There is only ONE Oklahoma

Friday, December 01, 2006

Switzer - Osborne: Now that was a rivalry

The big 12 Conference is finally getting their wish that they had originally thought should happen many times over, an OU/NU conference championship game. A game that will determine a clear cut conference champion, and one that many big 12 fans have been waiting to see.

While the weather in Kansas City Saturday night will be cold (in the low 20s), windy and snowy, Arrowhead Stadium is expected to be sold out. It reminds me of games from the past in this series and a couple of great coaches and the mutual respect they had for each other.

Neither Barry Switzer nor Tom Osborne built the programs at Oklahoma and Nebraska that they took to national championships.

The two coaches merely defined their two schools for a generation, with their personalities as much as their systems.

Two coaches who maybe coached in the most competitive era of this Rivalry.

But unlike many intense rivalries, both these coaches had a mutual respect for each other, their programs and what they stood for, and that continued even after they left their respective Universities.

Switzer became one of Osborne's biggest backers earlier this year, when Osborne unsuccessfully sought the Republican nomination for governor.

"Probably the best fundraiser I had was when Barry came up here," said Osborne.

On the field one of my favorite memories of this series was actually setup by an OU loss in Lincoln.

1978 remains a year that both Switzer and Osborne remember as well.

No. 1 OU, with Billy Sims, was 9-0 and running past opponents. Nebraska had dropped its opener to Alabama and won eight straight. Although Osborne had won 54 games in five-plus seasons, he was under fire for his 0-5 record against Switzer and OU.

That changed after a 17-14 victory keyed by the defense and one of the classic games of all time in the series.

Switzer even today, remembers those stats like the game was played yesterday. Nine OU fumbles, six lost – including one by Sims inside the Nebraska 5 late in the game.

But this great game would set-up another classic moment with the phone call from the Orange Bowl selection committee'shone call to Osborne letting him know that they had chosen the Sooners as the at-large opponent setting up a rematch. Even today, Sooner fans call this clip, 'the face'.

BTW, Oklahoma responded with a 31-24 win in that rematch.

A glance at the college coaching careers of OU's Barry Switzer and Nebraska's Tom Osborne:
Switzer Category Osborne
69 Age 69
16 Seasons 25
3 AP national titles 2
157 Wins 255
29 Losses 49
4 Ties 3
.837 Percentage .836
Dallas Cowboys Other job of note U.S. Congress
Jimmy Johnson Nemesis Barry Switzer
NCAA probe Major crisis Lawrence Phillips
Wishbone Offense I-formation

1 comment:

Gvav1 said...

Two legends in the company of Bear Bryant!

The rivalry between OU and Neb in those days was electric!