NORMAN — Nebraska’s last visit to Oklahoma resulted in a low point for one of college football’s greatest all-time rivalries.
Former Nebraska coach Bill Callahan called Sooner fans "(expletive) hillbillies.” A Nebraska lineman collided with a Ruf/Nek, leading to a felony assault trial. Sooner fans booed Nebraska for attempting a field goal as time expired. Nebraska fans accused OU of running up the score.
"Every rivalry carries a certain personality. This one has always been about immense respect,” said OU athletic director Joe Castiglione. "What happened in 2004 was so atypical of the relationship between the two universities. Almost an aberration.
"But you can’t ignore the fact that it occurred.”
Tonight, the rivalry moves on without Callahan, a villain to Sooner fans for his "hillbillies” comment; to Husker fans for finishing 5-7 on his way out last season.
It’s now up to Ohio’s finest to make OU-Nebraska relevant again.
"Hopefully with me being here and Bob being there, I think it’ll lend itself to being back where it should be,” said first-year Nebraska coach Bo Pelini, who grew up with OU coach Bob Stoops in Youngstown, Ohio. "A game of mutual respect and hard football, good football.”
The rivalry needs good football in the worst way.
What was once considered the
game in college football has taken a hit since the formation of the Big 12 in 1996, which put the two in different divisions.