November 15, 2006

Rivalry Defined

ri‧val  / noun, adjective, verb, -valed, -val‧ing or (especially British) -valled, -val‧ling.
1.A person who is competing for the same object or goal as another, or who tries to equal or outdo another; competitor.
2. A person or thing that is in a position to dispute another's preeminence or superiority: a stadium without a rival.

In light of this weekend's ESPN hyped "Battle of the Ages", you will hear lots of talk this week about "the greatest rivalries in sports." You'll hear about North Carolina and Duke. You'll hear about Yankees vs. Red Sox. You'll hear about USC and UCLA. You'll hear about just about every set of sports teams that play a meaningfull game on an even semi-annual basis.
I'm not here to tell you that Ohio State vs. Michigan this week isn't a big game. It certainly is. I'm not here to say to you that Ohio State and Michigan fans don't hate each other, because for the most part they do. But what I can tell you about is my own personal take in rivalry...for two reasons. For one, because Nebraska fan doesn't know the first flipping thing about rivarly. And second, because my favorite team is involved in what I feel is the greatest rivalry of all time. (Work with me here).

To me, rivalry is what gives sports life. Without it, a football game is no more interesting to me than a game of UNO attack with your grandma's red hat society friends. What I mean by this is the actual vested interest you have in a game because you dislike somebody or some group of somebody's so actully go out of you way to hate them. .
If you ask Husker fan, they only have one true rival, and that is Oklahoma. That's interesting to me, because I'm sure Nebraska would rank MAYBE 3rd on the list of Oklahoma's rivals, behind Texas and Oklahoma State. (And maybe Tulsa on a down Nebraska football year.) So who is Nebraska's rival? Kansas State? They have Kansas. Colorado? Not really. They play Colorado State every year for a "rivalry" game. Iowa? They're in another conference. Missouri? yeah right. Kansas? They have Missouri.

So WHO IS Nebraska's rival? The answer? Nobody. That is your whole problem. You people have absolutely nobody to tell you how much you much they dispise much you resemble a steaming pile of dog shit...OTHER than me. You have no other opposing team red-marking your rifle team's visit just so they can scream you down. There are not "Huck the Fusker" shirts as KU fans have "Muck Fizzou" shirts that they wear to any sporting event they can find. There are no anti-Nebraska fans who follow your every move hoping you fail....just me. I am your rival. I am your Michigan or Ohio State. Chew on that for a few minutes.

What the hell would I know about a rivalry? Anybody within 100 miles of Kansas City will tell you the power of rivarly. As a Missouri fan, I'm WELL aware of the hundreds of thousands of Kansas, Kansas State and Illinois fans who hate my team. I'm aware of the t-shirts they make. I"m aware of their little fark pictures of my team's players and coaches. I'm aware of the websites they build mocking my program. I'm down with it. I enjoy it. I thrive on it. It's what makes sports great. Anytime a discussion about two mediocre NCAA football teams instantly turns into a Civil War slavery've got yourself a good rivalry.

Feel free to prove me wrong...but as Michigan and Ohio State battle it out this weekend..and legions of their fans profess their hatred toward each other...tell me who you hate Husker fan. Why on earth do you not get it? Why don't you understand that this is a great part of sports that you are missing out on? Why don't you see how annoying it is to have 100% of fans in a particular area all root for the same team?

It's boring
It's annoying
It's Un-American.

It's the way it is.

(Thanks to for the Truman pic)


Anonymous obsessed husker fan said...

Uhhh... no offense AJ, but as much as you would like to think you are Nebraska's only rival, please consider that only like 5 husker fans even know about your site. But thanks for playing. Also, Missouri is completely irrelevant in just about every way, but congrats on thinking that you are bitter rivals with what, 4 different schools? Thats cool.

2:10 PM  
Blogger AJ said...

5 eh?

So out of 1500-2000 hits per day...ONLY 5 are Husker fans? Yeah...I buy that.

Your knee-jerk slap at Missouri is pointless. I bring them up because I relate it to personal expierence. I said you don't understand...and you've proven my point.


