KANSAS CITY - With the players battling on the field, fans have taken the fight to the air. Texas fans who felt snubbed by the BCS commissioned a plane to fly an anti-Oklahoma banner over Arrowhead Stadium before the Big 12 Championship.
“Enjoy the BeatByTexas.com Bowl,” read the banner referencing the Longhorns’ win over the Sooners and Missouri earlier this season. Texas, Oklahoma and Texas Tech found themselves in a three-way tie for the Big 12 South, but according to tiebreaker rules, Oklahoma went to the championship game because it had the highest BCS standing.
The Web address BeatByTexas.com redirects to fan site, LonghornNation.com
“Longhorn Nation has never been much of a conformist, but we'll make an exception, in this case,” wrote the Web site’s staff in a post Saturday. “Since the popular thing right now seems to be flying banners over stadiums and campuses and expressing your disdain for the BCS, we thought we'd jump in, feet first, and take an active roll in the foolishness.”
Last week a different group of Texas fans paid to have a plane fly over the Oklahoma-Oklahoma State game with a banner reading, “Texas 45 Oklahoma 35... Settled on a neutral field?”
The Sooners came out on top, winning the Oklahoma State game and the spot in the title game. In retaliation, Oklahoma fans had their own banner fly over the Texas campus Thursday in Austin. Referencing Longhorn coach Mack Brown, the banner read, “Hey Mack quit whining. U knew the rules.”
Oklahoma fans without access to airplanes brought a similar message to Arrowhead. Two fans carrying a sign reading, "Mack Brown is a Cry Baby," stopped to take a photo with another group whose sign said, "Don't be a crybaby, Mack."
ANOTHER BORDER WAR
Missouri and Oklahoma share a border, but are the Tigers and Sooners starting a new rivalry?
“I think this is the next border war,” Oklahoma fan Doyne Gregory said. “It’s a better border war.”
Gregory said with two consecutive match-ups in the Big 12 Championship, Missouri and Oklahoma have growing animosity. His friend, Buster Coppage, a Tiger fan, agreed.
“The rivalry is starting to build,” Coppage said. “I think it will probably be continued into basketball this year.”
Others say the key to a rivalry is history. Fans point to the rivalry between Missouri and Kansas, which dates back to the Civil War.
Oklahoma fan Eric Perilla said the Sooners have more competitive feelings toward Texas teams than Missouri.
“It will be a good game (against MU), but I don’t think it’s a border war,” Perilla said.
Tiger fan and former Columbia resident Mike Bonen said he loves the rivalry with Kansas, but Missouri has eight neighboring states. The Tigers can’t have border wars with them all.
“We have Kansas and Illinois already,” he laughed. “Are you going to get them all in there? Nebraska? Iowa State?”
A FAMILIAR HURDLE
Former Green Bay Packers lineman Derrel Gofourth, who played with tight end Paul Coffman, said he recognizes his teammate in Coffman’s son, Missouri’s Chase Coffman.
“His (Chase’s) game plan is to hurdle people,” Gofourth said of the Tigers’ senior tight end, known for jumping over defenders. “Paul did that.”
Gofourth, who went to Oklahoma State, spoke on a panel of former Big 12 and NFL players in the pregame festivities outside Arrowhead Stadium. He joined LeeRoy Selmon, an Oklahoma player who was the first pick of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 1976, and Priest Holmes, a Texas player who most recently played for the Kansas City Chiefs.
The interviewer asked whether Gofouth had seen Chase Coffman play. Gofourth said he had, adding that the way he looks, walks and plays reminds him of his former teammate.
“You can tell it’s Paul’s kid,” Gofourth said.