Saying Goodbye to the ‘Little 4’

I get the sentimental take by college football purists.

Nebraska’s move to the Big 10 flies in the face of tradition, head-to-head battles with….a, with, Oklahoma, uh, OK, maybe Texas. Then there’s, uh, Colorado….No, not really.

And I’m especially going to miss the other games that really matter, like….like Kansas, Kansas State, Missouri, Iowa State. OK, this is a waste of time.

I struggle to come up with other annual conference matchups that I can’t do without — reasons to stay in the old Big 8/Big 12.

Sorry to be so blunt, but Nebraska should have left the Little 4 at the alter years ago.

Heck, Nebraska/Oklahoma stopped being a real rivalry after NU’s 37-0 win in Lincoln during the 1995 national championship season.

And let’s face it, except for Oklahoma there never was a reason for Nebraska to stay in the Big 8.

So what’s left? Sticking around and being Texas’ servant for another 14 years?

That’s how the Little 4 will always do things.

That became even more clear when the @#$%^ hit the fan during the recent exodus from the Big 12 — All the teams that hung on Nebraska’s coat tail for decades in the Big 8 proved they never have been legitimate programs.

Even OU and Texas A&M had a prime opportunity to leave the Texas cradle, as the Southeastern Conference came calling.

Instead they hung on to a conference that won’t be around 10 years from now.

When it became apparent Nebraska was leaving the conference, NU got its share of sermons from the likes of Iowa State and T. Boone Pickens, and of all people, Texas fans, who somehow thought Nebraska would stick around in a conference that can’t be trusted.

Hard to care much about Texas, obviously.

It has become impossible to get fired up to play Oklahoma like the good old days, and though some of the other former Big 8 teams have given NU fits at times, there exists little tradition at MU, KU, KSU and ISU.

Yeah, their fans in recent years have done plenty of talking, in particular Missouri fans. In fact, Tiger fans seem to have an over-inflated opinion of where their program stands in recent years, and clearly last season’s loss to Navy pretty much proved that.

Kansas State had a great run under Bill Snyder in his first tenure, but even with some of the program’s best teams the Mildcats could get nowhere near a national title.

KU had a decent run with Mark Mangino, but we all know where that went. Iowa State came out from its dark cellar a few times to bite NU, but has never mattered.

Win a national championship or two and then tell Nebraska why it shouldn’t leave the conference.

Until then, tell this Nebraska fan why there was any reason to stay.

What, so you can keep pulling on NU’s shirt tails?

Yeah, sounds like a great set-up — Nebraska can remain affiliated with a bunch of programs that have never mattered.

If they did matter, ISU, MU, KSU and KU would have had options just in case the Big 12 caved in now. Heck, NU is a combined 313-90 against all of these teams, all-time.

Can’t say heading to the Mountain West or the Ohio Valley was any option at all for the Little 4.

And they’ve never won consistently enough to go independent.

But that would mean they’d actually have to win a few bowl games from time to time. That means they would actually have to build their programs.

So spare your lectures. Go find a longhorn to hang onto, and good luck in the new Big 12.

Posted on July 3, 2010, in Nebraska Big 10. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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