Let me take you back to August 2020. The pandemic was in full swing. College athletics conferences were considering canceling entire seasons. The Big Ten, along with the Pac-12, had canceled their football seasons. Fans were irate. Especially fans of the University of Nebraska. Parents gathered to protest the decision. Players sued the conference over their right to play. The school floated the idea of going independent because they needed to play so badly.
And you know what? They won! The Big Ten held a football season in the fall as God intended. Nebraska played an eight game season, going 3-5 with wins over Rutgers, Purdue and Penn State three teams that finished with a combined record of 9-15.
More importantly, they made $600,000 on cardboard cutouts. The lesson? Never doubt what the Nebraska Cornhuskers are willing to do to play big-time college football.
So why is Nebraska suddenly trying to get out of a scheduled game against Oklahoma? A game that has been scheduled for September 18, 2021 since November 2012.
If this is true, it is one of the weakest moves in college football history. Less than a year ago this school whined louder and longer than any other school about the idea that a single game would be canceled in the middle of a public health crisis.
It makes no sense. Vaccines are here. President Joe Biden and Dr. Anthony Fauci both went on television yesterday and said that if the American people remain vigilant, things will start to get back to normal this summer. Heck, by the time the 2021 football season comes along, we could have full stadiums and no one would even have a problem with it.
And yet suddenly the Huskers are trying to duck the Sooners? Why? Because Oklahoma finished last season as a top ten team in the nation? We're not talking about a cross-country flight for a random game. This is a storied rivalry! Just listen to the athletic directors back when this game was scheduled nearly a decade ago.
""Classic rivalries like Oklahoma-Nebraska are part of college football's historic fabric," Sooners athletic director Joe Castiglione said in a statement Thursday. "The ability to rekindle a fabled series between two tradition-rich programs and two extremely loyal and passionate fan bases was very important to both universities.""
""Our rivalry with Oklahoma has been one of the great traditional matchups in the history of college football," Nebraska athletic director Tom Osborne said. "The games between the two schools were generally to decide a conference championship, and many times helped determine the national champion. Those matchups were always played with great intensity on the field, but with a great deal of respect from both sides and among the fan bases.""
So what is it, Nebraska? College football and all its traditions are the most important thing in the world, or you're happy to throw that out the window because you're afraid to visit Norman, Oklahoma to get your asses kicked? I mean, it's a shorter drive than Uzbekistan.
This is absolutely the most cowardly thing a football program could possibly do. Does this mean they also want out of the game they agreed to play in Lincoln in 2022? How about that home-and-home in '29 and '30 that they agreed to in 2016? Do Bill Moos and Scott Frost need to see how the recruiting classes look in 2028 before they make a decision? Why would any team bother with Nebraska if they pull out of this game? That's something Nebraska will have to figure out going forward.
UPDATE: Oklahoma has every intention of playing this game. It is now on Nebraska to confirm or deny this report.