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College football: Why Oklahoma needs Texas, USC and Nebraska to be Texas, USC and Nebraska

JENNI CARLSON COMMENTARY — Football in our fair state takes the weekend off, but OU and OSU fans should keep a careful eye on the goings on at Texas, USC and Nebraska.
by Jenni Carlson Modified: September 21, 2013 at 9:00 am •  Published: September 20, 2013

Of course, then a recording of Pelini cursing the fans became public.

For all the f-words that he dropped, none was more of a bomb than these: fair-weather fans.

You can call Nebraska fans lots of things, but fair-weather ain't one of them.

Nebraska fans have sold out every home game since 1962. Pelini wasn't even born then.

But even though I'm pretty darn sure Nebraska fans will be the classy ones and actually cheer their coach Saturday, the fact remains that their team is in trouble. That game against UCLA was just the latest debacle for a program once known for its Blackshirt defense. Nebraska has given up an average of 41.2 points in its past five games, beginning with a 70-21 loss to Wisconsin in the Big Ten Championship game last season, and in four of those games, the Huskers gave up more than 500 yards.

This isn't your granddad's Nebraska.


Or Texas.

These are programs in trouble, and it's too bad. Folks in Oklahoma might believe that struggles for Texas, USC and Nebraska are good for their team. Less competitors for titles. Less competition for recruits.

But the truth is, those teams have pushed our teams to be better, helped our teams become what they are today. Back in the day, you can bet Barry Switzer thought about what OU needed to beat Nebraska when he was out recruiting. In more recent times, you can rest assured Mike Holder thought about what OSU needed to compete with Texas when he was deciding what to build with Boone Pickens' money. And no doubt there are plenty more examples just like that.

Texas, USC and Nebraska being down might help OU and OSU in the short-term, but in the long-term? Not so much.

Competition is healthy.

So, when you watch the Horns, Trojans and Longhorns this weekend, snicker if you must. Just remember, your team will be better if their teams are better.

Jenni Carlson: Jenni can be reached at (405) 475-4125. Like her at, follow her at or view her personality page at

by Jenni Carlson
Jenni Carlson, a sports columnist at The Oklahoman since 1999, came by her love of sports honestly. She grew up in a sports-loving family in Kansas. Her dad coached baseball and did color commentary on the radio for the high school football...
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