The Norman Transcript

Sports

November 1, 2008

The upside of the rivalry being down

Commentary

The consensus seems to be the biggest reason Oklahoma-Nebraska isn’t the rivalry it used to be is the basic fact the Sooners and Huskers don’t play each other every season any more.

It stands to reason, but it’s still only the second biggest reason and quite possibly a distant second. Because the biggest reason this rivalry has lost its luster is Nebraska hasn’t held up its end of the bargain.

But Dr. Tom left and Frank Solich turned out be a solid coach but not much more, then Steve Pederson couldn’t find anybody to coach the team and wound up with Bill Callahan, so what are you going to do?

The funny thing is, it’s almost better this way.

Not for the rivalry as it stands now, but for the rivalry as it once was. Believe it. If this was 2000 or 2001, when the Husker-Sooner winner was sure to be ranked No.1 in the next set of polls, do you think anybody’d be very pumped to wax nostalgic about the good old days?

A pair of top 5 teams sure would make tonight more exciting, but would it have made the week any better? Would anybody care that a bunch of the Game of the Century’s cast of characters was in Norman Friday night, reliving a game played almost 40 years ago?

And if the nation was watching what will begin at 7 p.m. tonight at Owen Field instead of what will begin at 7 p.m. tonight in Lubbock, Texas, do you think Bob Stoops would have been nearly so charming this week?

Because one of the coach’s best sides is the one he offers when playing host to the history of the program, even the parts of it he could only have heard about while growing up in Youngstown, Ohio.

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