CU Buffs and Cornhuskers should be playing football, instead of being stuck in conferences where they don’t belong. – The Denver Post
Colorado has never belonged in the Pac-12 Conference.
Nebraska has never really felt at home in the Big Ten.
All the Buffs and Huskers want to do is go out and play football. For bragging rights instead of money. Like CU and Nebraska used to, back in the glory days of Bill McCartney and Tom Osborne.
In my dreams, the 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 Julesburg Family Market parking lot, for crying out loud.
But in the grim reality of 2020, Folsom Field will sit lonely this Saturday. The Nebraska fight song won’t rock Memorial Stadium. Why? Because the Buffs and Huskers will be forced to sit at home, noses pressed against the glass, as misfit members of the Pac-12 and Big Ten, conferences where they’re no big deal.
The Huskers and Buffs should be playing, dang it. CU linebacker Nate Landman tackling Luke McCaffrey, who lines up at QB, running back and receiver for Nebraska. Wouldn’t that be flipping fun?
Coach Scott Frost and the Huskers are stuck in a bad marriage with the Big Ten. The stresses of coronavirus have 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-stricken Wisconsin Badgers on the schedule, only to have the conference nix the idea.
In these pandemic times, two neighbors from bordering states need each other more than ever. But now, a decade after Colorado and Nebraska dumped tradition and relevancy for the mindless pursuit of money, the Buffs and Huskers are bound by little except shared football misery.
Why did Nebraska and Colorado bolt the Big 12? Beats me. I tried to warn the Buffs they were nuts for even thinking about it. As best I understand, CU leadership felt Boulder’s inflated real estate prices would only be enhanced by joining a league where a three-bedroom, one-bath, 1,027-square foot bungalow in Palo Alto, Calif., is currently listed for $1.9 million. The Huskers were apparently tired of beating up on Kansas State and figured they could cash in on the television revenue generated by games against Wisconsin.
So how’s that working out for you, CU and Nebraska?
On Oct. 1, 2011, the Huskers played their inaugural game as a Big Ten member at Camp Randall Stadium, where 80,321 Wisconsin fans and me saw a former Rockies infielder named Russell Wilson pass Nebraska silly in a 48-17 rout. Since that day, it has all been downhill for Nebraska football, which has enjoyed only one winning season since 2015 and has not finished ranked in the national polls since 2012.
While McCartney predicted a decade ago that joining the Pac-12 would be a “Bonanza!” for the Buffs, the move has banished CU football to the suburbs of Nowheresville. How bad has this last decade been? Let’s put it in context. Since 2011, the Buffs have won 39 games. The Rice Owls, nobody’s idea of pigskin powerhouse, have won 43 times during 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 those god-for-saken outposts of Stillwater, Okla.; Ames, Iowa; and Manhattan, Kan.; are all ranked today in the Associated Press top 25 poll. The Buffs, Huskers and Longhorns? Nowhere to be found.
It’s almost Halloween in this messed up, crazy year.The Buffs have yet to take the field, and the Huskers have played one stinking game — a 52-17 shellacking at 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 up stakes and seek fool’s gold. Colorado and Nebraska messed up. Big time.
Argue if you want. But it’s a losing argument. For a decade, the proof has been on the scoreboard.
When CU finally starts this season Nov. 7, the Buffs will face UCLA in a game even new Buffs coach Karl Dorrell, fired by the Bruins 13 years ago, says has “no special significance.” Pandemic willing, Nebraska’s next scheduled contest is at Northwestern. Ho-hum.
There’s not one honest college football fan between Omaha and Nederland that wouldn’t trade those two nondescript matchups for a renewal of hostilities between the Buffs and Huskers.
I miss Coach Mac and Dr. Tom.