ARLINGTON, Texas — Most agree that this is the way Oklahoma’s and Nebraska’s days as conference rivals should end: a season-ending game for the conference championship. That’s what made Sooner-Husker games so meaningful for decades. The 15-year football history of the Big 12 Conference will end when the two historic programs meet at 7 tonight at Cowboys Stadium.
The history hasn’t been lost on either the Sooners (10-2) or the Huskers (10-2).
“We talked about it in our Monday scout report ,how many times through the years this game decided the Big Eight championship, and you want them to appreciate it,” OU coach Bob Stoops said Friday afternoon at the final press conference before the game.
“I have not addressed that much with our team,” Nebraska coach Bo Pelini said. “Our team is well aware of everything that kind of goes with the rivalry. It’s a tremendous rivalry that’s been going on between OU and Nebraska for a long time. Just because of the tremendous tradition with the two institutions.”
Any attempt to hide from it was hard this week for either team. Turning on a television, listening to a radio, reading a newspaper, checking out a sports-related website or even walking down a street in Norman or Lincoln, Neb., meant hearing about what OU-Nebraska games have meant.
The day before the game was no different.
History was the topic of the day and it went much deeper than the 86th meeting between OU and Nebraska and the 21st that will decide a conference championship. There is the history between the Stoops and Pelini families that runs deep back in the hometown of Youngstown, Ohio.
Sitting in the crowd for Pelini’s press conference was Ron Stoops, Jr., the oldest of the Stoops brothers and a defensive backs coach at Youngstown State.