The surest sign that a sports rivalry is for real, and not one that some big company or network has tried to manufacture, is when the players end up really buying into it as well. Granted, Oklahoma and Texas probably didn’t need to remind everyone of the Red River Showdown’s intensity, but players on both teams did so anyways. During pregame warm ups, players on both sides started jawing at one another in a “hold me back” sort of way as Oklahoma made its way to the tunnel.
More pleasantries were exchanged when both teams were on the field before the game in full pads and helmets. This time, however, officials were around to witness the war of words and light shoving so they decided to act. Towards the end of this clip, you can see a yellow flag fly up in the air.
ESPN’s Adam Rittenberg reported that the flag was for an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty that was essentially handed out to every player in uniform. This means that if anything that officials consider to be over the line happens in this game—which, granted, is a low bar to clear in college—then it’ll result in an immediate ejection for those involved. In theory, this would limit the amount of physical activity between the teams after plays. In practice, this will probably be enforced on some poor freshman who celebrates a bit too much after scoring the first touchdown of his career or something.