Whoops, sorry, Buckeyes.
THE Ohio State University. Yes, I instinctively roll my eyes every time I hear this gem. Something tells me that many of my new fellow Big 10 fans have a similar reaction. FYI, it's actually on the top of their faculty paystubs. Don't ask me how I know, but trust me, it's there.
OK, got that jab out of the way, let's talk a little Buckeye/Husker history. Very little, as a matter of fact.
The two teams last met in in 1955 and 1956 with Nebraska travelling to Columbus for both contests. The Huskers were unranked both years and the Buckeyes were #6 and #8 respectively. The attendance hovered near 80,000 for both games and was the largest crowds in front of which Nebraska would play for over twelve years until the 1967 Sugar Bowl against Alabama.
However, if the NU '55 squad was intimidated, they didn't show it. Bill Glassford in his 7th and final season, almost pulled off an incredible upset finally falling 28-20 to a much superior opponent. After starting that season 0-2, they would rally to finish 5-1 in the conference, good for 2nd behind stinking Oklahoma.
They would return in 1956 with one-and-done coach Pete Elliott at the helm and the results would be much more as expected. With very little available in the way of historical documents regarding the contest, I'll let those plucky UNL yearbook staffers recount it for you: (my snarky remarks are in italics)
"An opening day crowd of 82,000 (act. 79,351 - who edited these things for accuracy in the 50's??) Ohio State fans saw a powerful Buckeye eleven grind out a 27-point half-time margin over the visiting Huskers. (Are there enough minutes in a half to "grind" 27 points on the board? I want to see the play by play.)
Nebraska's lone touchdown came in the 3rd period when tackle Jerry Peterson blocked an Ohio punt and fell on the ball in the end zone. The final score read OSU 34, Nebraska 7." ("Read" being the key here. The "grind" comment leaves me fairly sure that the writer was not in attendance that day. Just an outrage.)
Now, a little over 55 years later, we are prepared to do it again. And it's VERY odd that our paths never crossed at least in some lower tier bowl over the years. Don't think so? Since 1956, we've had regular season games against Illinois, Indiana, Minnesota, Iowa, Michigan St, Purdue, Michigan, Wisconsin & Penn State (some in more than one series) and we met Northwestern in a bowl game.
If you're counting at home, that's all of the rest of them.
If we had stayed in the Big XII, would Bo's presence have made an eventual home and home more or less likely? I'm thinking most coaches aren't exactly thrilled about meeting the alma mater and former team, even if there is bad blood and that obviously isn't the case here. They are nowhere to be found on our non-conference list thru 2017, so if it was happening again, it wasn't going to be anytime soon.
So, forget whatever reason we've avoided each other all these years, let's just enjoy the fact that fate has thrown us together again, finally. Expect a good crowd and a tough game, no matter who's on the field for the Buckeyes.
Or on their sideline.