Op-Ed: Oklahoma Lost That Loving Feeling

... and Wisconsin Isn't Bringing It Back.

Nebraska fans, we need to talk. I know we've moved to a new neighborhood, and we're making new friends and I'm really proud of you for that. But there has been a debate percolating for a while that we need to discuss.

We found this today. This is very disappointing, Nebraska fans. So very disappointing.

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Let's break this down point by point:

Change the annual rivalry game opponent for the Cornhusker football team from the Iowa Hawkeyes to the Wisconsin Badgers

Did you know we're going to be playing both Iowa and Wisconsin every year now that the Big Ten is picking up the bankrupt Terrapins and Buttgers? It's true, I double-checked the calendar! Wisconsin is now in our division!

We the Cornhusker fans want a real rivalry game.

Actually, I have no problem with this. Football is more fun when you care about your opponent!

Not the forced rivalry game that the Big Ten Confrence has told us is our rivalry game.

Northwestern is truly deserving of our hate though! Those bastards keep using our NU abbreviation. We won it, fair and square.

Hailcorny_medium_medium

Sure Iowa is close to Nebraska, we share a border.

Oh, you meant Iowa. Sorry for the mean jab, Northwestern fans.

Anyways, I don't see the problem here though. Proximity works pretty well for Minnesota-Wisconsin, Texas-Oklahoma and Kansas-Missouri.

However, we need a rivalry game that matters.

Matters to what?

The Big Ten race? (Can't tell that one in advance, unless we want to be the NBA and pre-determine the outcome of games.)

Recruits? (Somehow I don't think either Wisconsin or Iowa will get kids' blood boiling about a game the day after Thanksgiving.)

Advertisers? (The game is already nationally broadcast on ABC and well, I'm not sure Wisconsin is going to make people give up on Black Friday shopping or cure "Day After Thanksgiving Hangover Syndrome" any better than an Iowa game.)

By signing this petition you support a Nebraska V. Wisconsin Rivalry game to replace the current dud of a game we have now.

So we don't like playing Iowa annually because it is forced and "boring" so our solution to fixing a "forced" rivalry is to replace it with another forced rivalry? Despite the fact that both games are to be played annually going forward?

Am I understanding this right?

Folks, as much as it'll hurt, I'm sorry to tell you that we have more in common with Iowa than we do with Wisconsin.

We hate each other because, more or less, we're the same people.

Iowa-Nebraska is a natural rivalry that already comes with a blood feud. We hate each other because, more or less, we're the same people. Iowa resents us for our grid-iron success, we hate Iowa for Carter Lake and Counciltuckey.

Our states compete in their major agricultural exports. We're both Plains states. Hell, the Iowa Hawkeyes were the original Cornhuskers!

Hell, we can't even talk about Iowa here without the Hawkeye crowd stopping by to share their unique observations about life.

And it's a significantly shorter trip to Iowa over Madison over the Thanksgiving holidays.

What does Iowa think about all of this?

Can I ask a question?

Where's the love for Wisconsin coming from, exactly?

Is it their curb-stomping of Nebraska in nationally televised games? Is it their elitism leading to Nebraska being booted from the AAU? Is it Barry Alvarez' blatant copying of the Nebraska blueprint?

Can someone please tell me?

Y'all realize that Wisconsin does not care about Nebraska, right?

They'd much rather play Minnesota or Iowa or even Michigan State ahead of us. Barry Alvarez doesn't even care about playing Nebraska - he wants the national exposure for his program. (Seriously, I'm surprised Alvarez hasn't just pushed for an afternoon game on Black Friday.)

And really, other than Madison's lakeside Terrace and downtown destinations, I don't get the fascination with the Badgers. Their fans are kind of boorish (nouveau rich, really), average drinkers (drinking lots of yeasty water from a can is hardly impressive) and the game experience is pretty uninspired.

Please stop trying to replace the Oklahoma "rivalry" with Wisconsin.

And folks, it has been three seasons. THREE. Not five. Not ten. Not thirty. Three.

Rivalries don't happen overnight. Nebraska's rivalries from the Big 8 days? Those developed over a hundred years or so of play. It has been three years.

THREE.

So tell me: how is Iowa, whose fans hate us as much as we hate them, a worse option than Wisconsin as our "rival"?

Here's my point: Please stop trying to replace the Oklahoma "rivalry" with Wisconsin.

Wisconsin is not Oklahoma. Wisconsin is not and never will be Oklahoma.

Oh, Oklahoma. Our beloved. Our one and only.

Our best friend forever...who scorned us for the Longwhorns. Do you remember that?

If Nebraska was a girl, we're the one pining for a guy who left us a long time ago.

If Nebraska was a girl, we're the one pining for a guy who left us a long time ago. Our friends would most likely be telling us to get over it, that there's other fish in the sea, but we're sitting there looking at old photo albums, listening to some Taylor Swift or something. Our friends just don't understand! Heck, we've even made a date with them! In six years! (Nevermind that none of the players in that series will actually have been alive for any of the real classic Nebraska-Oklahoma games.)

It's time to be honest with ourselves, Nebraska fans: we can't replace Oklahoma. That loving feeling we had?

It's gone. Our notion of a Rivalry like the one we had with Oklahoma is gone. Has been for a long time, but it is finally time to embrace that idea.

It's time to embrace that a rivalry can be completely and utterly hate-based.

That's how the Big Ten does rivalries and well, it's time to fit in. It's time to stop pouting and start joining in the fun.

Every rivalry has to start somewhere.

And there's a lot to hate about Iowa.

***

There is always an alternative to Iowa though:

Now that's something I could get behind.

- Salt Creek and Stadium

PS: Nebraska has only played an opponent on Black Friday since 1990 (except for the eight years where we played Iowa from 1890 to 1898). So you're bemoaning something that is just barely older than Lil' Red or the Tunnel Walk.

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