The 1971 Game of the Century reunion affirmed how special the OU-NU rivalry truly is.
NORMAN, Okla. --
Maybe the Oklahoma-Nebraska rivalry is not what it used to be.
In the Big Eight days, the annual grudge match between the Sooners and Cornhuskers typically decided the conference champion and often had even bigger implications. Now, with the two tradition-rich programs in separate divisions of the Big 12, the two schools meet just twice every four years.
And while much has changed, one constant remains between OU and NU -- the respect between the two schools and their football programs.
There has never been a better example than last weekend's Game of the Century reunion, which included representatives from both sides of the historic battle in 1971.
former players and coaches mingled and reminisced Friday evening at the Switzer Center, it was evident that the winner and loser of that game did not matter. Sure, there was the expected banter from the Nebraska side,
but it was all overshadowed by the coexistence of former adversaries.
Both sides understand that the game, and more importantly the OU-Nebraska rivalry, would not be what it is without the other's contribution.
They understand the impact their 1971 meeting had on college football. Perhaps no other game preceded with so much hype lived up to its billing more than that one. A common theme heard around the room Friday evening was how well the game was played on both sides.
And that mutual respect is what makes this rivalry so special and sets it apart from so many others.
No, maybe the Oklahoma-Nebraska rivalry is not what it used to be, but last weekend's reunion affirmed that it will always remain as one of the most revered in college football.
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Guerin Emig of the Tulsa World
: "Amid the storytelling, backslapping and gut-busting that was the "Game of the Century" reunion Friday night, Barry Switzer said it best, as he typically does: "We damn sure couldn't do this with Texas." Read More...
Barry Trammel of the Oklahoman
: "'This is incredible,' said Joe Wylie, an OU halfback in 1971. "This has got to be a unique event, to invite the opposing team down when you lose." But that's the magic of this masterpiece game that refuses to die. Read More...
Barry Trammel of the Oklahoman
: "On Nov. 25, 1971, the showdown labeled the "Game of the Century" more than lived up to its billing. Friday night, OU hosted a reunion for players from both teams. Here are some of their memories of that memorable game." Read More...
From the Oklahoman
: "Players, coaches, trainers and other team personnel were recognized at halftime, to varying degrees of applause. The biggest cheers: 1. Barry Switzer. 2. Tom Osborne." Read More...
Blair Kerkhoff of the Kansas City Star
: "'When you think of this game, you think of these programs and the respect they always had for one another,' Castiglione said. 'It's unique.'" Read More...
Tom Shatel of the Omaha World-Herald
: "I miss Oklahoma-Nebraska because of what it represented. It wasn't a rivalry. It was a relationship." Read More...
Brian Rosenthal of the Lincoln Journal Star
: "It's not just the '71 game, either. It's those many Thanksgiving weekend battles that decided Big Eight championships and set up national title games." Read More...