Tom Shatel of the Omaha World-Herald broke the news yesterday that Nebraska and Oklahoma have apparently reached an agreement in principal to play football in 2021 and 2022. The 2021 game would be in Norman and would mark the 50th Anniversary of the "Game of the Century" In 2022, the teams would play in Lincoln. The two teams last met in Nebraska's final Big XII game at the 2010 Big XII Championship game in Dallas.
These games won't have the same meaning the classic rivalry games carried back in the day; that pretty much ended when Barry Switzer left and then Texas took over the Big XII. It took Oklahoma nearly 10 years to recover in the post-Switzer era until Bob Stoops brought the Sooners back to prominence. Shortly after that, Nebraska suffered a similar setback, and Husker football still hasn't recovered completely. Looking ahead nine more years, it's impossible to know whether either or both teams will be any good when the two teams meet again.
Even so, it's still a good matchup to have on the schedule. The nostalgia alone makes it worthwhile, but in this day and age where college football teams schedule teams like Schmuckhead State for the home game revenue, a matchup between two traditional powers should always be celebrated. Yes, a conference title won't be up for grabs (barring the next round of conference realignment), but it still could influence the playoff standings.
The Nebraska-Oklahoma game changed after the Big Eight ended. Partly because of Oklahoma's, then Nebraska's, struggles, but also because the game was no longer an annual matchup. The nostalgia aspect has turned the matchup from fierce rivals to respected rivals. 20 years ago, if you wanted to make a Husker fan mad, all you had to do was play "Boomer Sooner". It doesn't carry that same stigma nowadays; heck, Husker fans probably now find "The Eyes of Texas Are Upon You" to be more nails-on-the-chalkboard-like. (Soon, it'll be "Hail to the Victors", but that's another discussion entirely. ) Sooner fans at the Crimson and Cream Machine seem to be looking forward to the future games as well.
For what it's worth, the two teams could meet much sooner than that. Some suggest a Nebraska-Oklahoma matchup in the Rose Bowl after this season. That would be absolutely great in my mind; I'd just be happy with a Big Ten championship.
Also in scheduling news, next year's Husker game at Southern Miss could now be played in Kansas City intead of Hattiesburg. Earlier reports that the game would be played in New Orleans apparently haven't panned out. The undercurrent is that Southern Miss is experiencing budget issues which aren't helped by an 0-9 football team. (Who predicted THAT?) Certainly ticket sales will be MUCH greater in a larger venue, especially one where it's a nice weekend drive. Arrowhead is certainly a great venue, and Kansas City is a great place to spend a weekend. But if Southern Miss is willing to sell the game, why not play the game in Lincoln? With the addition of an extra 5000 or more seats coming online next season, certainly there's even more money to be made if the game were held in Memorial Stadium.
Not that I dislike going to Kansas City, mind you. But if Southern Miss wants to sell the game, why not try Lincoln instead? Either option makes more sense than New Orleans. Certainly people who are willing to pay for airline tickets would prefer to head to New Orleans, but the potential crowd is much larger in Kansas City than in New Orleans.