Will the annual Oklahoma-Texas rivalry matchup go off this year? One data point would suggest it’s less likely today than yesterday. The two schools, though, are still holding out hope.
Tuesday, the board of directors for the event announced that the State Fair of Texas will not be held this year. The board stated it came to its decision “[a]fter extensive consideration of the current landscape related to the COVID-19 pandemic and the health and safety of all fairgoers, staff, business partners, and overall community.” This marks the first time since Worl War II that the fair has been has been nixed.
Of course, the highlight of the State Fair of Texas, at least for college football fans, is the annual Oklahoma-Texas rivalry tilt at the Cotton Bowl. The cancellation of the fair will have no impact on the game; the fate of that matchup will be decided by local and state authorities.
The respective athletic directors on both sides of the rivalry — Joe Castiglione of Oklahoma, Chris Del Conte of Texas — issued statements addressing the development. Castiglione expressed ‘hope” that the game will be played. Del Conte, meanwhile, stated that the UT side “fully anticipate[s]” the Red River Shootout being played as scheduled.
Below are the ADs statements, in their entirety.
“We understand and respect the decision made by the State Fair of Texas and acknowledge that it was an extremely difficult one. Our hope remains that we can play the OU-Texas game at the Cotton Bowl, but obviously every aspect of our season requires constant monitoring and planning. The best thing all of can do at this time is closely follow CDC guidelines to reduce the spread of the virus.”
“Though we certainly respect and understand the decision of the folks on their cancellation of this year’s State Fair of Texas, we fully anticipate that our annual Red River Showdown with Oklahoma will be played in the Cotton Bowl and are continuing to prepare for that. We know the decision to cancel the fair was an extremely difficult one for everyone involved and that we are all dealing with a very fluid situation during these unprecedented times. But, as we’re doing with all of our fall season planning, we will continue to monitor the situation closely, work through contingencies and make the best possible decisions we can with the health, safety and well-being of everyone involved as a number one priority.”
The Sooners have won the last two meetings and four of the last five, including a 34-27 win last season. This year’s game is scheduled for Oct. 10.