OU-Nebraska: One last hurrah
Barry Switzer said Thursday what everyone on both shades of the Big Red Rivalry has been saying. The Oklahoma-Nebraska series is gone. No desire exists on either side to reconvene with a non-conference series, once the Huskers bolt for the Big Ten next summer.
But one last OU-NU game could come about. The Big 12 championship game this December.
For all the talk about Nebraska-Texas in 2010, no matchup in college football could be bigger from an historical standpoint than an OU-NU showdown for the conference championship.
Conference titles are what the Big Reds were all about. OU-Nebraska became a huge national game not because of in-state rancor (Alabama-Auburn) or cultural geography (OU-Texas, Ohio State-Michigan) or national patriotism (Army-Navy).
OU-Nebraska was THE rivalry of college football in the 1970s and 1980s because both programs were so good. The game almost always carried Orange Bowl and/or national championship implications.
Long before the Big 12 split into divisions and staged a Dr Pepper game in a Texas or Missouri metropolis, the Big Eight staged a conference champioship game. A November showdown between OU and Nebraska.
That Thanksgiving tradition is long gone, and not even the 2006 Big 12 title game — OU beat the Huskers 21-7 in Kansas City’s cold — resurrected the title tradition of the series. That was a down Sooner team (by Bob Stoops standards) and a Bill Callahan Nebraska team (which meant not even Husker fans could be proud of winning the South).
But 2010 would be different. Nebraska is back in the preseason top 10, joining the Sooners there, and some believe Bo Pelini has the Huskers back in the swing of national relevancy.
A Big 12 title game involving nationally-prominent teams, with a 100-year series history that is about to end, with Nebraska leaving the league, would be a huge story.
Big 12 media favors the Huskers and Sooners to win their respective divisions, though Texas will have a lot to say about that and Missouri will have a little.
But here’s hoping the OU-Nebraska rivalry gets the sendoff it deserves.
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