“The excitement level is real high,” said senior defensive back Jonathan Nelson. “The intensity is – you know – at a different level.”
The intensity is at such a level where the Sooners have been practicing with the songs “Boomer Sooner” and “Texas Fight” blaring out a stereo.
“It’s usually what we do around here, usually start off with playing the Texas fight song,” said redshirt sophomore Landry Jones, who was named the Big 12 Offensive Player of the Week by throwing for 370 yards against Cincinnati. “So, I mean it’s just some good fun to get riled up for the game.”
Other players hear the two songs and see it as more than just a fun thing to do and a preparation tool, like junior wide receiver Ryan Broyles called it. Rather, players hear “Texas Fight” and their blood starts pumping harder.
“At first we weren’t paying attention because we were doing a walk through, but when we finally starting hearing it we were like, ‘OK, it’s starting,’” said offensive lineman Eric Mensik. “That rage inside you starting to come up and that rivalry starting to peak its head out. It’s good for us – you know- get us fired up and ready to go.”
And the Sooners should be fired up. They have been bested by Texas four times in the past five years despite representing the division in the Big 12 title game three times during that span.
As reference to that, even though the game is always a crucial one on both teams’ schedules, head coach Bob Stoops put the game into perspective by saying it is just a single game and a Big 12 title or national championship cannot be won at the Cotton Bowl.
"There's always that chance, but again there's such a huge body of work left that this game so much of the time I know everyone wants to act like this is the end of all but it's far from it,” Stoops said. “This game without the rest of them is pretty shallow."
Even though this is just one game, it is an important one and the players will be amped once they get on the field Saturday, Broyles said.
“It’s one of the best rivalry games in the nation, so you always look forward to it,” Broyles said.