Nebraska-Missouri: Big 12 Rivalry Is Huge, Winner Earns Small Edge in North

Bugeatersteve StuchlikCorrespondent IOctober 6, 2009

I know some of your dyed-in-the-wool fans are screaming at me for calling the Missouri game a rivalry game—that has to be reserved for Oklahoma—but let’s look at some cold hard facts for a couple of minutes before you call me crazy.

For one, over the past nine games of this series, dating back to the beginning of this decade, the series record against the Tigers currently stands at five to four in favor of the Big Red.

Mizzou has won the last two by an average of 47-12—now if that doesn’t get you fired up for this game, what else will?

Let’s also remember that the Tigers are the two-time defending Big 12 North champions and that they have beaten the Huskers three of the past four games. Maybe coach Bo Pelini doesn’t want to call this matchup a rivalry, but all the required ingredients are in the kitchen. 

I know that pussy crybaby Chase Daniel is no longer around to cry like a 10-year-old that his older sibling “is looking at him,” but I believe that a lot of you are really ready for the Huskers to extract a bit of revenge on our behalf. You won’t find anyone around the South stadium talking about any revenge, but I’ll bet it is in the belly of several players.

Besides the most recent outcomes, these two are divisional opponents, so they will meet every year, which can only help to cultivate the matchup. They are Border States separated by the Missouri river. We don't get Oklahoma every year anymore and never will as long as we are both in the Big 12.

There was the Blaine Gabbert recruit commitment switch two years ago, the aforementioned “bad blood” with Daniel, and several historical plays such as the “bummerooski” in 1975 and the “Wiggins/Davison” off the foot catch as time expired in regulation in 1997.

What has been missing for the longest time is something at stake. For the first time in a long time the winner of Thursday’s national televised game will have a leg up on the Big 12 North title.

Yeah, I know many will say what about Kansas, but think about it for a minute: Does “KANSAS” really strike you as a potential “rival?” I thought so.

For the past several years Colorado has made attempts to become Oklahoma’s replacement, but that matchup has not come close to living up to billing. Colorado would like it to be, but it doesn’t even come close.

And yeah, Kansas might have a say-so in this year’s Big 12 North, but IMHO, this will be their last year to be in contention for the division hunt. That leaves Missouri as the “last man standing.”

In closing, this is a game that could go a long way towards defining coach Pelini and his Huskers. The key to this game is playing with controlled emotion. Be fired up to play on the national stage, but also play under control with no stupid mistakes, missed assignments, or boneheaded penalties at critical times.

We will see if Zac Lee has learned from the road game at Virginia Tech and if he is capable of leading this team. Finally, is coach is ready to award the Blackshirts to the defense, which ranks first nationally in scoring defense, in order to stoke the fires?

I can’t think of a better time to award them than for a national prime time game with our new rival in the 2009 Big 12 opener. I see the Huskers in a close 24-21 win, GBR, Bug OUT!