But what we all need to accept is that Colorado is frankly that one hated team on the schedule EVERY year. The two teams play each other every season during what ESPN has now officially billed as "Rivalry Week", on the day after Thanksgiving. Yes, it used to be that way with Oklahoma and Nebraska, but as Neil Diamond once warned us, "Used to be's don't count anymore, they just lay on the floor 'til we sweep them away." And basically, Corn fans would just like to sweep away everything about Colorado, dating back to when Woody Paige was at The Denver Post and would annually call out Nebraska for being one of the most God-forsaken places in the world. This was before he took a job in Bristol, Connecticut, of course.
The truth is that Colorado has done plenty on the field to stake a claim as Nebraska's true current football rival. Consider:
- 1986: An uncharacteristically unprepared Nebraska team gets whipped in Boulder for the first time under Tom Osborne, 20-10. You could excuse the Corn for overlooking the Buffaloes, considering they'd been the laughingstock of college football for quite some time.
- 1989: The rivalry really starts. Then CU coach Bill McCartney had gone out of his way to put the NEBRASKA game in all-red letters on the schedule. Nebraska was somewhat down in terms of talent (they had just lost 3-year starter Steve Taylor as QB and replaced him with inexperienced Senior Gerry Gdowski). Colorado was ranked #2 in the nation and ready to announce they were for real by defeating #3 Nebraska. After their own quarterback Sal Aunese had died of cancer, some Husker fans actually came into Boulder with signs that read "Cornhuskers Bury Sal" (the game was on CBS, and they figured using words that began with C, B & S would get their signs on air). Colorado was able to stake their clam with a big 27-21 victory.
- 1990: Nebraska under Osborne NEVER lost at home. Especially to Colorado of all teams. The 1990 Buffaloes under McCartney were the real deal, coming into Lincoln and thrashing the Corn 27-12. This was the season of Colorado's lone National Championship, a title they'd have to share with Georgia Tech. Buffs fans can also thank Nebraska for that, as the Corn would lose to the Yellow Jackets in the Citrus Bowl at the end of the season. Mostly people (especially NU fans) bring up the infamous "5th Down Game" at Missouri that helped Colorado when talking about their title.
- 1994: Number 2 Colorado comes to Lincoln to face backup quarterback Brook Berringer and the #3 Cornhuskers. Probably the greatest moment in the series history for Husker faithful. Berringer led Nebraska to a huge 24-7 win over an extremely talented Buffs team that included the likes of Kordell Stewart, Heisman winner Rashaan Salaam, Michael Westbrook and Rae Carruth. More importantly, the win vaulted the Corn to #1 in the country, a position they'd hold the entire season, finally winning Osborne his first of three national championships.
- 1995: Just another day at the office for the greatest college football team of all-time. Nebraska throttles the 7th ranked Buffs at Boulder 44-21. But mostly this game is remembered for one of the greatest lines in Cornhusker radio history (behind only Lyle Bremser's "Man, Woman and Child did that put 'em in the aisles"). Kent Pavelka noticed late in the game that Christian Peter and Jason Peter were both taking a breather from the game for a few defensive plays. Pointing this out to the listening audience, Pavelka said, "Nebraska is now playing with it's Peters out." And we're stuck having to listen to Jim Rose on radio while Pavelka still walks the earth.
- 2001: Perhaps the biggest loss in Nebraska football history. After a decade of unprecedented dominance in college football, Colorado exposed #2 Nebraska in the worst of ways. In a game that many point to as the beginning of the end for Frank Solich, the Buffaloes embarrass Nebraska 62-36 in Boulder. And it seemed a lot worse than the score indicates.
- 2003: Solich's final game as head coach. The heat had been on him big time for two weeks following the disastrous 38-7 loss to Kansas State at HOME. We'd learn later that AD Steve Pederson had already decided to fire Frankie because of that debacle. But the thinking of most going into the Colorado game was that if Frankie could somehow lead the Corn to victory over Colorado in Boulder, his job was more than safe. In Solich's finest hour as Nebraska head coach, the Corn did just that, taking care of business on the road and rebounding with a 31-22 win. In the following morning's Omaha World Herald, columnist Tom Shatel said the victory was enough for Solich to get a second chance, but he also mentioned something could be on the horizon. He was right in a big way. Pederson fired Solich the VERY NEXT DAY, all with no idea who to replace Frankie with. After all, Billy C still had another month left to keep calling his Oakland Raiders team "stupid."
- 2004: The official end for the Corn. Colorado comes to Lincoln and ends their final streak, the infamous 35-year "Bowl Game" Streak. The Buffs were too much in Joe Dailey and Ross Pilkington's final game as Huskers, ending Billy C's first season waaaaaay too early. Final score: Colorado 26, NU 20. "We're building towards our championship season," Billy C would say after the game.
So yes, the Buffs have had their way against the Corn more than a few times. Nebraska still gets more excited about beating CU than any other team (see last year's big Billy C breakout game at Boulder for an example). Enough to qualify this affair as a true rivalry. It's not Michigan/Ohio State, it's not Oklahoma/Nebraska, but for now, Colorado is the only team Nebraska can truly call it's hated rival.