PS - I said "schools who hate Missouri" NOT Rival. Shit, I even posted the dictionary definition for you and you still got it wrong.

2:12 PM  
Blogger JGerardi said...

One thing, being a Colorado grad/fan, I can honestly say that if you ask any one of us "who is your rival" they will immediately answer "Nebraska". Problem is, most NU fans (at least the one's who are most vocal) refuse to acknowledge CU as a true rival and will scream OU at the top of their lungs, still living a dream from the eighties when that game actually mattered (except for one brief week in 2001).
My least favorite thing about CU/NU week (week and a half actually) are the incessant board write ups watching CU and NU fans argue about whether or not they are REALLY rivals. Who gives a shit. On that scale at least the team that is your rival is the one you want to beat the worst. I have subscribed to Husker Illustrated on and off for the better part of 15 years because I hate those guys so much and want so badly to beat them every year (more times than not I am dejected, I'll save you Huskers the swing at my softball). I do think NU is kind of in a rival limbo since 96 where their one debateable rival (OU) was taken away two out of every four years and became preoccupied with a much bigger game (UT), combined with the fact that they just dominated CU from 91 to 2001.
Anyone, fuck em. Go Buffs.

3:01 PM  
Blogger AJ said...

It's not Husker fan's fault they have no natural rival. I'm not saying it is. I"m just saying they don't understand the pure hatred of having a true rival.

That's all.

3:17 PM  
Blogger JP Anderson said...

Nebraska leads the CU series 45-17-2. That hardly qualifies as a rivalry.

Ask Switzer who his biggest rival was at OU. Just because the Big 12 robbed the country of the best rivalry in college football doesn't mean it never existed. Much to your chagrin, you Husker hatin' no talent ass clown.


KSU will never be a rival to Nebraska. Not until they freakin' win something. Their trophy case is as empty as BHG's noggin.

3:21 PM  
Blogger AJ said...

God I love that Va-Tech/Miami picture. Any excuse to print that is worth it.

3:32 PM  
Blogger Tee-dub said...

I can't completely agree with you this time, AJ.

I do agree that Nebraska has no 'true' rival, or at least has no mutual rivalry with one team. Oklahoma will never consider Nebraska its real rival. But you'll agree that this isn't so unusual. For example, Oklahoma State considers Oklahoma its chief rival; yet OU points to Texas as its big rivalry game. Texas A&M, by the way, also points to Texas as its rival and its must-win game. Michigan State claims Michigan is its big rivalry game, but any Michigan fan will tell you that Ohio State is the big game. Every year, Princeton's 'big game' is against Yale. Yet Yale's big game is against Harvard. I could go on, but you get my point.

I also disagree that nobody else in the world (other than you) hates Nebraska and its fans. Ask any Colorado Buffalo fan which team he considers his big rival, and the answer is invariably Nebraska. (The fact that Colorado State says Colorado is its rival only proves my first point, by the way.)

Last, if you think 'hatred' of another team is what makes a rivalry, I certainly hope you're wrong. I like to think that I passionately support my team, but when I grow to actually 'hate' any other team or its fans, I've lost all perspective. As you've said so eloquently before, it's only a damn game, with a bunch of kids playing it. Quit taking it and yourselves so damn seriously. If a silly football game causes you to hate another human being, it's time to stop watching.

By the way, the best rivalry in all of sports, for my money, is the annual Army Navy football game. And there is no hatred involved in it; if you think there is, you're mistaken. It never has bowl implications or concerns anybody beyond its own fans and participants, but that doesn't matter. It's the biggest game in the world to the players and fans--it's the very definition of a rivalry. But neither school 'hates' the other. Hatred has nothing to do with it.

4:03 PM  
Blogger AJ said...

Agree on Army-Navy...although the deep rooted hatred isn't there. There's too much respect involved. (Well...maybe not)

I see your point, but Nebraska doesn't fit into any of those equasions. Does ANY CU or KSU fans consider Nebraska a rival? And remember..this is more than football..this is everything.

4:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


You really are a chunk of art. I am really supprised that a college graduate (such as you) thinks up and prints the crap you throw out there. But I am sure I can count on being one many Husker fans that come home after a long day at work, read your shit and conclude that my day was not so bad after all.

Bring on the hate, It makes my day!


7:33 PM  
Blogger Big Head said...

What? You don't think Iowa is a Husker rival? We would never duck Iowa. Those guys are a bunch of ethanol loving hicks. Jamaal Lord could have been better than any QB Iowa has had. Nebraska would destroy Iowa every year like we almost did Texas. I mean, come on AJ, we beat K-State, who beat Texas, so that means that we could have won the BCS last year, which means we could be going for Back-to-Back BCS titles this year, so we would have had a better recruiting class, and we could have beat Oklahoma State and USC (since Texas beat them anyway in the BCS last year, and we beat K-State, who beat Texas), and then we would have beat the "winner" of Ohio State-Michigan by more than 70.

NU's tough nonconference schedule every year means we don't have time to face a Nancy like Iowa. I don't have time to think. I have to work on my letter to the NCAA to get Sam Keller another 4 years of eligibility since he hasn't gotten to experience the real fans in Lincoln for four years.

-A Husker fans view on "rivals"

9:36 PM  
Anonymous bart said...

Give me a break, you don’t have to be a ‘rival’ in everything to be a rival….. In fact, you can have a different rival in every sport if you want to. It all depends upon the history and the competition for each sport.

Nebraska Championships:
Men’s Gymnastics (8)
Football (5)
Bowling (4)
Women’s Track (3)
Women’s Volleyball (2)

Let’s just focus on football (so we can skip the Men’s Gymnastics discussion). And I will take the Nebraska fans at their word that Oklahoma is their biggest ‘rival’. However,,,,,,,,,,

The Sooners don’t feel the same way.
OU history and tradition:
Red River Rivalry: The OU-Texas Game
No mention of Nebraska or Tom Osborne (or Frankie or Billy for that matter)

Since 1960
Nebraska is 20(W)-23(L) vs. Oklahoma
Very close but (8) of those wins were against Gary Gibbs, Howard Schnellenberger, and John Blake….. I don’t think you should get to count those wins since K-State got all of those coaches fired. But I digress.

Barry Switzer was 12(W)-5(L) against Tom Osborne
Bob Stoops is 4(W)-1(L) against Nebraska

Since they don’t play every year, it is tough to call it a big rivalry anymore. And since OU thinks of UT as their biggest rival, I don’t think it was ever an all-time rivalry. It was just a really big game.

From my experience, Nebraska is probably our (K-State’s) biggest football rival and not KU (we expect to beat KU every year). Even though in basketball, KU is our biggest rival. And I’m sure if you ask Nebraska fans, OU is #1, CU is #2, and MU or KSU would be #3 in football. And I think rivalries can change over time as the competition changes. For example, when I was in college KU was our biggest rival mostly because that was the only team we had a chance to beat.

Actually, I don’t really care who thinks who is a rival. I’m just waiting to see the carnage after CU beats NU by 3 points next week.

9:43 PM  
Anonymous bart said...

Some OU vs. NU history if you're bored... It is performance appraisal time here and I can't do another one.
There were a lot of classic match-ups when Switzer was at OU.

