The CU Buffs really do miss Nebraska — in more ways than one

Like an old pair of shoes, everything fit. The jokes. The jabs. All that red, storming the castle on Stadium Drive, only to file out in misery.

For Alex Passett, seeing Colorado beat Nebraska in football last fall at Folsom Field made him want to party like it was 1999.

“The Nebraska thing, it was amazing to have that back,” said Passett, CU class of ’86 and president of Forever Buffs Kansas City. “For a football game, our pregame parties (in the Big 12) wouldn’t compare to a CU party at USC or at Washington. But the thing is, we really lost a lot of rivalries. And while those parties out (on the coast) may be double the size of what we had here, I just don’t know who our rival is right now.”

And that’s the rub, isn’t it? Even the staunchest defenders of CU’s decision to move to the Pac-12 in June 2010 admit it left a hole in the hearts of Buffs faithful that’s never healed.

“I’m sure they’ve asked (athletic director) Rick (George), and certainly, they’ve asked me: ‘Well, who’s our rival?’” Buffs chancellor Phil DiStefano told The Post. “And in the Pac-12, we don’t have one yet….But I think it’s great being in the conference.”

Joining the Pac

It’s been 10 years since CU decided to leave behind the Big 12 in favor of the Pac-12. This series examines what has happened since as the Pac-12 has struggled to maintain national relevance, the Buffs football program has floundered and the school has watched its former Big 12 peers pass it by in terms of revenue and resources.

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Part I: Where is CU 10 years later?

Part II: How lagging Pac-12 revenue affects CU

Part III: Recruiting and the California gold rush

Part IV: Culture and rivals in the Pac-12

Part V: What the future holds for CU, coming Wednesday

It’s ironic: CU joined a conference that aligns neatly with its alumni base, its campus culture, its academic goals and its community vibe. But in doing so, it somehow, strangely, lost a bit of what also made the Buffs special.

Old Big 12/Big 8 rivals delighted in sneering at Boulder back when it was a “hippie” town on the fringes of a brisket-and-barbecue conference. None more than Cornhuskers fans, who often referred to the 80302 as “The Berkeley of the Big Eight,” as if a bordering state was another planet entirely.

Now that the Buffs routinely visit the real Berkeley to compete, the logic lines up.

The animus, though? Not so much.

RELATED: How the CU Buffs have fared compared to their fellow Big 12 departures

Nebraska served that function perfectly, back in the day. For that, we can thank Bill McCartney, who needed a villain when he took over as CU’s football coach in 1982.

Not just a villain, but a rallying point. A cause. In the last 20 meetings between CU and Nebraska from 1962-81, the Cornhuskers had won 19 times. Nebraska was a national brand and regional giant. McCartney aimed high, …read more

Source:: The Denver Post – Sports

      

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