The 10 games that define the Red River Rivalry

    Bill Connelly is a staff writer for ESPN.com.

Some rivalries are defined by a “big brother vs. little brother” dynamic — the more successful team vs. the team that lives to destroy the more successful team’s season. In the Red River Rivalry, the programs have traded who gets to play each role.

Some rivalries are nonconference affairs between schools who enjoy massive geographic overlap and recruit the same prospects but have never been in the same league. Red River was that … until it wasn’t.

At one point or another, Oklahoma-Texas has been pretty much everything. The schools have met 117 times; since 1929, the only time they didn’t play at Dallas’ Cotton Bowl was in 2018, when they also played in nearby Arlington in the Big 12 championship game. Starting with a 7-7 tie in 1937, the series has been dead even: 41 wins for OU, 41 wins for Texas and four draws.

The balance of power has shifted repeatedly, from UT’s eight-game winning streak in the 1940s to OU’s current run of six wins in the past seven meetings, and few rivalries mark power better than this one: While the two storied programs have combined for 72 AP Top-10 finishes, they’ve only pulled off the feat in the same season 13 times. One team asserts its dominance over the other, and it tends to last a while.

At this moment, both programs are struggling for footing — on Saturday they will meet as unranked foes for the first time since 1998 — but success is never far away. They followed that nondescript 1998 game with a decade of nonstop classics.

What awaits us Saturday and in the years to come as the programs move to the SEC? The answer likely lies in the past. From blowouts to game-of-the-year candidates to matchups that signal a changing of the guard, here are 10 games that tell the story of the Red River Rivalry.

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