I guess now, in the aftermath, I realize why this Texas game was so dang-blasted important.
It wasn't about revenge, it was about proving who was right about Nebraska's departure from the Big 12.
Somehow, the winner of this game is proven to be the "winner" of the larger debate over conference alignment and who belongs where. Consider this piece from ESPN College pundit Ivan Maisel.
Time for a dope slap. All that discussion about No. 5 Nebraska going to the Big Ten for money, or stability, or competition, or academics, all of it overlooked the obvious reason that the Huskers made the move.
Texas is not in the Big Ten.
He then went on to wax poetic about Longhorn coach Mack Brown, who suddenly has turned into a college football genius again after the previous two weeks being criticized for his odd change of offensive philosophy after a run of success the last seven years.
Maisel is right. Nebraska is leaving for the Big Ten, in part, because Texas isn't there. But not because they can't beat the Longhorns on the field. They couldn't galvanize enough support to beat them in the board room. There were too many old Big Eight rivals jealous by NU's success (Kansas schools, Iowa State and Missouri) or more culturally aligned with the Lone Star State (Oklahoma schools) to stick with what had been successful in the Big Eight. So instead, they chose to recreate the Southwest Conference - only with less NCAA investigators sniffing around dirty programs in the state of Texas.
So it's Nebraska's fault that they didn't bend to Texas's will? Consider this from Omaha World Herald reporter Lee Barfknecht, who was there when the league was created.
It didn't take long for Nebraska to learn how things would work in the Big 12 Conference with Texas as a “partner.''
Step back to mid-December 1995.
The Big 12 was less than two years into existence, and still seven months from competition. The final wording for some of the league's major bylaws was up for a vote.
That's when Texas threw a hissy-fit and threatened to quit.
It's true. The Longhorns said they would withdraw if their ideas on initial-eligibility standards for incoming freshmen didn't become policy.
But now, Texas has won, which makes everything okie-dokie for the future of the Big 12. Right.
It would be naive to think that there is universal support for Nebraska's move to the Big Ten. Many see the change as attempting to destroy the balance of power in college sports. Of ruining the status quo. Of kicking old border rivals to the curb. Of trying to disband a conference.
Yeah, the way Texas tried to disband it before it even was started.
But that's okay because the men in the white Stetsons won on Saturday so all is right with the world.