Nebraska and Oklahoma tangle again tonight in a renewal of one of the classic, and for a long time before the Big 12, traditional college football rivalries. Though, some of the excitement and vigor for this game has been lost since the formation of the Big 12 it is still one of the grand games that college football has to offer.
Even during down periods for one team or the other, each team has always played their guts out and left it all on the field. The games have always been hard fought, and hard hitting. Alas, 1978 game in Lincoln with NU's John Ruud nailing OU's Kelly Phelps on a kickoff return. Lest not forget, that by the same token many a OU defenders have leveled an NU ball carrier, i.e NU WB Nate Turner getting leveled in a game in Norman in the early 90's. OUCH!!
For the most part, the mutual respect, admiration, sportsmanship and class has transcended not only the players on the field, but also each teams respective fan base. In a rivalry so heated, for so long, and often with so much at stake NU and OU fans have been well known to tailgate with one another, share food, cocktails, hospitality, and do what they all like, talk about FOOTBALL!
In 2008, that is no different as I am experiencing first hand today.
I have made the trip to Norman many times and have always found OU fan's very hospitable, and nothing short of openly friendly to Nebraska fan's. So, very different than some of the absolute abhorrent, ridiculous, aggressive and out right mean spirited behavior that NU fan's experience in other locales in the Big 12.
Most notably from a fan base in the Big 12 north, with a state and team situated to the west of Nebraska. They always seem to be screaming, "We are Nebraska's real rivals." NOTE...if you have to scream it, and you're the only people saying so, that doesn't make it so.
So, my hat goes off to all the OU fans for a once again splendid experience in Norman, regardless of the outcome of the game! Kudos!
Go Big Red!!!!