KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Oklahoma football fan Derek Ellis attended the Big 12 title game at Arrowhead Stadium in 2004. He wore only a long-sleeved shirt and a jacket. Big mistake. The Sooners beat Colorado, but Ellis froze. He didn't make the same mistake Saturday night, when OU played Nebraska for the conference championship. "I really wasn't prepared like I am now," a bundled-up Ellis said. Temperature at kickoff was 30 degrees, with a wind chill of 22. Still, Ellis doesn't vote to ban Arrowhead from the Big 12 rotation. "I like Arrowhead," said the OU season-ticket holder from Westminster, Colo. "It's a fun stadium to go to." Most fans queried Saturday before the game endorsed cold-weather Kansas City as a Big 12 football host. "I love it," said OU fan J.B. Ruble of Destin, Fla. "I love Arrowhead. I like the cold. It's football weather." Ruble went to Bass Pro before he left home and tried to outfit himself in warmth for less than $100. He spent $99 and got Gore-Tex gloves, duck boots, pants with lining and long underwear. Neala Harper of Tulsa has been to all three previous OU title games in Kansas City and vowed never to return after each. She was back for No. 4, with so much cover around her face "I don't know if I'll be able to see." But her husband, John, said no to permanently moving the game to a southern locale. "Texas gets enough of of OU's money," he said. Not every Sooner fan was thrilled to be in Kansas City. "It's closer than Houston, but why play the most important game in cold weather?" asked Dave Harms of Weatherford. "I'd rather go to St. Louis. You need to tell Arrowhead to put a roof on it." Husker fans, naturally, salute Kansas City. It's only three hours south of Omaha and Lincoln, and the weather is no different than what they are used to. Shawn Woodard of Columbus, Neb., planted a sprinkler system with his father-in-law Saturday morning in Omaha, then made the drive down. "They should bring half the bowl games up here," Woodard cracked. Scott Norwood, not the ex-Buffalo Bills kicker but an OU fan from Arkadelphia, Ark., said: "This is the way football's supposed to be, OU and Nebraska hooking it up at the end of the year. Football's supposed to be outside. It's a fun atmosphere. The cold really shouldn't matter."
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Husker fan Dave McGuire, of Lincoln, Neb., has some fun with Sooner fans Darin Davis, Jim Schafer and Andy Auther, from left, while tailgating before the Big 12 Championship game at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Mo., on Saturday. by CHRIS LANDSBERGER, THE OKLAHOMAN