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Losing Your Rivalry? In A Year You Won't Care

Rivalries may be dying, but things might stay the same for the Texas faithful.
Rivalries may be dying, but things might stay the same for the Texas faithful.

More rivalries are dying this year. The move by Missouri and Texas A&M to the SEC has killed two of the biggest rivalries in college sports, or at least that's the excuse being given. If honesty prevailed if only for a moment, the spite monster would raise its ugly head.

After 104 years, Kansas and Missouri won't be playing each other in basketball any time soon. Rivals since 1894, Texas won't be playing Texas A&M anymore in any sport, something that Aggie athletic director (and former Nebraska AD) Bill Byrne still blames on Texas.

From a Nebraskan's perspective, the break up is fun to watch. Being the first target of blame for the Big 12's alignment problems, the hand wringing and backbiting currently being done by fans is nothing more than a healthy helping of comeuppance for those we left behind.

But let me offer you some advice. It's good advice, the advice of experience - from someone who's already traveled down the road you're taking, from someone who's already spent a season as part of a new conference.

In a year, you won't care.

I realize that's hard to believe now, given as you are in the moment of still hating each other, blaming each other for the rivalry's demise, and trying to convince the other side that they'll miss you more than you'll miss them.

But trust me, it's true.

By the time the 2011 Nebraska football season rolled around, Husker fans were way more interested in the future than in discussing the past. There were new venues to see, new food (and beer!) to discover, and whole lists of college rosters to digest.

The discussions during the season revolved around the games being played rather than worrying about what was going on with former opponents. Husker fans found themselves somewhere close to despair because of the blowouts at Madison and Ann Arbor and in shock that Northwestern has captured the "NU" title by beating us in every sport (although we beat them in debate).

Texas fans might have thought they weren't so easily replaced. Not so, as conspiracy theories and paranoia struck the Husker fan base when a referee at Ann Arbor called roughing the punter on a clear flop, giving the Wolverines a first down at a critical juncture in that game.

There were plenty of fan-based discussions as well. I spoke with many Husker fans who said they'll never go back to Madison after they way they were treated by Badger fans or how shocked they were at the Wisconsin student section behavior.

And then there was Penn State. (I don't really have to say more about that, do I?)

Trust me, former enemies; you'll experience plenty of those moments too.

I'm sure when Missouri meets Arkansas for the first time there will be plenty of arguments about which state features the most meth labs. Aggies will celebrate when TCU beats Texas, but will spend more energy doing S-E-C chants during non-conference games and then wonder why they left the Big 12 when SEC conference play begins. Texas fans will do what they always do - wonder why their teams continue to do the least with the most (hey, at least one thing won't change!).

The bottom line - over the past year the moments were few and far between that I've spent thinking about Nebraska's former opponents. Even now, my energy is directed at wondering what will happen next season rather than the past.

It will be the same for you, so enjoy the hand wringing and backbiting as much as you can and try not to take things too seriously.

It won't be long and you'll forget all about it.