It's time once again for the annual "Who's Your Rival" column where I ask you,
Hey, who's YOUR rival?
If you answer "Oklahoma", you'd damned well better be over 60. I mean it.
Otherwise, there is no excuse for hanging on to Oklahoma as a rival. They jilted us for Texas when the Big 12 was formed in 1994. That was 21 years ago. If you cannot get past Oklahoma not longer being our rival I have to guess the you have serious long-term relationship problems in the rest your life.
If you answer "Wisconsin", I have to wonder if you're saying that because of Barry Alvarez. I get it, Barry Alvarez to Barry Switzer, kind of like finding another boy/girl just like the one that just dumped you because change is really scary.
Maybe it's because they're red. Maybe it's because they are known for running the ball. Maybe it's because they like beer, cheese and sausages. Maybe it's because they're in our division and we'll play them every season.
All of those would be valid reasons for picking Wisconsin.
If you answer "Northwestern", congratulations! You've probably pick the closest thing to a real rival that we have now in the Big Ten. We're 3-2 against the Wildcats since joining the Big Ten, with four of the five games being within three points.
Northwestern is the university, academically, that Nebraska would most like to emulate, and I can guess that their debate team would like to kick our asses. Northwestern and Nebraska are the only two FBS schools who have yet to win an NCAA tourney game in basketball.
It's like we're brothers.
If you answer Minnesota, you must really like history.
If you answer Iowa, what you congratulations, you've just chosen the dreaded MANUFACTURED RIVALRY, which because it is a MANUFACTURED RIVALRY means that it can't be a rivalry at all... at least, according to some people.
Contrarians. That's who does that kind of stuff, thinks that way, I ought to know because I'm one of them. Even a contrarian should take a look at their own views once in a while and determine whether or not they're right, to determine whether or not they're healthy, and if they're not, throw them away.
In this case it doesn't matter if Iowa is a manufactured rivalry.
Who doesn't hate Iowa?
They're stinky. They're black and gold just like some formal rivals from a past life who were also stinky; all of you who have problems with change might find some comfort in that.
Here we are with a shot at spoiling Iowa's best season in their school history with our worst team in more than a lifetime. You can live off that a long time if you're a Nebraska fan living around Iowa fans.
If you answered All Of The Above, congratulations! You chosen the most correct answer of them all!
I don't understand the concept of only having a single rival. This isn't a marriage. There is no requirement we have a single rival, although you do have to narrow it down a little to make some teams special.*
Teams in the Big Ten have multiple rivals. Minnesota plays Michigan for the Little Brown Jug, Iowa for Floyd of Rosedale and Wisconsin for Paul Bunyan's Axe. Indiana plays Purdue for the Old Oaken Bucket and Michigan State for the Old Brass Spittoon.
We've always been so stuffy about this, as if we're giving away something so special by declaring someone a rival. It's not that big a deal, is it?
Iowa a rival?
Damned straight they are, especially this year.
*Recall the following conversation from The Incredibles:
Helen: Everyone's special, Dash.
Dash: [muttering] Which is another way of saying no one is.
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Then There's This
Our Ugly Christmas Shirts are now a reality. Crewneck Sweatshirts along with t-shirts!