The famed 50-yard line split, half crimson and half burnt orange on either side, is an OU-Texas tradition that won’t make its way from the Cotton Bowl to AT&T Stadium on Saturday.
OU fans will sit behind the south Sooner sideline. Texas fans will sit behind the north Longhorn sideline. And for the first time in 95 years, Oklahoma and Texas will face off somewhere other than Dallas’ Fair Park.
The Red River Rivalry has been preserved in a Cotton Bowl time capsule. It will be unearthed 20 miles west in Arlington, Texas, at 11 a.m. Saturday in the Big 12 Championship game, for its first glimpse at a 21st century venue.
“I expect it to be all the same rivalry but without all the usual ambience,” said Alex Gebert, a 26-year-old OU law student from Colleyville, Texas.
No one knows what to expect, but the end zone to end zone fan split rather than a midfield parting will be the most noticeable visual difference. The walk into the stadium will be through a parking lot rather than through a midway filled with aromas of fried food.
The crowd will be smaller. Cotton Bowl Stadium packs in 92,000-plus. AT&T Stadium seats around 64,000 with standing room for another 10,000 fans on Saturday. But the amenities will be far nicer — maybe none more appreciated than the upgrade in bathrooms.
The Big 12 doesn’t know what to expect as to which school will have more fans. Oklahoma and Texas were both allotted 8,500 tickets. The rest were sold through the Dallas Cowboys and on the secondary market.
Longhorn and Sooner fans could be interspersed throughout the stadium, leading to a potentially volatile arrangement given the rivalry.