Nebraska athletics director Tom Osborne fondly remembers college football’s 1971 version of the “Game of the Century,” when the Cornhuskers knocked off Oklahoma 35-31 on their way to the national championship.
“I was an assistant, and Barry Switzer was an assistant (with OU),” Osborne recalls. The Cornhuskers-Sooners rivalry, in the old Big 8 Conference, was at its apex that season with the teams at the top of the polls. It was a time when the Nebraska-Oklahoma rivalry, which began in 1912, was almost always an end-of-season game with the league title — and sometimes a shot at the national championship — on the line.
“Lots of memories,” Osborne says. “It was always a very intense rivalry.”
Osborne and Switzer would go on to win national championships as head coaches at the two schools. Switzer later coached the Dallas Cowboys to a Super Bowl title. Osborne went into politics and served in Congress before returning to Nebraska as athletics director in 2007.
And the Sooners-Huskers’ rivalry? That’s over, at least for the time being — a casualty of the wave of realignment in college sports that is tearing apart or changing some traditional regional rivalries.