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OU vs. Texas: The only way the WCWS could end, should end & now will end in 2024

Bob Przybyloby:Bob Przybylo06/05/24

BPrzybylo

OKLAHOMA CITY – The softball season is four months long, and for those four months, everybody has known this was the showdown: OU and Texas.

It was solidified a bit Feb. 10 when Texas obliterated UCLA 16-0, sending the message. Those young pups from 2022 had grown up and were ready for the spotlight and the target.

And then there were the champs, the three-time champs, actually. OU carried a 53-game winning streak into the season. And despite seven losses, has it ever really felt like OU didn’t belong back on this stage?

No. 1 and No. 2. OK, maybe it wasn’t always that way in the polls all season. But it sure felt like it a collision course that was bound to occur. Everybody else was just playing for third.

Now that has literally been decided as the case. It’s No. 1 Texas (55-8) vs. No. 2 OU (57-7) in the Women’s College World Series championship series.

The way it should be. The way it has to be. And the way it will be. Oh, that just sounds right.

The best-of-three between the Red River rivals begins 7 p.m. Wednesday on ESPN. Game 2 is 7 p.m. Thursday. And if necessary, Game 3 is 7 p.m. Friday.

OU and Texas have both taken their pound of flesh from each other. They’re 2-2 so far. The Longhorns took two of three in Austin two months ago. OU sent its message by winning the Big 12 championship against No. 1-seeded Texas last month.

Sooners. Horns. Let’s go.

“We know each other very well,” head coach Patty Gasso said. “Kind of feel like we’re the underdogs this year. That’s okay. It’s good for us. We had to really fight our way through here. I’m proud of this group and how they did it.

“We’ve got some really good momentum. We know each other very well. I don’t know that there are a lot of secrets. It’s going to be an absolute battle.”

A battle the softball world has wanted. It couldn’t work out any better. If social media is any indicator (who knows?), then OU is the villain.

Anybody but OU is a common phrase on social media.

But if the Sooners were to win an unprecedented fourth straight national championship, you best believe their fans want Texas to be on the wrong side of history.

Not just rivals or No. 1 vs. No. 2. But the actual two best teams in the country. Tested, persevered, shown what they’re all about.

Texas had to dig down deep repeatedly in the Super Regional against No. 16 Texas A&M. The Sooners went life and death in the WCWS semifinals against No. 4 Florida.

The Longhorns come in rested, the benefit of not needing the ‘if’ game to take out Stanford. You can’t lose if you don’t give up a run. That’s how good the Horns have been in Oklahoma City. Three games, zero runs allowed.

OU is coming off the dramatic of the dramatic with the walk-off home run by Jayda Coleman in the bottom of the eighth Tuesday vs. the Gators.

“I don’t think we’re trying to prove any point here,” senior Kelly Maxwell said. “This year has been hard. But we deserve to be here. I think just staying within us and knowing we have a God that serves us, and we’re going to go out here and give it our all.”

Setting the Red River stage

After 148 pitches, you know Maxwell is not getting the call Wednesday. That would go against everything Gasso has preached all season. Nicole May or Kierston Deal should be ready and fresh for Wednesday.

The Longhorns have everything at their disposal and should be the clear favorite to take Game 1. It would be a monumental message sent by OU if the Sooners could come back from the brink of elimination vs. Florida one day and take down No. 1 the next.

But OU is as gutty as it is magnificent. Still flawed, but a champion’s heart that shows up at just the right time.

This won’t be like 2022 where everybody knew OU would outclass the upstart Horns. A true pick ‘em going into Wednesday.

OU with a chance for history. And Texas has never wanted it more.

Buckle up because here we go.

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