Monday, October 23, 2006

Huskers Need A Rival

After reading the literally hundreds of posts and stories about the mood after the Texas win at Nebraska, it certainly sounds like everyone got together, held hands and sang "KUMBAYA" at the Sidetrack Tavern all night long.

Nebraska fans loved Texas fans. It didn't matter that the first really big win for the Corn at Memorial Stadium since Eric Crouch caught that pass against Oklahoma in 2001 was snatched away by a horrible third down call and awkward time management. Huskerpedia.com has an entire section where Husker fans are chiming in on what a class act Mack Brown is. You'd almost think fans are done being jealous of Texas becoming the program that Nebraska USED to be, and that everyone has decided to tip their hats and welcome them to Lincoln anytime to hang another L on the Corn.

The Longhorn faithful returned the compliments in a big way. They raved about some of the Downtown Lincoln bars, some of the Husker Hotties, and hospitality from the majority of the fans. The only beef they seem to have is about Memorial Stadium. Turns out Texas fan HATES the place, especially "how it's designed". They also bitched about the PA music and the PA announcer, which of course always makes us rub our hands with glee. Most Longhorn fans are saying the trip to Lincoln on Saturday is only topped by the National Championship trip to Pasedena.

"General observation," one Longhorn fan posted. "When Longhorns lose, the fans are angry. When Huskers lose, the fans are sad."

I'm not terribly surprised by the rave reviews Nebraska is getting for their hospitality over the weekend. It reminds me of The Simpsons episode when Bart asked Homer to describe what it was like meeting God. "Perfect teeth...nice smell...a class act all the way."

It also reminds me of two other very important things regarding the state of Husker Football:

  1. The program is nowhere near the level that Billy C or the fans want it to be. Could you imagine what losing a game at HOME would have been like in the glory days of the mid to late '90's? When Ricky Williams and Texas ran all over the Corn in 1998, the Husker fans weren't nearly as generous.
  2. Unlike the other great college football programs, Nebraska doesn't have a true rival anymore. Of course they did have one with Oklahoma back in the days of the Big 8, but now playing the Sooners is on a rotation, unless of course the two schools could meet in the Big XII Championship game (which believe it or not, hasn't happened yet). But since the start of the Big XII (Re: When Texas became an eternal thorn in the Corn's side), Texas has owned Nebraska, going 6-1 against the Corn. That's right, Nebraska has won exactly ONE game in their seven meetings since 1996, and that's not even mentioning that two of those losses cost the Corn from playing in two MORE National Championship games.

So with all of that, Nebraska fans should really hate Texas. They cost Osborne a shot at winning four straight National Titles instead of 3 in his last 4 years (the devastating Big XII Championship game defeat in 1996). They really made sure Solich got shit canned after the 2003 disaster (OK, that one was probably inevitable). And now, on a day when Nebraska could have really gotten a spot back at the executive club table, Texas goes and shatters Billy C's dreams. This was the game he was going to hang his hat on. Who would have blamed anyone from Nebraska for even being remotely pissed off after that game? Anyone think for a minute that if Billy C would have RAN the ball on 3rd and 2 with 2:15 left, that even if they didn't get the first down, Texas still had no timeouts left, and NU could have ran all sorts of time of the clock before punting with the wind and pinning Texas deep in their own territory with something like 1:15 left -- and again, NO TIMEOUTS. Did that slip your mind? A little more pissed off about losing a big one that got away now?

I'm not saying that Lincoln should have gone all Wes Mantooth in Anchorman and started a news team fight with anyone wearing Orange. It's good to hear that most fans weren't dicks to those who came up from Austin (a group that didn't include a naked bongo playing Matthew McConaughey by the way, which was disappointing if only for the fact that he likes to share his can of chew with strangers after a big Texas win). I just wish we had a Michigan to our Ohio State. A Texas to our Oklahoma. I guess we have to settle on Colorado, a team Nebraska actually does play every year (on the day after Thanksgiving no less). It has actually developed into a heated and sometimes hateful rivalry.

Maybe losing in Lincoln isn't as big a deal as it used to be. I just don't want the highlights of our big games to be losing another close game, but damn were we classy to the victors afterwards. The idea is to win one of these games. Not to buy a bunch of free steaks at Misty's for Longhorn fans.

7 comments:

A. J. Simon said...

Michigan was national champion in 1997, so 1996 didn't cost Osborne a chance at 3 out of 4. (I assume you don't count the coaches' "going-away" present vote as legitimate).

Aaron said...

Hey Nebraska, I've got a "new" rival for you:

1) you've only beat them one of the last 5 trips to their stadium.

2) they've been a conference champ more recently than you (and been in the conf championship game the same number of times (3)).

3) their QB (wisely) decided to shun NU and attend another Big XII institution (in my opinion, based on a better recruiter at head coach (who really wants to play for Callahan anyway?)).

Answer - Kansas State.

Let's be honest, the Huskers have gradually come down to earth since the Big XII's inception, owing much of their decent to the lack of partial qualifiers the newly formed conference allowed in 1996. In the Big 8 era, teams could admit as many partial qualifiers as they wanted (something that Osborne, B Snyder, and many others utilized). But, when big bad Texas joined up the balance of power shifted and, unsurprisingly, the richest institution in the conference got its way (they fought hard to eliminate all partial qualifiers and eventualy did). The Horns knew they didn't need partial qualifiers, hell, a retarded infant could recruit to Austin (see Mack Brown). So, let's all band together in our hatred for the Horns and what they represent (money and power).

Anonymous said...

Oh, AJ, you silly Wolverine. Are you that insecure? Michigan and Nebraska both had fine seasons in 1997, and (in the absence of a championship selection method that makes sense) a split title was fair to both teams. Huskers can live with that, even though every single one of them is convinced that on a neutral field, Nebraska '97 would have whupped Michigan soundly. Michigan and Nebraska both deserved a chance to play for the title, and denied that, they both deserved the title. Why must you be so negative?

Anonymous said...

I liked the third down call. Nebraska didn't get the lead by playing not-to-lose, and NU had the first down before the Texas defender put his helmet on the ball and made the play. If NU's fumble bounces back to them, or Texas' fumble bounces away from them, then everyone's perception of the call would be different.

If BC plays conservatively, like @ USC, he gets blasted. If he doesn't, he gets blasted too. It looks to me like it's all about the result--if NU loses, you're going to find something wrong, consistency be damned.

Bird said...

Kansas State is the biggest poser of all time. A team needs to have actual sustained success to be significant. KSWHO cant say they've had that.

Sure, you mildcats had a cute little run, but now you're back in the litter box where you belong.

Aaron said...

Bird,

I'm curious what your definition is of "sustained" success.

I'm also curious if you can back up any of your statements with facts/info since the inception of the Big XII conference?

Aaron said...

Maybe the Oklahoma State Cowboys can be your rival. Way to perform today Huskers.