An interesting debate on KOZN-1620 AM radio in Omaha the last few days: If you could choose between a Big XII Championship or a blowout victory over USC or Texas, which would you choose?
Before you say anything, my preferred answer of "BOTH!!!" isn't an option. You have to choose one or the other.
With that in mind, I'll vote for the Big XII Championship and I'll tell you why. Nebraska doesn't need an attention marquee victory to get the attention of fans and recruits as much as they need to get back to winning championships. The 2001 Huskers are remembered not for their huge win over Oklahoma, but rather for not winning the conference title and still making the national championship game. The big win simply didn't win the Huskers a lot of respect.
Furthermore, let's say the Huskers were to blow out Texas and then not win the conference championship. That means that either (a) we lost to Texas in the rematch in San Antonio (negating the earlier victory), (b) we lost to Oklahoma or someone else in San Antonio (meaning that Texas had at least 2 conference losses, negating the meaning of the upset), or (c) we lost to one or more Big XII North teams and didn't even win our division.
Is that really an accomplishment?
Contrast that with bringing home a conference title and landing a spot in a prime BCS bowl game.
Furthermore, upset victories are fleeting. Iowa State's Jim Walden and Texas's John Mackovic both momentarily held off the boo-birds calling for their heads by pulling off upsets of Nebraska. As it turns out, it only bought them a little more time and really only delayed the inevitable firing. One Cyclone fan once confided in me that she almost wished that Iowa State hadn't upset Nebraska in 1992 because it meant that Jim Walden was going to continue as head coach for a while longer. Mackovic at Texas was in hot water until James Brown and the Bovines upset the Huskers in St. Louis in 1996, but then was fired anyway after a miserable 1997 season. And Dennis Franchione was on the hot seat last year until A&M upset the Bovines last Thanksgiving.
So I'll take the trophy, thankyouverymuch. It's the next step in the Huskers to make.
What's your vote?