Tom Keener – Guest Contributor
Jan 3 @ 10:49 am
The Big Shootout: 1969 Texas vs Arkansas

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Allen Public Library
300 N. Allen Dr.
Allen, Texas 75013

The Big Shoot Out chronicles the titanic 1969 game between Texas and Arkansas, among the most thrilling competitions in the history of college football.  

Director Mike Looney will introduce the film 7:30 p.m. Thursday, January 13, at this live event which will also be shared virtually at allentx.swagit.com.   Questions can be submitted until 8:30 p.m. that evening through liveonstage@cityofallen.org.

The aphorism "fact is stranger than fiction" is applicable in this case.  This game has the distinction of being the first college sporting event orchestrated for national television coverage. 

 ABC Sports executive Roone Arledge told then ABC media director Beano Cook, "It's the 100th year of college football, we've got to do something special. Why don't you look over all the schedules … and figure out what game we can pluck out of the middle of the year and put it as the final game of the season.  And, Beano, by the way, why don't you pick who's gonna be ranked No. 1 and No. 2 and we'll get [US President Richard] Nixon to come and crown the national champion."

This proposal was implausible, especially since Ohio State was the defending champion and they had all their starters.  Beano said, “They'd lose to somebody. I don't know who, but they will lose to somebody and, besides, even if they don't if we put them at the end of the season whoever we pick to play them will have three or four losses. Texas and Arkansas have a chance to be undefeated and, worst case, they'll be [ranked] No. 2 and No. 3.”  How prophetic!

This game garnered the attention of politicians such as Arkansas Governor Winthrop Rockefeller and President Richard Nixon.   After the game, the president visited both locker rooms so that a charge of favoritism could not be lodged.

The library is located at 300 N. Allen Dr.  Sponsored by the Allen Public Library, the program is free. Call 214-509-4911 for additional information.