Colorado has never heard of the Pac-12 conference.
Nebraska has never really felt at home in the Big Ten.
All buffs and huskers want to do is go out and play football. To brag about rights instead of money. As CU and Nebraska used to, back in the heyday of Bill McCartney and Tom Osborne.
In my dreams, Buffaloes and Cornhuskers are on the football field this weekend, blocking and tackling each other with passion. Play the game in Boulder. Or Lincoln. Or between two pick-up trucks in the parking lot of the Julesburg Family Market to cry out loud.
But in the grim reality of 2020, Folsom Field will sit lonely this Saturday. The battle song in Nebraska will not rock Memorial Stadium. Why? Because buffs and huskers will be forced to sit at home, the pressure on the glass, like misfit members of the Pac-1
Huskers and Buffs were going to play, dang it. CU linebacker Nate Landman tackles Luke McCaffrey, who is lined up at QB, runs back and receives for Nebraska. Wouldn’t that turn out to be fun?
Coach Scott Frost and Huskers are stuck in a bad marriage with Big Ten. Coronavirus stress has only exacerbated the relationship with the latest awkward moment revealed this week when Nebraska tried to recruit Tennessee-Chattanooga to visit Lincoln as a replacement for the COVID-affected Wisconsin Badgers on the plan, only to have the conference nix the idea.
In these pandemic times, two neighbors from neighboring states need each other more than ever. But now, a decade after Colorado and Nebraska dumped tradition and relevance to the mindless pursuit of money, Buffs and Huskers are bound by little but shared football misery.
Why did Nebraska and Colorado bolt Big 12? Hit me. I tried to warn the buffers that they had to think about it themselves. As I understand it best, the CU management felt that Boulder’s inflated property prices would only be improved by participating in a league where a 1,027-square-foot bungalow in Palo Alto, California, is currently listed at $ 1 , 9 million. The Huskers were apparently tired of beating Kansas State and reckoned they could monetize the TV revenue from games against Wisconsin.
So how does it work for you, CU and Nebraska?
On October 1, 2011, the Huskers played their inaugural game as a Big Ten member at Camp Randall Stadium, where 80,321 Wisconsin fans and I watched a former Rockies infielder named Russell Wilson pass the Nebraska silly in a 48-17 route. Since that day, it’s all been downhill for Nebraska football, which has only had one winning season since 2015 and has not finished being ranked in the national polls since 2012.
While McCartney predicted a decade ago that joining the Pac-12 would be a “Bonanza!” for the buffers, the move has banished CU football to the suburbs of Nowheresville. How bad has the last decade been? Let’s put it in context. Since 2011, the Buffs have won 39 games. Rice Owls, no idea about pigskin power plant, has won 43 times in the same time frame.
Yes, apologists whine the greedy Texas Longhorns refused to share revenue and ruined the Big 12 for both Colorado and Nebraska. Well, football programs in these god-for-things outposts in Stillwater, Okla .; Ames, Iowa; and Manhattan, Kan .; are all ranked today in the Associated Press’ top 25 poll. Buffs, Huskers and Longhorns? Nowhere to be found.
It’s almost Halloween in this messy, crazy year. The Buffers have yet to take the field, and the Huskers have played a stinking game – a 52-17 shellacking in Ohio State that reminded us (again) how far a once mighty program has fallen.
The Buffs and Huskers sold their football souls to end their rivalry, pull bets and seek the fools’ gold. Colorado and Nebraska messed up. Great time.
Arguments if you will. But that is a losing argument. For a decade, the proof has been on the scoreboard.
When CU finally kicks off this season on Nov. 7, Buffs will face UCLA in a game even the new Buffs coach Karl Dorrell, fired by the Bruins 13 years ago, says has “no particular significance.” Pandemically willing, Nebraska’s next scheduled competition is in Northwestern. Ho-hum.
There is not an honest college football fan between Omaha and the Netherlands who would not trade these two indescribable matchups for a renewal of hostilities between the Buffs and Huskers.
I miss Coach Mac and Dr. Empty.
Do you not?