No Love Lost? Huskers and Sooners Need to Restart Rivalry

By Paul Troupe

Tonight, I’m going to take a look back in Husker football history. No, I’m not talking about those horrible years under he-who-not-be-named, with the other he-who-not-be-named athletic director. I’m talking about the days under Tom Osborne and Bob Devaney. The days of Barry Switzer and thanksgiving being planned around watching Nebraska vs Oklahoma.

Nebraska has moved on to the B1G 10. Oklahoma is probably moving out from the Big XII. The old Big 8 and rivalries are soon to be an afterthought. I am too young to remember many great Husker vs Sooner games. My best memory of this rivalry is Nebraska’s victory in Lincoln in 2001, where #1 Nebraska beat #2 Oklahoma 20-10.

That game was one of the few Husker victories I have seen versus the Sooners. College football has never been the same since the Big XII formed, and Nebraska stopped playing Oklahoma every year. Nebraska has not had a good rivalry since then. Texas does not count, and no Big XII North team was ever good enough consistently to call it a rivalry.

Missouri and Nebraska was starting to get there, Colorado was just called a rivalry because Buffalo fans always made it into a rivalry (and who didn’t like to beat your border state?).

But you know what, Nebraska needs to restart their rivalry with Oklahoma. Now it will never be a thanksgiving game anymore, unless Oklahoma joins the B1G 10. But a week 2, week 3 matchup between the Huskers and Sooners would move the needle nationally.

Nebraska hasn’t played much of a meaningful game before conference play since USC. And even then, Shawn Watson played so conservatively, and Kevin Cosgrove’s defenses were so pathetic, that it was not even a game.

If Nebraska could play the Sooners ever year, or maybe even every other year, you know how much that would benefit both teams?

It would be great for recruiting, as both teams could bring in big recruits into a big time game, with a great atmosphere. Who also doesn’t like the live coverage of television, with College Gameday likely showing up every year or few years. That’s free coverage to recruits, and we all know they like to play in the spotlight.

Family rivalries would also be at play here. Bob Stoops and the Pelini brothers both grew up in Youngstown, Ohio, and their families’ are close. I’m not sure about you, but bragging rights would be fun to have.

Now just think about the fans. How many fans have had a joy talking about the 1971 Game of the Century between Nebraska and Oklahoma. The 2001 game is still too new, but it was a fantastic game. Mike Stuntz to Eric Crouch still is etched in the minds of Husker fans, and a not so great memory for the Sooners.

Sooners fans cannot be too upset though, they had the last laugh, after coming from behind and beating Nebraska in the last Big XII championship game. That game still stings for me as a Husker fan, but credit must be given to the Sooners for coming back.

Still though, who wouldn’t want to see this game every year? For as long as the BCS lasts, this game would go a long way for both teams. I expect both of these teams to be in the upper echelon for years, and this would be a big schedule booster in terms of the strength of schedule.

It’s time for the Huskers and Sooners to bring back their old Big 8 rivalry, and let the great games begin.

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