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Big Ten Countdown: 55 - The Orange Bowl


On January 1st, 1955, Nebraska played Duke (yes, that Duke) in the Orange Bowl.  They lost 34-7.  The Huskers' had 84 yards rushing and were 1-for-9 passing for 26 yards. They had two picks to go along with their one reception. Back in those days, a school couldn't go to the Orange Bowl in subsequent years. The Dukies hammered us that day. It's funny because Oklahoma was a monster back in those days.  The Sooners won the conference title, but they didn't even get to go to a bowl game after the 1954 season because they went to the Orange Bowl after the 1953 season.

Since 1968, the Big 8 champion was tentatively tied to the Orange Bowl and getting to the Orange Bowl was the goal of every Big 8 school. It was very similar to B1G and PAC-12 schools striving for the Rose Bowl. This changed in the 1990's when the Bowl Alliance was created in an attempt to match up the two best teams at the end of the year and when the BCS was formed, the ACC received the automatic tie-in for their champion to go to the Orange Bowl.

Nebraska has played in the Orange Bowl 17 times. Only Oklahoma has played in it more (18 times) and Miami comes in third with 9 appearances. The Husker's have won eight games and lost nine. (The year below is the season that the Orange Bowl was played.)

1954 Duke L 34-7

1963 Auburn W 13-7

1965 Alabama L 39-28

1970 LSU W 17-12

1971 Alabama W 38-6

1972 Notre Dame W 40-6

1978 Oklahoma L 31-24

1981 Clemson L 22-15

1982 LSU W 21-20

1983 Miami L 31-30

1988 Miami L 23-3

1991 Miami L 22-0

1992 Florida State L 27-14

1993 Florida State L 18-16

1994 Miami W 24-17

1996 Virginia Tech W 41-21

1997 Tennessee W 42-17

It's hard to believe that Nebraska hasn't been to the Orange Bowl in almost 15 years.  It was our post-season home for most of the 80's and 90's. I'm fortunate enough to have been to the Orange Bowl, twice. I got to see the 1996 team take apart Virginia Tech in a half empty stadium and a bunch of drunk Tennessee fans in 1997. Peyton Manning didn't look too good that night, either.

Well, the days of the Orange Bowl are long gone, especially with the move to the B1G. Now instead of chucking oranges onto the field during the Oklahoma game, we get dream of biting the rose after the conference title game in early December. I think I'll be ok with that.