Colorado–Nebraska football rivalry

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Colorado–Nebraska football rivalry
Colorado logo Nebraska logo
First Meeting November 17, 1898
Last Meeting November 26, 2010
Next Meeting September 8, 2018
Meetings 69
Series Nebraska leads, 49–18–2

The Colorado–Nebraska football rivalry was an American college football rivalry between the Colorado Buffaloes and Nebraska Cornhuskers. They first played in 1898, but the rivalry intensified in the 1980s as Colorado improved under head coach Bill McCartney. It was somewhat consolidated with the formation of the Big 12 Conference in 1996, which placed the two universities in the same six-team division and ended Nebraska's annual game with Oklahoma.[1][2]

The intensity of this rivalry was often disputed; while Colorado generally viewed Nebraska as its biggest rival, the feeling was not mutual; Nebraska still generally viewed Oklahoma as their historically significant rival, even though they now played the Sooners every other regular season. After the formation of the Big 12, the game was traditionally played on the Friday afternoon following Thanksgiving, nationally televised on ABC. In the Big 8, this time slot was often used for the Nebraska–Oklahoma game. (Oklahoma now plays in-state rival Oklahoma State at the end of the regular season in the Bedlam Series.)

Series history[edit]

Colorado and Nebraska met six times from 1898 to 1907, then took a 40-year hiatus until Colorado joined the Big Seven Conference in 1948. From 1948–61, Colorado went 9–4–1 against Nebraska. After their 7–0 victory in Lincoln in 1961, Colorado gained their only lead in the series (10–9–1).

With the arrival of Bob Devaney in 1962, Nebraska emerged from nearly two decades of mediocrity (and seven straight losing seasons) and returned as a national power in the mid-1960s, followed by national titles in 1970 and 1971. He won his first 5 against Colorado and was 10–1; successor Tom Osborne won his first 13, with a final record of 21–3–1. Nebraska is 40–8–1 against Colorado from 1962–2010.

When Bill McCartney was hired by Colorado in 1982, he almost immediately designated Nebraska as Colorado's primary rival, in an attempt to motivate his team.[3] Nebraska at that time was a perennial powerhouse and had beaten the Buffs 14 straight times; McCartney wanted to use the eventual defeat of Nebraska as a measure of Colorado's success. Four years later, CU got their first win over the Cornhuskers since 1967, upsetting #3 Nebraska 20–10.[4] It was also the first win over Nebraska at Folsom Field in Boulder since 1960.

Colorado then began to repeatedly threaten Nebraska in the late '80s, following the 1986 upset. In 1989, #3 Nebraska met #2 Colorado at Folsom Field tied for the lead in the Big 8. Colorado won 27–21 on their way to winning their first Big 8 Championship since 1976.[5][6][7] #9 Colorado went to Memorial Stadium in Lincoln to play #3 Nebraska for the Big 8 title yet again in 1990.[8][9] The Buffaloes won 27–12 en route to their first national title. McCartney went 3–9–1 against Nebraska. Successor Rick Neuheisel was 0–4, while Gary Barnett was 3–4.

The 19–19 tie in 1991 was the last recorded by Nebraska. To date, they have played one game decided in overtime, a 33–30 Nebraska victory in 1999.

Historically, the series was mostly one-sided, with Nebraska winning nearly three out of every four matchups. However, the last two decades had been very competitive with many matchups decided by a touchdown or less. From 1988 to 1996, both teams were ranked going into the matchup, and in 5 of those meetings both teams were in the top 10. In 1989 and 1994, Colorado and Nebraska went into the game ranked #2 and #3 respectively, and split those games. Between 1996 and 2000, Nebraska won all five meetings by 15 points combined.

More fire fueled the rivalry in 2001 when #2 Nebraska went into Boulder undefeated. #14 Colorado had one conference loss, making this the Big 12 North championship. Colorado shocked the nation with a 62–36 drubbing of Nebraska and won the Big 12 Championship against #3 Texas the following week. Nebraska eventually went to the BCS title game despite the loss, but Colorado was only a point behind Nebraska in the BCS poll.

The decade started with Colorado winning 3 of 4, and ended with Nebraska taking 5 of 6. Starting with Bill McCartney's first game in 1982 through 2010, Nebraska went 21–7–1 against Colorado.

The series was disrupted by the 2010–13 NCAA conference realignment, when both teams left the Big 12 before the 2011 season. Colorado joined the Pac-12 Conference and Nebraska went to the Big Ten Conference. Each team now plays border rivals in the opposite direction. Nebraska faces Iowa on the Friday following Thanksgiving, also on ABC; Colorado has revived a rivalry with Utah the same day.

It was announced on February 7, 2013 that Colorado and Nebraska agreed to renew the rivalry.[10][11][12][13][14][15][16] Colorado will travel in 2018 to Lincoln, and then return to Boulder in 2019. After a 3-year break, Nebraska will go to Colorado in 2023 and then host the Buffaloes again in 2024 to finish the series.

