The sun rose Friday with an NBA lockout. Which is only the second-biggest bummer of the day.
The biggest? Nebraska now, officially, is in the Big Ten.
The Big 12 Conference stems from the Big Eight, which stemmed from the Big Seven, which stemmed from the Big Six, which was born in 1907 as the Missouri Valley Intercollegiate Athletic Association with Nebraska as a charter member.
Oklahoma came aboard in 1921. So for 90 years, Husker teams have been crossing the Cimarron to play ballgames.
They will cross it no more. At least not in the foreseeable future. The Huskers are Big Ten-embedded, and after a year of bickering from both sides, maybe some have the wrong idea.
This is not a good thing. At least not for the Big 12. Maybe not for Nebraska, which will reap financial rewards but has lost its roots and its status as the big dog in an easy division. Things might work out for all parties, but no way will it be a good thing for the Big 12. You don't lose a brand like Nebraska and be the better for it.
Nobody south of the Nebraska City will miss the Husker complaining. From their once-classy fans to Tom Osborne, Nebraska's we've-been-wronged attitude has grown wearisome.
But this is not the day for that. This is a day to remember what we liked about Nebraska. What made the Huskers valuable neighbors for almost a century.
In honor of Nebraska's exit, here are a few things we'll miss about the Huskers. Since the Big 12 now has 10 teams, and the Big Ten has 12 teams, let's compromise and go with 11 things we'll miss about sharing a league with the Corn Kingdom:
1. The uniforms. Gotta love Nebraska's uniforms. Especially the road whites. With the red pants and the white helmet with the simple N, the Huskers were dressed elegantly as they proceeded to try to smash your face, often successfully.
2. The tunnel. It's one of college football's great traditions, Nebraska fans surrounding the visiting team underneath Memorial Stadium, applauding the enemy as it leaves the field after the game. Win or lose. That's the snapshot to remember. Not the knuckleheads who have taken over the fan base the last year.
3. Bo Pelini. Rats. This was going to be fun, a Youngstown rivalry, a Bob Stoops-Pelini battle in the Big 12 title game a good many Decembers. Pelini was the best kind of opposing coach. A guy you could work up a good hate for and a good respect for. Sort of like Stoops.
4. Old-fashioned offense. Texas eventually abandoned the option. So did Alabama. Finally, Oklahoma. But Nebraska clung to it into the 21st century; won a national title as recently as 1997 running option and played for a national title as recently as 2001 doing the same. The Huskers don't run the old option anymore, but now that Bill Callahan is gone, Nebraska has returned to smashmouth football. Not enough of that in the college game.
5. Day games in Lincoln. Game days in Nebraska are best with day games. The air is always crisp. The colors are always bright, even if it's snow everywhere. The old stadium is always full. Have you seen some of those lists the last 15 years or so that rank A&M's Kyle Field as the best atmosphere in the Big 12? Don't believe them. Nebraska always was No. 1.
6. Basketball victories. Every basketball program in the Big 12 is going to miss the Huskers. Lincoln was a road game you could go win. The Devaney Center, which rocked in the days of Joe Cipriano and Danny Nee, now is a Lincoln Tomb.
7. Big 12 title game. Fifteen years of Big 12 Championship games have made us take for granted how cool they are. The Big 12's decision to stand pat at 10 teams and play no title game is economically sound. But it comes at a high cost, when on the first Saturday of December, the Big 12 will be an afterthought unless Bedlam delivers a relevant showdown.
8. Texas-Nebraska games. I have no idea how the Huskers let the Longhorns get under their skins so much. But they did. No matter how good Nebraska was (1999) or how bad Texas was (2010), the Longhorns got Nebraska's goat. A mysterious hex that made for great theater.
9. Husker tourists. Nebraska fans would travel en masse to road games, especially to the old Big Eight locales. Manhattan, Lawrence, Ames, Columbia, Stillwater. Husker fans would paint red section after section of enemy coliseums. The Big 12 will miss those ticket sales, and Nebraska will miss that geographic proximity.
10. Hail Varsity. Nebraska's fight song isn't the best in America. Or even the Big 12. I'd take “Texas Fight,” the “Aggie War Hymn” and KU's “I'm a Jayhawk.” But the Husker fight song is solid and, even better, familiar. You hear that song and it stokes memories and emotions. You immediately think college football on a Saturday afternoon.
11. Remembrances of games past. You know what Nebraska did better than any school in the league? Remember. Honor its legacy. Treasure its past. Most schools, OU and OSU, included, do a nice job with their football heritage. But Nebraska cherished its memories the most. Especially the OU-NU rivalry. While Sooners don't seem to lament its loss, the Huskers remain agonized that the grand tradition is gone. It's sort of cool that someone cares about you that much.
Berry Tramel: Berry can be reached at (405) 760-8080 or at email@example.com. He can be heard Monday through Friday from 4:40-5:20 p.m. on The Sports Animal radio network, including AM-640 and FM-98.1. You can also view his personality page at newsok.com/berrytramel.