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Berry Tramel: Bring back OU-Nebraska, every year

by Berry Tramel Published: November 5, 2009

It's Oklahoma-Nebraska week, so you know what that means.

Saccharine overload.

Welcome to college football's lovefest. The series that's more mushy than a Valentine card. More syrupy than a cherry Dr Pepper.

The rivalry in which fans join hands at halftime and sing We Are the World. In which old gladiators convene the night before kickoff and celebrate the wondrous game they lost.

So OK, I give up. I'm on board. Time to play Oklahoma-Nebraska every season.

Time to trash the Big 12's balanced schedule and make the Sooners-Huskers an annual rite.

College football was built on rivalries like this. College football needs games like this.

We've got enough Florida-Tennessees and Boise State-Oregons. Enough OU-Texases. Enough Bedlams.

We need more games that celebrate all that is great about sport. We need to preserve and treasure traditions, not cast them to the street in the name of equitable scheduling.

The Southeastern Conference realized that back when it expanded to 12 teams and two divisions in 1992. The SEC adopted a scheduling format to protect the Alabama-Tennessee rivalry. The Crimson Tide and Volunteers play every year despite being in opposite divisions. All other SEC team were given an annual crossover opponent, too, but clearly, the format was fueled by Bama-Tennessee.

The Big 12 should do the same. We've tried it for almost 15 years, pretending OU-NU is just another game.

I supported the balanced schedule when the Big 12 formed. Argued that OU-Nebraska was a great rivalry only because it usually was a championship showdown. OU would forge other rivalries.

I was wrong. Turns out, OU-Nebraska endures whether the Big Reds are big dogs or not.

In the 1990s, the Huskers were awesome and the Sooners stunk. Much of this decade, OU soared while NU stumbled.

by Berry Tramel
Columnist
Berry Tramel, a lifelong Oklahoman, sports fan and newspaper reader, joined The Oklahoman in 1991 and has served as beat writer, assistant sports editor, sports editor and columnist. Tramel grew up reading four daily newspapers — The Oklahoman,...
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