Game results[edit]

Colorado victories Nebraska victories Tie games
# Date Location Winner Score
1 November 17, 1898 Boulder Nebraska 23–10
2 October 4, 1902 Boulder Nebraska 10–0
3 October 24, 1903 Lincoln Nebraska 31–0
4 October 8, 1904 Boulder Colorado 6–0
5 November 11, 1905 Lincoln Nebraska 18–0
6 October 26, 1907 Lincoln Nebraska 22–8
7 October 9, 1948 Boulder Colorado 16–9
8 November 19, 1949 Lincoln Nebraska 25–14
9 October 14, 1950 Boulder Colorado 28–19
10 November 17, 1951 Lincoln Colorado 36–14
11 October 25, 1952 Boulder Tie 16–16
12 November 14, 1953 Lincoln Colorado 14–10
13 October 23, 1954 Boulder Nebraska 20–6
14 November 12, 1955 Lincoln Nebraska 37–20
15 October 27, 1956 Boulder Colorado 16–0
16 November 16, 1957 Lincoln Colorado 27–0
17 October 25, 1958 Boulder #12 Colorado 27–16
18 November 14, 1959 Lincoln Nebraska 14–12
19 October 22, 1960 Boulder Colorado 19–6
20 November 18, 1961 Lincoln #8 Colorado 7–0
21 October 27, 1962 Boulder Nebraska 31–6
22 October 26, 1963 Lincoln Nebraska 41–6
23 October 24, 1964 Boulder #5 Nebraska 21–3
24 October 23, 1965 Lincoln #3 Nebraska 38–13
25 October 22, 1966 Boulder #7 Nebraska 21–19
26 October 21, 1967 Lincoln #4 Colorado 21–16
27 November 16, 1968 Boulder Nebraska 22–6
28 November 1, 1969 Lincoln Nebraska 20–7
29 October 31, 1970 Boulder #4 Nebraska 29–13
30 October 30, 1971 Lincoln #1 Nebraska 31–7
31 November 4, 1972 Boulder #3 Nebraska 33–10
32 October 3, 1973 Lincoln #13 Nebraska 28–16
33 November 2, 1974 Boulder #9 Nebraska 31–15
34 October 25, 1975 Lincoln #4 Nebraska 63–21
35 October 9, 1976 Boulder #6 Nebraska 24–12
# Date Location Winner Score
36 October 22, 1977 Lincoln #18 Nebraska 33–15
37 October 21, 1978 Boulder #5 Nebraska 52–14
38 October 27, 1979 Lincoln #2 Nebraska 38–10
39 October 25, 1980 Boulder #9 Nebraska 45–7
40 October 10, 1981 Lincoln Nebraska 59–0
41 October 9, 1982 Boulder #7 Nebraska 40–14
42 October 22, 1983 Lincoln #1 Nebraska 69–19
43 October 20, 1984 Boulder #5 Nebraska 24–7
44 October 26, 1985 Lincoln #5 Nebraska 17–7
45 October 25, 1986 Boulder Colorado 20–10
46 November 28, 1987 Boulder #5 Nebraska 24–7
47 November 12, 1988 Lincoln #7 Nebraska 7–0
48 November 4, 1989 Boulder #3 Colorado 27–21
49 November 3, 1990 Lincoln #9 Colorado 27–12
50 November 2, 1991 Boulder Tie 19–19
51 October 31, 1992 Lincoln #8 Nebraska 52–7
52 October 30, 1993 Boulder #6 Nebraska 21–17
53 October 29, 1994 Lincoln #2 Nebraska 24–7
54 October 28, 1995 Boulder #2 Nebraska 44–21
55 November 29, 1996 Lincoln #4 Nebraska 17–12
56 November 28, 1997 Boulder #2 Nebraska 27–24
57 November 27, 1998 Lincoln #14 Nebraska 16–14
58 November 26, 1999 Boulder #3 Nebraska 33–30OT
59 November 24, 2000 Lincoln #10 Nebraska 34–32
60 November 23, 2001 Boulder #14 Colorado 62–36
61 November 29, 2002 Lincoln #13 Colorado 28–13
62 November 28, 2003 Boulder #25 Nebraska 31–22
63 November 26, 2004 Lincoln Colorado 26–20
64 November 25, 2005 Boulder Nebraska 30–3
65 November 24, 2006 Lincoln #23 Nebraska 37–14
66 November 23, 2007 Boulder Colorado 65–51
67 November 28, 2008 Lincoln Nebraska 40–31
68 November 27, 2009 Boulder Nebraska 28–20
69 November 26, 2010 Lincoln #16 Nebraska 45–17
Series: Nebraska leads 49–18–2

References[edit]