2006 NO GAME
2005 nr Oklahoma nr NU h
24 - 31 (L)
2004 #2 Oklahoma nr NU @
3 - 30 (L)
2003 NO GAME
2002 NO GAME
2001 #2 Oklahoma #3 NU h
20 - 10 (W)
2000 #3 Oklahoma #1 NU @
14 - 31 (L)
1999 NO GAME
------------Stoops starts
1998 NO GAME
1997 nr Oklahoma #1 NU h
69 - 7 (W)
1996 nr Oklahoma #5 NU @
73 - 21 (W)
1995 nr Oklahoma #1 NU h
37 - 0 (W)
1994 nr Oklahoma #1 NU @
13 - 3 (W)
1993 #16 Oklahoma #2 NU h
21 - 7 (W)
1992 nr Oklahoma #12 NU @
33 - 9 (W)
1991 #19 Oklahoma #11 NU h
19 - 14 (W)
1990 nr Oklahoma #10 NU @
10 - 45 (L)
1989 nr Oklahoma #6 NU h
42 - 25 (W)
------------Switzer end
1988 #9 Oklahoma #7 NU @
7 - 3 (W)
1987 #2 Oklahoma #1 NU h
7 - 17 (L)
1986 #3 Oklahoma #5 NU h
17 - 20 (L)
1985 #5 Oklahoma #2 NU @
7 - 27 (L)
1984 #4 Oklahoma #1 NU h
7 - 17 (L)
1983 nr Oklahoma #1 NU @
28 - 21 (W)
1982 #11 Oklahoma #3 NU h
28 - 24 (W)
1981 nr Oklahoma #5 NU @
37 - 14 (W)
1980 #9 Oklahoma #4 NU h
17 - 21 (L)
1979 #8 Oklahoma #3 NU @
14 - 17 (L)
1978 #1 Oklahoma #4 NU h
17 - 14 (W)
1978 #4 Oklahoma #6 NU bowl
24 - 31 (L)
1977 #3 Oklahoma #11 NU @
7 - 38 (L)
1976 #8 Oklahoma #10 NU h
17 - 20 (L)
1975 #7 Oklahoma #2 NU @
10 - 35 (L)
1974 #1 Oklahoma #6 NU h
14 - 28 (L)
1973 #3 Oklahoma #10 NU @
0 - 27 (L)
----------Switzer start
1972 #4 Oklahoma #5 NU h
14 - 17 (L)
1971 #2 Oklahoma #1 NU @
35 - 31 (W)
1970 nr Oklahoma #3 NU h
28 - 21 (W)
1969 nr Oklahoma #16 NU @
44 - 14 (W)
1968 #14 Oklahoma nr NU @
0 - 47 (L)
1967 #5 Oklahoma nr NU h
14 - 21 (L)
1966 nr Oklahoma #4 NU @
9 - 10 (L)
1965 nr Oklahoma #3 NU h
21 - 9 (W)
1964 nr Oklahoma #4 NU @
7 - 17 (L)
1963 #6 Oklahoma #10 NU h
29 - 20 (W)
1962 #10 Oklahoma nr NU @
6 - 34 (L)
1961 nr Oklahoma nr NU h
14 - 21 (L)
1960 nr Oklahoma nr NU @
17 - 14 (W)

9:49 PM  
Anonymous bart said...

p.s. KU SUCKS!!!!!! Oral B at home, give me a break. And to think the KU fans were complaining about Bracket-ology putting them as a #1 in the wrong region.... Are you (insert word) kidding me?

See AJ, it goes both ways. In football I just laugh when KU loses but in basketball I thoroughly enjoy it (especially when it is the first round of the tourney). I'm sure as an MU fan you'll enjoy this loss just as much as I do.

10:15 PM  
Blogger JGerardi said...

Thanks for putting in a nutshell every thing I hate about the Gerbil in a wheel argument that is the NU/CU "rivalry". :)
I am a hypocrite, every time a Co State fan says they are our rival I throw out the series record, I throw out how insiginficant they are historically and in the grand scheme of things. I realize that in many ways we are that to NU.
I do not think NU has a GRAND RIVALRY anymore, on the scale of the biggies that have been mentioned, nor do I think great games like VTech/Miami, Miami FSU, etc. fall into that elite category. These games popped up on the rivalry radar as of late due to the fact that the games were immensely important lately, much like the OU/NU series was when Switzer was there (although I know it goes further back then that).
In the last 20 games, the NU/CU game has decided the winner of the Big 8/Big 12 North 9 times. Although CU is only 6-13-1 in that stretch (no great shakes, but probably comparable to anyone else given NU's 90's dominance), only 5 of those losses were by more than 8 points, and we all know how crazy many of those games were. I think if you ask the players during that era from both NU and CU that most would point to the CU/NU game as the biggest rivalry on their schedule, but again small potatoes compared to MU/OSU and the like.And I do not think all time record in a series is a determining factor of a rivalry. FL/GA, South Car./Clemson, Wash. Wash. State are all pretty lopsided historcaly but very nasty rivalries.
ALl that being said, I understand NU folks HATE CU folks, they have zero respect for that program, and they love seeing us fall back to the pack (genralizing, of course, many of the NU fans I meet online seem like nice enough folk). I understand why they don't take the rivalry seriously, and to each their own. But I guess the whole intent of AJ's initial rant was to point out the fact that NU arrogance and "historical dominance" is a great reason why they throw their noses up in the air every time someone dares to say the game is a rivalry, and almost PREVENTS them from having a rival. They just feel they are better than everyone else on the schedule and when a series all of a sudden gets competitive, they almost seem to be aghast that someone from down below in the conference would have the nerve to rise up and attempt to beat the Huskers. NU fans take no one seriously due to their years of bulldozing through conference play. Anyway, I promise myself that is going to be the only time I address this whole bugaboo this year, so please don't bombard me back JP with some intelligent post that will suck me back in.

