By Michael Kinney
The Norman Transcript
DALLAS — Ben Reeves didn’t want to get up. The Dennison, Texas native and diehard Oklahoma fan was not looking forward to the 11 a.m. kick-off for Saturday’s Red River Rivalry between OU and Texas.
As much as Reeves enjoys watching his Sooners play, there were other parts of the weekend he had to sacrifice in order to be at the Cotton Bowl on time.
“I don’t like the early kickoff,” Reeves said. “I wish it was later on in the day around 2:30 or 3 p.m. I have to get up too early to come to the game. And I’d like to have a couple of beers and some refreshments before the game started.”
However, while Reeves despised the pre-noon kick-off, his friend and Texas fan Brad Billy was on the other side of the fence. He looked forward to joining the other 92,500 fans who showed up to see Oklahoma destroy Texas 63-21.
“I like it,” said Billy, who is from Sherman, Texas. “Get here early. Get it going. Get home early.”
This year’s contest was the second season in a row that the Red River Rivalry has been played in the morning. In 2010, the game had a 2:30 p.m. start. By the time fans left the stadium to head home, manners were forgotten by many as reports of fights had broken out throughout the fair.
“Later on in the afternoon, you get all the drunk people,” Billy said. “All of that comes along with that. So the earlier in the morning you don’t get it. Especially with it being a rivalry with Oklahoma and Texas. It’s safer.”
Cody Stull isn’t for the early morning game, not because of the possible drunk fans, but because of the effect it could have on the players.
“It’s just early,” Stull said. “I hate thinking the guys don’t get to go through their normal routine getting ready for a game. I don’t think we see the best out of either team. Neither team has to travel a lot, but just trying to get to that normal game day routine, you don’t get into your normal function.”
Stull’s theory was proven wrong by Oklahoma at least this year. The Sooners had one of their best performances in the Red River Rivalry since Bob Stoops arrived.
However, Texas can’t make the same claim.
Neither officials from Oklahoma or Texas have ever formally announced why the game is played at 11 a.m. while the rest of the country doesn’t start playing until noon.
But one of the benefits is that it’s the only game on TV and the entire college football watching world is focused on them. Up until the contest turned into a blowout, Boomer Sooner, Oklahoma, Trey Millard and Red River Rivalry were all trending nationally on the social media site Twitter.
Yet, none of that matters to Reeves. He says a rivalry like OU and Texas deserves to be played under the lights.
Addis Nguyen doesn’t agree.
“I’m for the early start,” said Nguyen, an avid Sooner fan. “Because usually if it’s a late game, there will be a lot of people intoxicated and probably won’t make it. This way you can come early and get the football game in and enjoy the state fair afterwards.”
Michael KinneyFollow me @firstname.lastname@example.org
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