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 TULSA, Okla. (AP) -Former University of Texas center Mike Baab doesn't have to search for some deeper meaning to explain why there's no love lost between his alma mater and the University of Oklahoma.
``OU was easy. We hated them,'' Baab said. ``It was very visceral, deep down. They didn't like us and we didn't like them. And trash talking was not necessary.''
He was among dozens of former Oklahoma and Texas football stars who attended the 2008 Legends in Sports Rivalry Dinner on Monday to replay glory days and maybe work in a few lighthearted jabs.
The event comes five days before the No. 1 Sooners take on fifth-ranked Texas in the Red River Rivalry game at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas.
Both teams are 5-0 heading into Saturday's key matchup, with Oklahoma coming off a 49-17 rout of Baylor and Texas beating Colorado 38-14.
It's the fourth time in eight years the shootout will feature a top-five matchup.
Before the dinner, the sports legends talked shop, backslapped and signed football helmets bearing both the UT and OU logos.
n those rivalry games: both teams walking down the ramp together at the old Cotton Bowl and several pre-game skirmishes breaking out; the sea of red and orange inside the stadium; a contest that felt more like a bowl game than a regular season game.
``It brings out the best in all of us,'' said former OU coach Barry Switzer, who led the Sooners to three national titles in 1974, 1975 and 1985. ``Every player on their team we tried to recruit, every player on our team they tried to recruit.''
Former Texas coach Fred Akers, who recalls participating in 19 of the rivalry games, described the atmosphere of a typical OU-UT clash: air you can ``cut with a knife,'' ``tense and intense,'' and ``barn-burner.''
``You're going to get hit likely harder than you have before, and both teams are having that same feeling,'' he said. ``It's a heck of a ballgame.
``It's a game of pride,'' he said.
The other element of the Red River Rivalry is the unpredictability.
``The best team doesn't win all the time in that game,'' said former OU player Carl McAdams. ``Those games, when you have high anxiety like both teams will have, somebody may make a bad mistake and cost the team a victory or a loss. It's just never one of those where you're going to say, 'I guarantee a win.'''
Former UT quarterback James Street even half-joked he'd want to put the pads on and play again.
aid. ``I'd be ready to play if they'd let me play. But I wouldn't play for about half a down or get through half the warmup.''
Before the banquet, it was time for the group picture, a chance for gridiron enemies to smile for the cameras. Banners of both schools hung above their heads.
Before the snap, a chance for a little levity.
``Horns up or down?'' someone in the back shouted.
It was hard to tell which won out.

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