“A lot of things have changed,” Osborne said. “But I still think of the fans, some of the older fans, it has meaning and purpose, and brings back a lot of memories.
“So probably to us older people this has some significance.”
The meaning was clear in 1971. Nebraska was already heading to the Orange Bowl. Oklahoma was heading for the Sugar Bowl thanks to the way bowl game spots were negotiated at the time.
It was just a matter of which team would win and become the overwhelming favorites to win the national title, and become one of the great teams in college football history at this point.
Osborne said it was important to be able to bring teams back to the field to commemorate that day.
“And with the fragmentation of conferences and so many people going in different directions, that maybe has a little bit of special significance as Nebraska and Oklahoma are unlikely to be in the same conference again,” said Osborne.
Perhaps, in years gone by, there was hope that NU and OU could face each other again on a yearly basis. But with Oklahoma’s transition to the SEC, these titanic Big Eight clashes will be remembered.
“Looks like now it’s pretty much done,” Osborne said. “If not forever, at least for a long, long time.”