tickets can be purchased on websites like Ticketmaster, SeatGeek and StubHub.

Can I bring a bag into the game?

One approved bag per person is allowed into Cotton Bowl Stadium.

Approved bags include:

  • Clear plastic bags or totes that do not exceed 12” x 6” x 12” 
  • One-gallon clear, resealable plastic storage bag 
  • Small clutch bag or purse that does not have to be clear, but cannot exceed 4.5” X 6.5” 
Megan Cardona is a daily news reporter for KERA News. She was born and raised in the Dallas-Fort Worth area and previously worked at the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.