Originally Published: Nov 7, 2009 9:26 AM CDT
Omaha-Some things never change. One of those constants is that Nebraska is still football country. And the folks around these parts have a tremendous amount of respect for Oklahoma football.
This series is unique: OU hates Texas. Texas hates OU. OU has dominated OSU. Even though Les Miles and Mike Gundy have made the series much more competitive, the OU-Nebraska series will always hold a special appreciation with OU coaches, players and fans.
OU wins championships. So does Nebraska. The respect that was fostered in the Bob Devaney/Barry Switzer days. And it carried over through the championship days of the championship coaches Tom Osborne and Switzer.
In the few hours I’ve been up here, there have been fans, bellmen, waiters, taxi cab drivers walk up and want to talk about the series?.some, the good ole days.
Sure, they root for their Huskers. They savor the national titles Osborne brought home. And they were heartbreaken when Switzer’s teams repeatedly rallied in Lincoln for unlikely wins.
Curiously, the Nebraska fans have an appreciation for Switzer more than any other group of fans. That’s because these people loved high quality football and admired ability to have teams come back time and time again for those improbable wins.
The other reason is that Switzer showed a great deal of respect for the Husker program and coaches Devaney and Osborne. Once he walked on a live Devaney TV the night before a big showdown. Devaney loved it.
The people of Nebraska loved it as the OU coach was proving you could have charisma and relaxed style about him the night before a big game. Then the next day on the big stage. At that time Switzer was dominating Osborne, which made it doubly tough on the Hall-of-Fame classy Osborne.
Switzer and Osborne were and are good friends. As different as night and day, they share much in common.
The most significant common denominator is the fact that each showed his players they could play for championships for 4 hours on Saturday, but outside of that time, it was about respect.
To celebrate the healthy rivalry and the healthy relationships between the former players and coaches, the now NU AD Tom Osborne is paying back the Sooners for what OU AD Joe Castiglione had done last season in Norman.
Tonight, Switzer and some of his biggest stars like the Selmons, Greg Pruitt, Billy Sims, Greg Pruitt, Tom Brahaney have been joined by Jason White and a few others are in Lincoln for a “Celebration.” Osborne and some of his stars including Johnny Rodgers and Mike Rozier are hosting their brethren from the Plains.
Now that’s a healthy rivalry.
Here’s hoping close friends Bob Stoops and Bo Pelini can rejuvenated this series. Playing every other year makes it difficult. But for the old-timers, any hint of a renewed rivalry, played at a high level, and led by coaches who showed an appreciation for his opponent, would be a welcomed site.
On to this year?.
Stoops told me tonight the unseasonably warm Nebraska right now is no problem for him. Or his team. He indicated passing teams prefer the warm climes over the cold weather, which is typically what I’ve seen in my some 28 trips to Lincoln.
Even games I called that didn’t involve OU and that were played earlier in the year were cold. Throw in the stadium winds that historically show themselves with the flags flying stiff as a broom high atop Memorial Stadium, and it’s easy to see how below-freezing temps would be felt in your bones.
Stoops agrees that scores tend to be lower in cold weather. Tomorrow’s high is supposed to be 72. The reasons are elementary.
Quarterbacks can actually feel their fingers when the wind chill is above freezing?.and below freezing is what it was the two years I played up here. And it’s been the case more times than not from 1974 forward.
Stoops has done his best since coming to Oklahoma to teach his team about the tremendous rivalry and respect the schools have for one another. And he hopes the next OU/Nebraska tape he shows them is the one that Oklahoma getting out of Lincoln with a win.
Score? OU wins, 21-14.