The year is 2020. COVID-19 strikes the Wisconsin Badgers football team so severely that the Big Ten cancels the Wisconsin-Nebraska game in the second week of the season. This won’t stand! Do you have any idea what the Cornhuskers have done to get here?
To play a fall football season, Nebraska has sunk to unimaginable lows. Parents have lobbied in front of the goddamn Rosemont Fogo de Chao. Members of the football team have sued the Big Ten to Obtain Documents, which will expose the conference’s secret, nefarious reasons for not playing in a pandemic. Nebraska is not going down without a fight against the Big Ten’s clearly targeted slight. You’d better believe Nebraska’s affiliate radio network is turning this into a conspiracy-brained Twitter poll you can retweet for the chance to win a free combo meal at Runza. The athletic department is absolutely trying to schedule a clandestine replacement game against the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. And yes, head coach Scott Frost is telling anyone who will listen that the Cornhuskers will play any team, anytime, anywhere: “We just want to let our kids play, and the kids just want to play.”
It’s a new year. Per Stadium’s Brett McMurphy today, there is one team Nebraska would not like to play anytime, anywhere. And who can blame them? Nebraska scheduled this game almost nine years ago, not knowing then that the charm of honoring a once-fabulous Big Eight rivalry could not outweigh the extreme suffering these Sooners would exact upon these Cornhuskers if they were to play this upcoming fall.
Oklahoma athletic director Joe Castiglione said in a statement responding to McMurphy’s report that the Sooners still hope to play the game as scheduled. I’m sure they do! The rest of the statement rings less true. The Oklahoma-Nebraska rivalry, Castiglione wrote, “features fierce competition, yet genuine mutual respect between the programs and fanbases.” It’s a safe bet that a September game between these two would feature neither.
Update (4:25 p.m. ET): The game is happening. It will be devastating to the Lincoln economy but fine, they’ll play!! Fine!!!!