On the 1-year anniversary of COVID-19 becoming a global pandemic, I wrote a post celebrating that the time of canceled college football games was over.
Not yet, apparently.
Stadium's Brett McMurphy reported Friday Nebraska is attempting to get out of a road trip to Oklahoma, scheduled for Sept. 18 of this season.
The former Big 8 rivals scheduled a 2021-22 home-and-home way back in 2012, as a planned celebration of the 1971 Game of the Century, when Bob Devaney's No. 1-ranked Huskers went to Norman and beat No. 2 OU, 35-31. The win propelled Nebraska to a repeat national championship.
Annual rivals for decades, the teams have not played since Nebraska left the Big 12 in 2010 and not in Norman since 2008. Even though the Sooners would be heavy favorites, the prospect of seeing these two blue-bloods once again sharing a field pushed this game to No. 6 on my list of most anticipated non-conference games of 2021.
The report does not list a reason for why Nebraska is reportedly looking to get out of the game, leaving us to speculate that the Huskers are trying to arrange an easier non-conference game in order to end the program's ongoing 4-year bowl less streak. Following last year's events, where Nebraska puffed its chest out about bucking the Big Ten and playing a rogue schedule, begging out of the Oklahoma game would do far more harm to Nebraska's reputation than any on-the-field loss, no matter how ugly.
With just six months and change left to kickoff, it would be difficult for either team to line up a new opponent, especially a Power 5 one. Oklahoma is scheduled to make a return trip to Lincoln in 2022, and the sides are scheduled to play again in 2029-30.
Should Nebraska pull out of the 2021 game, one would have to wonder why Oklahoma would bother going through with those games. And if that proved to be the case, then pulling out of this September's game could truly spell the end of one of college football's greatest historic rivalries.
For all the above reasons, it's possible this leak came from the Oklahoma side to leverage Nebraska into playing the game. We'll find out soon enough.
Update: Oklahoma AD Joe Castiglione released this statement Friday, answering questions no one was really asking.
Update part deux: