Coaches would like to see NU-OU game every year


Tuesday, October 24th 2000, 12:00 am
By: News On 6



Kevin Steele is a traditionalist. The Baylor coach admits it and he's proud of it. So when he thinks about Nebraska playing Oklahoma on Saturday, he's both happy and sad at the same time.

Happy that the two rivals are meeting again, sad because they don't play each other every year. And he's not the only one.

Several Big 12 coaches on Monday said it was unfortunate the league's schedule rotation prevents Nebraska and Oklahoma from meeting every season. Steele was just more adamant than the rest.

``I liked it the old way when conferences were not quite as big,'' he said. ``I'm all for the Big 12. I'm excited to be in it, but I'm just a traditionalist.

``Sometimes change is really good. I think it has helped in a lot of ways. But the fact that we sometimes miss Oklahoma-Nebraska, which I think is one of the greatest rivalries of all time, I don't know if that's good for college football.''

The Nebraska-Oklahoma game in Norman will be their first meeting since 1997. Because they are in different divisions, they play each other for two years, then go two years without meeting.

With Nebraska ranked No. 1 nationally and Oklahoma No. 3, this year's game is stirring memories of their classic battles of the past, when they met annually as members of the Big Eight.

``It's one of those great traditions,'' Kansas coach Terry Allen said. ``That's what college football is all about. We should do everything we can to preserve the great rivalries across the country.''

Count Texas coach Mack Brown in on that point, too.

``I think it's a real shame they don't play every year,'' Brown said. ``But as long as we're looking at the growth of conferences across the country, and it seems like the Big 12 is something people were looking for, I know it's changed a lot of traditional games.''

Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops said he watched the OU-Nebraska game every year while growing up in Ohio. He enjoyed seeing players like Joe Washington, Greg Pruitt and Johnny Rodgers and liked watching the coaching matchup between Barry Switzer and Tom Osborne.

``For people here it's a special game,'' Stoops said. ``We're excited in the fact it's special again. How they can work it out with the conference to play this game every year, that would probably be pretty difficult, being in different divisions and having a conference championship game.

``You might be able to do it if you did away with the conference championship game. Then there might be the possibility of playing a rival game like this every year. We'll let the conference officials worry about that.''

Nebraska coach Frank Solich was involved in many games with Oklahoma as a Cornhuskers' assistant and player. He saw what it meant to fans of the two schools and also to fans across the country.

``I think there are an awful lot of people out there that would love to see it continue,'' Solich said. ``There is such great tradition to the game, such great players have played in it. They've been some of the best games in the history of college football.

``So you don't have to be part of the program to appreciate what it was all about. I think people around the country who follow college football know what the game has been about. I'm sure if you ask those kind of people if they are glad Oklahoma and Nebraska are teaming up, the answer would be a resounding yes.''

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QUOTE OF THE WEEK I: ``He's not a very big guy, but he's got great heart. If we all played as hard and with the kind of substance Roman did, we wouldn't be 1-6 right now.'' Colorado coach Gary Barnett on 5-foot-6 punt returner Roman Hollowell, the Big 12's special teams player of the week.

QUOTE OF THE WEEK II: ``When you beat a 1-5 team, you don't need to tear the goal posts down. Is there a time and place? Yeah. But that would have to be a much more significant one than Saturday.'' Kansas coach Terry Allen, who asked students to stop when they tried to tear a goal post down after the Jayhawks' 23-15 victory over Colorado.

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EXTRA POINTS: Baylor took a beating physically as well as on the scoreboard in its 59-0 loss at Nebraska. Steele, who already has seen five offensive starters go down with injuries this year, said two or three more might miss Saturday's game at Texas. Two injured defensive starters should return, he said, but two others might not play...Texas A&M coach R.C. Slocum was pleased with every phase of the game in the Aggies' 30-7 victory over Iowa State. ``No question about it. That was the best overall team performance we've had,'' he said...Iowa State was so poor on offense the coaching staff did not even pick an offensive MVP. ``There wasn't anybody on our offensive team who played well,'' coach Dan McCarney said.