All that aside, great story. i met an Auburn fan at the SEC championship game one year who told me that his parents don't put up a Christmas tree in the years that they lose to Bama. Now THATS a Rivalry.

7:45 AM  
Blogger AJ said...

Big head, I won't mention backing out on Iowa if you don't mention ducking out on Houston last year. (Insert funny Steve Pederson spin here). Anyway...I enjoyed your post. Well done.

8:18 AM  
Blogger JP Anderson said...

I am rooting for CU to get back to the top of the North. I want that rivalry to develop. I hate CU fans, generally, because they pick fights with 8 year olds in the bathrooms at Folsom (I've seen it), but Nebraska needs CU to be good again for many reasons.

9:00 AM  
Blogger AJ said...

Maybe that little 8 year old deserved it? Joking.

To be fair, I saw a kid in KU sweatshirt get spit on at Hearnes once. Part of me was ashamed...part of me cheered.

9:50 AM  
Anonymous bhg said...

Another brilliant statement by JP. Just the thought that something that brilliant was presented after hours of thoughful deliberation. JP must have spoken with hundreds of fans from Texas, Oklahoma, OSU, and likely Barry Switzer himself to come to his conclusion which was what?, "ask Barry". A highly techincal and sound arguement by any standard.

JP's arguement of "ask Barry", explains a lot of his other comments.

Cripes I attended football camp in Oklahoma. Comments by Tee-Dub acurately reflect the attitudes displayed by OU and OSU fans.

Hard to prove the unviersal rival in college sports. I think you're trying to fit a square peg into a round hole with football, baseball, volleyball, basketball (both programs), softball, swimming, hockey, track, soccer, and the list goes on.

9:58 AM  
Blogger AJ said...

I think we need a message board. Anybody interested?

10:34 AM  
Blogger JP Anderson said...

seriously, BHG.. your posts hurt my head to read.. they never really make any sense and the blather is always so forceful.. the cia could use your blog posts to breakdown terrorists

11:23 AM  
Anonymous bhg said...


Comments were brilliant, don't give up hope on that GED.

Anyone else find it curious that JP can't understand a point different from his own. Those points continually zing right past the old noggin'. It's a shame JP so "seriously" all the time.

11:19 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bart, I'm not sure what your point was exactly by saying that Stoops and Switzer had good records against NU, while the bad coaches did not. I think I agreed with a lot of your stuff, so no big deal. I just want to say that I don't think a particular coach's record or spell really means that much. Lloyd Carr has gotten his ass kicked by Tressel and supposedly Michigan/Ohio State is still the "greatest rivlary of all time in any sport".

My perspective: Rivalry basically comes down to a history of good games when it matters. Michigan/OSU usually decides the Big 10. NU/OU usually decided the Big 12. Those are important games, and there have been a lot of them. I think NU/CU is developing, and OU/TX has clearly been big.

Anyway, not to beat a dead horse much more, I'll end it here. Oh, except I do think that NU/TX is building something as well. NU needs to do a little better against them, but there have already been a number of close games regardless of which team should have creamed the other.

Hicky McHickerson

5:12 PM  

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