UPDATE: Nebraska has released a statement five hours after publication that they will not cancel the Oklahoma series. They do, however, remain cowards.
Growing up, I heard constantly about how important the OU-Nebraska rivalry was. I heard retellings of the battles for countless Big Eight titles, the moments that made legends out of Keith Jackson, Johnny Rogers, Switzer and Osbourne.
Above all, what made Oklahoma-Nebraska great was the respect between the two programs. It wasn’t malice like Texas. I’ve seen it first hand, the last time OU was in Lincoln: Oklahoma coming to town felt like we were welcomed like an old friend or a cousin that you haven’t seen in four years. Me and my Dad spent the weekend chatting with strangers about old games and the tradition of it all.
I couldn’t wait to see the matchup again, as I’m sure was the case with many Huskers. I couldn’t wait to experience that again, the rare show of goodwill and respect.
Any respect between these schools has been practically shattered as of this morning.
If Stadium’s Brett McMurphy is to believed and these reports are both true and followed through, Nebraska is officially dead to me. This would be one of the most diabolical moves in college football history and that is saying something.
As you may know, schedules are made decades into the future, as this one was, coming nearly immediately after Nebraska’s departure from the Big 12 in 2011. If you want a big time game, you have to get in early or else you will have no way of getting them.
If Nebraska pulls out mere months before the game, that’s where OU will be: completely empty handed and scrambling to get any program to agree to come to Norman, which is a tall task anyways. This is truly devastating for many reasons.
First off: a global pandemic that has, on top of many things, devastated small town business. Norman is built on the University of Oklahoma and many businesses desperately need the windfall of OU home games to survive. Sure, Nebraska would be a massive boost in terms of an obvious sellout and the biggest game at Memorial Stadium since Ohio State came to town. But even more than that would be the swaths of Husker fans pouring into Norman hotels, restaurants and bars all weekend. What was going to be a massive and VERY needed tourism weekend will have been robbed by the cowards in charge up in Lincoln.
The university will sell seats for Sooner fans to Oklahoma wax some random directional school, that is never a problem. But the tourism generated won’t be anywhere close to what Nebraska would bring.
On the football side of things, this also is a big hit: losing a power five opponent, even a sad, dead, husk of a team like Nebraska has been the past few years is a huge hit to OU’s College Football Playoff hopes. This is mainly due to the lack of options available, which could lead the Sooners to pick up a random from Conference USA or *gags* the FBS.
Not only is this a massive screwjob on OU, but it is a massive own goal on Nebraska’s end. If the Huskers cowardly break their decade long deal, the Sooners will do the same. This means no tourism coming in to Lincoln from thousands of Sooner fans.
Hell, it is a bad move this year. 2021 is the 50th anniversary of the Game of the Century, which Nebraska won. Wouldn’t highlighting your importance, no matter how long it was ago, not be a massive boost towards your image?
Probably not. Nebraska has lost any semblance of who they are. They have no traditional rivals to play, they aren’t remotely a player in the Big Ten and now, they have lost their last gasp of pride in themselves and their program. You can’t even trust them to hold up a deal anymore: at the first drop of trouble, they will cut you off for a home game to get that sweet, sweet money off the poor saps who worship that program.
Nebraska isn’t what they used to be. We know that and they know that.
Today confirmed that they never truly will be Nebraska again.