Colorado vs. Nebraska
There was a time, albeit a brief one, where this game
actually meant something.
Following the break up of the annual Oklahoma/Nebraska match
up due to the creation of the Big 12, this became the regular-season finale.
And it wasn’t without its share of drama.
In 1997, when Nebraska was rolling its way to its third
national title in four years, an unranked Colorado team gave Nebraska all it could
handle and then some, narrowly losing the contest in Boulder, 27-24.
Then in 1998, Colorado went to Lincoln, once again unranked,
once again facing a ranked Husker team and yes, once again almost pulled off
the upset, going down, 16-14.
In 1999, yep, more of the same; Nebraska ranked in the top
five, Colorado not ranked at all and it took overtime for the Huskers to come
out victorious on the road, escaping with a 33-30 win.
Then in 2000, the Huskers were ranked in the top 10 and as usual, the
Buffs weren’t ranked at all. But CU managed to almost steal the victory here
as well, losing 34-32 when it was all said and done.
Ironically, it was arguably Nebraska’s best team since
former Head Coach Tom Osborne retired that Colorado beat the most soundly, the
Huskers’ 2001 squad going into Boulder undefeated and
|Sandra Bernhard, WITH make up
coming out with a 62-36
loss, then the worst loss in the history of the Husker football program.
The Buffaloes thought so much of the win, they actually
etched the score into their North-Division Title rings, a title which they
shared with the Big Red.
After that point, there were some fairly close games, but
nothing like the previous five years. Most of the ho-hum demeanor toward this
contest has been due to the fact that neither team was ranked when they
faced the other or Nebraska was ranked, but barely.
And with this game being technically irrelevant for
Nebraska, already having secured a spot in the Big 12 title game and Colorado,
already having said that they will have at least one more year of mediocrity
under Head Coach Dan Hawkins, this contest is about as attractive as Sandra
Bernhard, sans-make up.
But winning this game does have some meaning to both, even
if it doesn’t hurt or help their overall standing in the grand scheme of
For Nebraska, a win takes them to 9-3 on the season,
bettering last year’s regular-season record by one. It puts them in position to have
double-digit wins this year, which if they accomplished the feat, they
would have the most wins in a season since the 2001 run that ended in the national
For Colorado, it could be a potential springboard into next
season. You know, the same kind of springboard it was when they beat Nebraska
65-51 in 2007 and took the momentum of that huge win and lost to Alabama
in the Independence Bowl, which was followed by an impressive two-win season in conference
play as the Buffs finished the following year, 5-7 overall.
|Dan Hawkins wondering
how he has a job? We are too.
For Nebraska, a win could maintain the momentum from the
four straight wins as they get ready to face the top-five Texas Longhorns.
Considering how that game is expected to go, Nebraska could use all the help
they can get.
For Colorado, a win could help them sell more season tickets
for next season, which might allow them to buy out Hawkins’ contract next time around, something
they seem apparently unable to do right now, or how else could you justify
bringing a coach back with a losing record each of his four years at the helm.
For Nebraska, this game offers the opportunity to go against
a game-if-not-great Colorado defense, to try and figure out and work out some
kinks in the offensive progression, which really has been more offensive in the
figurative sense, because its progression has been slow to non-existent.
For Colorado, this is a chance to unveil and work on another 15 trick
plays, which will no doubt come in handy as they try and get that
program-making win over Colorado State next year, something they couldn’t manage to do
For Nebraska, this is a chance to stay in the hearts and
minds of bowl reps as they will vie for a shot at the
Holiday Bowl or at worst, the Cotton. Another nine-win season, along with
having one of the best defenses in the country and the best defensive player,
could go a long ways to doing just that.
For Colorado, this is another chance for the students at CU
and the Colorado fan base as a whole, to prove that they are amongst the vilest
in all of college football. As you may recall in that 2005 game, an entire
section of students had to be cleared after they refused to stop throwing stuff
onto the field.
|CU students keeping
So, you see that there is clearly a lot riding on the line
for both programs. For the Huskers it’s about continuing the momentum built
since the day Head Coach Bo Pelini arrived, the second-year man taking a team
with a losing record to a win in the Gator Bowl and nine wins his first season, and now to
another bowl, along with an appearance in the Big 12 title game.
For Colorado, this is a welcome opportunity to take
advantage of that 207 percent increase in snow pack around the region, which is a marked improvement from the
dismal snow-season of 2008.
Snowboard or skis? Snowboard or skis?
Man, I hate tough decisions.
So, don’t call this an irrelevant game or one that doesn’t
offer great payoffs for both programs. This is a classic in the making, to be
honest. Nope, technically, Nebraska could lose, and in the grand picture of
where they could play in the post season, it might not mean a thing.
But despite the fact that Coach Hawkins, in all of his
ignorance, has tried to diffuse a rivalry built on as much hatred as OU/UT ever
saw, neither program wants to lose to the other.
There’s nothing sexy about it, but hey, if Sandra Bernhard
can get in Playboy (I know you just ate…sue me), this game can mean something,
even if we have to reach like hell to figure out just what that meaning is.