Texas AD tells Paul Finebaum ‘There’s nothing like’ the Red River Rivalry game

SEC spring meetings took place this week in Destin, Florida, with the Oklahoma Sooners and Texas Longhorns taking their place at the table.

Oklahoma enters its first year in the SEC after leaving the Big 12. Along with Texas, they will be the newcomers to a conference that’s been very successful, especially in football.

But the Red River Shootout, the annual rivalry matchup between the Sooners and the Longhorns, won’t be taking a backseat to any other game the SEC has to offer.

Oklahoma athletic director Joe Castiglione and Texas athletic director Chris Del Conte joined “The Paul Finebaum Show” this week to discuss joining the SEC and the topic turned to Red River.

Del Conte spoke up with high praise of the game, saying, “It’s ridiculous, it’s the greatest thing ever.” He went on to say, “There’s nothing like this game.”

Del Conte added, “…you may talk about the Cocktail Party, the Iron Bowl, there’s nothing like this game at the State Fair.”

The World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party is the rivalry between Georgia and Florida, played at a neutral site in Jacksonville. The Iron Bowl is the matchup between Alabama and Auburn played at campus sites each year. Both are two of the most storied rivalries in the SEC and in all of college football, but the Red River Shootout is on a different level, at least according to the man running the athletic program south of the Red River.

Del Conte’s words are the latest example of the idea of many in the states of Oklahoma and Texas that think the Sooners and the Longhorns won’t be tiptoeing around in the SEC in year one. Both teams plan to make a statement with their play and with their programs. And in this instance, Del Conte is right on the money.

One of the truly special things about college football is the rivalries that are baked into the game. Hundreds of years of animosity between players, coaches and fanbases stir the pot in a sport that is all about passion and pageantry. OU-Texas is not only one of college football’s best rivalries, it’s one of the best in all of sports.

Sure, both teams have other rivals. The Sooners have intense matchups with Oklahoma State and Nebraska that have carried over from the Big Eight days. The Longhorns have plenty of foes from the old Southwest Conference, like Texas A&M and Arkansas. But these two blue bloods and their fans consider each other their undisputed rival.

Then, there’s the setting. The Cotton Bowl in Dallas is probably the most unique in sports. Located right in the middle of the State Fair of Texas, it has a built in atmosphere that’s unique.

Neutral-site games aren’t usually what we think of when we think college football, but Red River is a wonderful exception. The history of the two programs and the 50/50 split of the fans in the stadium creates an environment unlike any other. Anytime someone brings up home-home matchups in the Red River Rivalry, both fan bases shut that talk down really quickly.

There are great rivalry matchups in the SEC and in college football, but Red River has its own sacred place in the lore of the sport. Del Conte certainly isn’t alone is his thinking, at least not according to Josh Pate of 247Sports. Pate said, “Seeing folks who’ve never been to the Red River Shootout commenting on it. I’ve been sideline for all the big ones multiple times… it takes a backseat to NO rivalry game in CFB.”

The Red River Shootout is sixty minutes of pure, unadulterated hate between two of the ten best programs in the history of college football. It takes place in a venue unlike anything else sports has to offer, and both athletic directors are committed to keeping it that way.

It’s the essence of college football.

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Story originally appeared on Sooners Wire