Bad Blood Familiar in Nebraska's Meeting with Colorado
Photo Credit: Eric Francis

Bad Blood Familiar in Nebraska’s Meeting with Colorado

September 08, 2019

BOULDER, Colo. – There’s something to be said about nostalgia. There was plenty of it in the week leading up to Nebraska and Colorado facing off at Folsom Field. And on Saturday, it all came to a head.

A “F*** the Huskers” chant rang from Sections 215 and 216—two that belong to the Colorado student section—as Nebraska players took the field. Husker fans appeared to drown out the Buffaloes’ “CU” chant pre-game with “Husker Power.” There were Colorado fans in the section next to Nebraska’s locker room that taunted and yelled as the game progressed.

Feels familiar, doesn’t it?

Nebraska and Colorado have a long history with one another. The two were in the same conference for more than 60 years, spanning the Big Seven, Big Eight and Big 12. Plenty happened in that time frame, including an incident than involved oranges being thrown on the field and the Colorado student section cleared from the stadium in 2005.

“I remember getting an orange thrown [at] my head,” offensive line coach Greg Austin recalled earlier this week. “I got hit with an orange. I think they got at least one crowd penalty, they had to clear the student section. It was pretty crazy.”

There are stories of “urine bombs,” which—depending on who you ask—have been tossed by fans of both teams. There are Colorado fans that swear the Huskers tossed the balloons at them in Lincoln in 1994. Nebraska fans swear the Buffs have done the same.

There are stories of tire slashes. Spitting. Fist fights. Plenty of curse words. You name it. Nebraska and Colorado have spent the better part of the series—dating back to 1898, if you’re curious—hating one another.

Some have called it a rivalry. Others—mostly Huskers—aren’t so willing. Despite Nebraska’s 34-31 overtime loss to Colorado on Saturday, the Huskers still lead the series 49-20-2. Former Colorado coach Bill McCartney wanted it to be a rivalry—even declaring it so—but former Nebraska coach and athletic director Tom Osborne was never quite as sure. For Osborne, it was always a “so-called rivalry” and “probably never a rivalry for Nebraska.”

Whatever this whole thing is between the Huskers and Buffs, it created something on Saturday that hasn’t quite been found for either in their new conferences. Both Nebraska and Colorado departed the Big 12 in 2011, Huskers to the Big Ten and Colorado to the Pac-12 respectively. But ask anyone working in the old Colorado Fieldhouse that hosts the press box and they’ll tell you: Colorado hasn’t exactly found its “rival” in the Pac-12 just yet. Nebraska hasn’t exactly found its rival in the Big Ten either.

Those things take time though. The Huskers are starting to form bad blood with programs like Iowa, Minnesota and Wisconsin. The matchups are bound to grow in importance when it ultimately puts the Big Ten West on the line. Again, that takes time.

For now, what Saturday was—for better or worse—was a walk down memory lane. The only thing that didn’t remind Husker fans of the past was the outcome. Nebraska’s used to beating Colorado, but the Buffs have won the last two.

When the game ended, Colorado fans stormed the field. The goal posts were quickly lowered and security guards scrambled to build a human fence between the Buffs fans and Nebraska’s football team. As the Huskers departed, the Colorado fans taunted and yelled, made plenty of obscene gestures and focused most of their celebrating on the Nebraska fans in the crowd and less on their team dancing with them.

It’s too bad a meeting like this can’t happen more often. Nebraska athletic director Bill Moos has vowed to put more Big 12 foes on the Huskers’ schedule going forward. They’ll see Oklahoma in 2021 and 2022. They’ll then see Colorado again in 2023 and 2024.

“See you in four years,” a Colorado fan screamed post-game toward a group of Nebraska fans with his middle fingers high in the air.

See you in four years.

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