Strike up the band, maestro ... West Virginia University is heading for the Big 12, to Texas and to Oklahoma.

Play that funky music, cowboy, as we think about things we think about when it comes to Texas and Oklahoma, and it begins with a song:

The stars are bright — big and bright

Deep in the heart of Texas.

Texas has the stars in athletics, all right, reaching from Slingin’ Sammy Baugh of TCU fame to Earl Campbell and his Heisman Trophy at Texas that he lugged to Houston with the Oilers. In Texas they always could run and throw a football, but when it came to throwing a baseball there’s Nolan Ryan and Roger Clemens, and no state can match that for strikeouts. Even nearby Pittsburgh had a bit of Texas touch with “Mean Joe” Greene being the anchor of the Steel Curtain and Doug Drabek winning a Cy Young Award for the Pirates.

The prairie sky — is wide and high

Deep in the heart of Texas.

There’s San Antonio and the River Walk and tumbling tumble weeds and the best Tex-Mex you’ve ever put in your mouth. Beauty is beauty, and the granite boulders along the Llano River at sunset are a sight to behold, along with the old stone cottages at Big Bend’s Chisos Basin.

The sage in bloom — is like perfume

Deep in the heart of Texas

Ah, yeah, perfume and natural beauty. It is everywhere you turn in Texas, whether you are camping and hiking at Enchanted Rock or taking in the plants at Sam’s Dam Ranch in Buchanan Dam. You do your sunrise beachcombing along the shores of the Sea Rim State Park or enjoy the solitude of A Woman’s Garden along White Rock Lake at the Dallas Arboretum.

Reminds me of — the one I love

Deep in the heart of Texas.

The one I love, huh? Well there’s the Yellow Rose of Texas and Kelly Emberg and Jerry Hall and Selena and Jennifer Love Hewitt and Carolyn Jones and, yeah, if they were good enough for presidents of the United States, Lady Bird Johnson and Laura Bush are good enough for me. Throw in former Miss America Phyllis George and the comedienne Carol Burnett and it might be more than one that I love.

The cowboys cry — ki-yip-pie-yi

Deep in the heart of Texas.

The Cowboys? Oh yeah, how about the Dallas Cowboys cheerleaders for starters and Dandy Don and Roger Staubach and Tom Landry and his pork pie hat and the man who once was the state flower, Bob Lilly, to say nothing of Bullet Bob Hayes and Randy White and Emmitt Smith and, yes, you won’t like it, but a guy named Dorsett, too.

The rabbits rush — around the brush

Deep in the heart of Texas.

That, of course, could create quite a thirst, but in Texas you can’t go anywhere without running into a freezing cold Dr. Pepper from Dublin or bottomless pitchers of iced tea. And yes, you can get a Pearl beer there, too.

The coyotes wail — along the trail

Deep in the heart of Texas.

Oh, there have been some coyotes from Texas, starting right there with Lyndon Baines Johnson and Dwight D. Eisenhower, presidents both, along with Audie Murphy, who took home more decorations from World War II than any other soldier. Chuck Norris, he did some wailing and some whooping along the way in the movies and the martial arts.

The doggies bawl — and bawl and bawl

Deep in the heart of Texas.

There’s the Longhorn mascot, Bevo, a cow you wouldn’t want to milk, and Pecos Bill and Davey Crockett at the Alamo. And then there was maybe the biggest doggy of them all, Larry Hagman on the television show “Dallas.”

o o o o o

Of course, the Big 12 is Oklahoma, too, and while the song Rogers & Hammerstein gave is one of the greats, the state doesn’t quite have to offer what Texas does. Listen up, anyway, to Oklahoma!

Oklahoma, where the wind comes sweepin’ down the plain

And the wavin’ wheat can sure smell sweet

When the wind comes right behind the rain.

You look up things to do and see in Texas on the Internet, and you don’t find anywhere a trip to Dealey Plaza where John F. Kennedy was assassinated, but the No. 1 thing on the No. 1 site of things to do in Oklahoma is see the Oklahoma National Memorial on the site of the 1995 bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building. Wander through the grounds of the Oklahoma City National Memorial, it reads, and reflect upon the outdoor Field of Empty Chairs, the massive bronze Gates of Time and the Survivor Tree, a testament to the city’s strength and perseverance

Oklahoma, Ev’ry night my honey lamb and I

Sit alone and talk and watch a hawk

Makin’ lazy circles in the sky.

Oklahoma is, well, it’s Oklahoma. Like Texas, it has a panhandle. Unlike Texas, it doesn’t have much variety in its long, void stretches. It is known mostly for its football team — now teams with the reinvention of Oklahoma State football — and tornadoes.

If the site of a national tragedy is the first thing you must see in Oklahoma according to this website, the second thing is Route 66, which was a hit television show long, long ago.

Why Route 66?

“Oklahoma is home to the largest drivable stretch of Route 66 in the nation. Immerse yourself in the nostalgia of this old highway, remember days past and discover quirky roadside stops along the way as you travel down the historic Mother Road,” the site says.

We know we belong to the land

And the land we belong to is grand!

Oklahoma has given us some famous people, though, from Geronimo to Maria Tallchief, the ballerina; from Will Rodgers to Dan Rowan of “Rowan and Martin’s Laugh-In.” It has to be a land that makes you reflect, for its has given us anchormen Walter Cronkite and Douglas Edwards, along with radio commentator Paul Harvey (“Good Day!”) and PBS’s Bill Moyer. And Mary Hart of “Entertainment Tonight” would have been on the list of women I love, along with back-to-back Miss Americas Jennifer Berry and Lauren Nelson in 2006 and 2007.

And when we say

Yeeow! Ayipioeeay!

When they say “Yeeow! Ayipioeeay!” they are talking about athletes, numbering among them the greatest catcher of all time Johnny Bench and his idol, Mickey Mantle; the Selmon brothers, Troy Aikman, Barry Sanders and, for those who remember the great days of the Pittsburgh Pirates, Wilver Donnell “Willie” Stargell.

We’re only sayin’

You’re doin’ fine, Oklahoma!

Oklahoma O.K.

BTW, Dana Holgorsen came to West Virginia from Oklahoma, too.

Email Bob Hertzel at Follow on Twitter @bhertzel.

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