The last college football game of the 2009 season is upon us this evening - the BCS National Title game between the Texas Longhorns and Alabama Crimson Tide. While our beloved Huskers aren't directly involved in the game, we will be hearing (repeatedly, most likely, until we plot the deaths of every announcer and pundit involved or maybe you've already gotten there) about that one second that was brought back from the dead after the Big 12 title game had ended. ESPN will replay the last minute or so of the game and it will bring back all those feelings about how close we were to being champions.
Texas comes into the national title game as the underdog, a lot of that having to do with the hurt that the Blackshirts put on them in the Big 12 title game. The fact that the defense shut them down so badly has lead pundits to question Texas' offense rather than giving the Huskers credit for having an exceptional defense. No shock there, though, that's how the media works - tearing down anything on top and building up anything that's on the bottom - it's how they create stories that grab people's attention.
There's also a double standard at work here. For some reason, if a Big 12 game ends up as a low-scoring defensive affair, it's because the teams weren't very good, their offenses were flawed. If a SEC game ends up as a low-scoring affair (a redundant statement, mostly) it's because the teams are all great, the players are great and the conference is the greatest ever, yada yada yada.
I most likely will be rooting for Texas (I'm saying "most likely" because it just might happen that seeing that last second against Texas pisses me off so much that instead of rooting for them I wish the Longhorns would get destroyed). I tend to root for the other Big 12 teams in most their games for reasons of familiarity and the belief that if the rest of the conference is winning it ultimately makes Nebraska look better. The latter concept is especially true in tonight's game.
If Texas can score points against Alabama - another team with a great defensive line but unlike Nebraska and Oklahoma only an average pass rush - then maybe people who weren't paying attention to our Huskers might realize how special our defense was this season. The adverse will be true if Alabama holds Texas under 13 points, and it will be much worse if the Crimson Tide blow the Longhorns off the field. On top of that, we'll have to hear about SEC domination all over again.
There are a lot of Husker fans who wouldn't root for the Longhorns if they were the last team on earth and I don't blame them. Given the success they've had against us, and all the breaks they've had, it's hard not to feel that way.
As for Alabama, well, they have more national titles than Nebraska. We have five, they claim 12 (or 16, depending upon whom you want to believe). They have the man recognized as the greatest college football coach of all time, Paul Bear Bryant, while we have the actual greatest college football coach of all time in Tom Osborne. God only knows what kind of award they'll make for Nick Saban should Alabama win tonight, but I'm sure that it'll be huge, probably a life-size solid-gold statue of the merc hisself complete with 10-carat diamonds for dimples.
Then there's the bizarre level of conference allegiance amongst SEC fans, the ability for them to take collective credit for anything done by any team in their conference their own. Perhaps that's the result of having a conference that's as as old as carpetbagging, but I am not looking forward to hearing S-E-C chants from tomorrow night's crowd, should the game came to that.
Add all this up, even the hate you have for Texas, and I have to ask - if you're rooting for the Crimson Tide and you're a Husker fan, why?
(CN will be running an open thread this even if for no other reason than we can get together and take shots at both teams. Plus, it's a long offseason. )