OU football: Why Sooners should care about the loss of Big Tex


The loss of Big Tex didn’t him home until we saw him in what looked to be a body bag.  (Photo: WFAA)

Ladies and gentlemen, it’s been a rough week for Texans in Dallas.

First, OU laid waste to the Orangebloods’ psyche with a 63-21 victory over their team last Saturday at the Cotton Bowl at Fair Park.

Then, Friday came a tougher loss for Texans in general.

Big Tex, the icon of the State Fair of Texas, perished from a hot foot accident (electrical fire in his boot) right in front of the Fletcher’s corny dog stands.

Horrified fair-goers gathered and watched as black smoke rose from his white kerchief. Within seconds, his fiberglass face became engulfed in flames. Then, the crotch of his size XXXXXL Dickie jeans started burning. Finally, the rest of his outfit burned away.

In the end, all that remained was his skeletal remains. His arms still in that iconic pose.  The rest of him looked like the charred body of a torched Terminator cyborg.

During and hours after it happened, social media was also aflame. Big Tex fans were posting RIPs while others made deep-fried jokes (Tex Is Toast). Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings promised to rebuild him. Bill Bragg, who voiced Big Tex from a little wooden hut behind the Fletcher’s stands, tearfully vowed that Big Tex would be back.

But when images of Big Tex’s frame — lying down, headless, bootless, with a tarp thrown over — and the uh, body appeared … well, it sank in for a lot of us: Big Tex was gone. Tears.

And OU fans, as much as they kick around the Orangebloods’ football team at Fair Park, should also let it sink in. That little comfy place where Sooners and Longhorns fans gathered after that beat-down from I-35 traffic from Norman and Austin —  where they gathered for a corny dog, posed for photos and made it a spot to regroup if anyone got lost — is empty.

Empty, empty. Devoid of 52-foot-tall talking mechanical cowboys.

Some version of Big Tex will be back to occupy that space, of course. But chances are the next Big Tex will be an update. I predict that any re-imagination of Big Tex will be one of the most contentious issues that Dallas will ever face.

So, as OU fans turn their attention to the Kansas Jayhawks this week, just know that next year’s Red River Rivalry will have a different vibe. Perhaps no more Mack Brown. But definitely, a different Big Tex.

MORE DALLAS DRAMA: The Ghost of Big Tex was strong in Dallas on Friday. The State Fair’s Stratosphere ride stranded two dozen riders in the air for more than two hours before they were rescued. Then, pop diva Madonna called off her Saturday-night show at the American Airlines Center in Dallas. Madonna blamed it on “severe laryngitis.” This, on top of the news that the Dallas Mavericks will be without Dirk Nowitzki, who will miss six weeks because of knee surgery (which should be good news to Oklahoma City Thunder fans).

ABOUT KANSAS: I’m sure that OU’s players like what was written about them after the Texas victory, that they’re back and in the hunt. Yes, this is a night game, which has been OU’s Kryptonite for the past two years. KU shouldn’t be taken lightly. The Jayhawks look a  lot like Recycled Notre Dame with coach Charlie Weis, QB coach Ron Powlus and QB Dayne Crist. For years, Notre Dame has been trying to recapture its magic. Weis was there for five years, the longest tenure since Lou Holtz was in South Bend and won a national title. Powlus was the guy who was supposed to win multiple Heismans at ND but never won one. Crist transferred to KU from Notre Dame, but he might share QB duties with a freshman. And this combination of rehashed Notre Dame and a freshman QB is the reason I’m picking OU in a larger-than-usual rout. The OU defense has been shutting down decent QBs (Tortilla Tech’s Seth Doege and the Orangebloods’ David Ash). My prediction: OU 52, Kansas 6.

Preseason

UTEP

Florida A&M

Kansas State

Texas Tech

Texas

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