Archive for Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Woodling: Huskers had it coming

November 6, 2007


Seventy-six. Let's see : there were 76 trombones leading the big parade in "The Music Man." And 76ers is the nickname of Philadelphia's NBA team. Too, there's Union 76 gasoline.

Oh, and did you know 76 is the atomic number of osmium? You've never heard of osmium? Neither had I. But I looked the word up in the dictionary and discovered the metal's color is - would you believe? - blue.

Now I'm not saying Kansas University should, in the wake of Saturday's 76-39 football victory over Nebraska, change its nickname from the Jayhawks to the Osmiums, but I'm sure everybody in KU's chemistry department has a new and profound awareness of that obscure element.

Interesting, too, how osmium can segue into Tom Osborne, the incredibly successful former Nebraska football coach who is now retired but serving as the school's interim athletic director. Osborne was in Memorial Stadium and watched the shocker.

Now in his 70s, Osborne has been around long enough to know that in the world of sports what goes around truly does come around. For example, during his quarter century as Nebraska's football coach (1973-1997), Osborne never left Lawrence a loser.

Osborne came close a couple of times, most notably in 1993 when KU quarterback Asheiki Preston's two-point conversion pass fell incomplete in the end zone and the Cornhuskers escaped with a 21-20 triumph.

Mostly, though, the Huskers kicked the stuffing out of the Jayhawks, not to mention the giblets.

Eight times an Osborne team scored in the 50s against the Jayhawks. Four times the Huskers' tally reached into the 60s and, yes, there was the time Nebraska dropped a 70-0 anvil on the Jayhawks - a flogging during the 1986 season remains the most lopsided defeat in school history.

In compiling a 25-0 record against the Jayhawks, Osborne's teams scored an average of 46.5 points a game - a dominance that, in retrospect, may never even be challenged.

Osborne wasn't the whole story, though. Predecessor Bob Devaney and successor Frank Solich added five wins apiece, and current coach Bill Callahan grabbed one more during the Huskers' 36-year stranglehold of Kansas from 1969-2004.

Why point all this out? Well, a guy named Homer (not Simpson) once reasoned that to be ignorant of history is to live the life of a child. Baby Boomers know the horrors of the Kansas-Nebraska football series, but the Gen-Xers didn't experience it, and to today's collegians those KU-NU scores are just numbers.

An historical perspective provides a broader understanding of the significance of Saturday's stunner. If Saturday's eye-popper wasn't the most memorable victory in KU football history, it certainly belonged among the top five.

For my money, the Jayhawks 23-3 win over Oklahoma at The Snake Pit in Norman, Okla., in 1975 is still the win for the ages because it was the only loss the Sooners suffered that season on the way to capturing the national championship.

Not too long after that totally unexpected KU win, an enterprising entrepreneur marketed license plates that contained just "23-3." Everybody knew what those numbers meant.

Today, of course, those digits have been lost in time and replaced by "76-39."


oldvet 10 years, 6 months ago

I never thought I would live to see the day that Nebraska hung 39 points up on us and LOST! And I don't think I will ever see it again... of course you know why they went for the 2-point conversion at the end of the game... they didn't want to have their basketball team outscore them against KU!

seattlehawk_78 10 years, 6 months ago

I remember that win against OU but Saturday's win over Nebraska was better. Not even close.

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