🏈 A rivalry worth renewing
An entertaining game Saturday doesn't seem promising, but the history around the rivalry remains great
✌🏽Happy Friday, friends. There’s a football game tomorrow in Norman. Let’s ride.
🤔 Trivia: When was the last time Nebraska was ranked in the AP poll's top 5 the week it played Oklahoma? [Answer in footnotes]
🏈 A rivalry worth renewing
Everything about Oklahoma and Nebraska playing each other feels right.
I wasn’t alive at the height of the old Big Eight rivalry, back when the programs were the class of college football. But what the adversaries represent are why we love this dumb sport so much.
OU and Nebraska haven’t went head-to-head in football since the 2010 Big 12 Championship Game.The game hasn’t left a huge hole in Norman. The Sooners have thrived over the last decade, while the Huskers have descended to mediocrity.
This defunct rivalry still carries weight as the teams prepare to play at 11 a.m. on Saturday, 50 years after “The Game of the Century” in Norman.
The history behind the series has made for a nice distraction from the actual matchup on the field. If you’re into college football history lessons, this was the week for you. A few of my favorite stories from this week:
ESPN’s Jake Trotter and Dave Wilson take you behind the scenes of the Sooners and Huskers’ iconic meeting in 1971. [Click here to read via ESPN]
Regardless of how you feel about Skip Bayless, he wrote about attending the 1971 “Game of the Century,” which sums up a lot of what the rivalry means to older OU and Nebraska fans. [Click here to read via FOX]
Few connections to the rivalry exist among the current players, aside from former high school teammates Caleb Kelly and Adrian Martinez finally getting to play against each other. [Click here to read via SI Sooners]
The Athletic has too much content to pick just one, but you can see all of the articles they produced about the rivalry this week by clicking here.
Five of the top moments from OU-Nebraska, with illustrations included. [Click here to view via The Oklahoman]
How OU’s players are focused on the present, and not so much on history (Click here to read via Tulsa World]
Some perspective from Norman Transcript columnist Clay Horning on Nebraska’s fall from grace since leaving for the Big Ten [Click here to read]
🏈 Making a case
So, about the game…
Here are the reasons why I think OU and Nebraska can win on Saturday:
The case for Oklahoma: It’s hard to imagine OU not winning comfortably if it contains Nebraska quarterback Adrian Martinez like this defense is seemingly capable of. The Huskers are banged up on offense, so much of the pressure will fall on Martinez to make plays. If the Nebraska quarterback can’t, it’s bound to be a miserable reunion with OU for the Huskers.
The case for Nebraska: Perhaps the Nebraska defense turns out to be better than we originally thought. It would be a dramatic turn from its Week Zero performance, but Nebraska recruits at a decent level, has a lot of experience on its defense and can only get better from that dreadful season-opening loss to Illinois. How Nebraska handles an unproven OU offensive line might tell the story early.
📺 Big 12 on TV
Through two weeks, the Big 12 hasn’t made it any easier to decipher who’s actually good in this league.
No team in the conference hasn’t faced adversity already this season, except for maybe Baylor, which has played a cupcake slate to this point.
Here is how I’m prioritizing a loaded week in the Big 12:
Nebraska at No. 3 Oklahoma (11 a.m., FOX): It’s more for the nostalgia. The game shouldn’t be nearly as exciting. Sooners by three touchdowns.
No. 15 Virginia Tech at West Virginia (11 a.m., FS1): The Mountaineers let an early-season marquee win over Maryland slip away, but this is their chance to get that signature game back right before visiting OU next weekend.
Oklahoma State at Boise State (8 p.m., FS1): The Cowboys haven’t played well through two weeks. A night game in Boise could either wake up the program or further its struggles.
⏰ On this day
Ten years ago today, OU beat Florida State 23-13 in Tallahassee. Click here to watch highlights from the dramatic Sooner win.
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2001. The Huskers were No. 3, while OU was No. 2. Nebraska won 20-10.
The game that felt like it like Nebraska might get the last laugh until OU rallied.