Lincoln

Photo Credit: Daulton Venglar | Daily Texan Staff

Texas ended a lackluster weekend in Lincoln, Nebraska, with a 6–2 loss to Nebraska on Sunday afternoon.

With the win, the Cornhuskers completed a three-game sweep of the Longhorns (17–11, 5–1 Big 12).

Texas fell behind early Sunday as Nebraska opened up a 2–0 lead in the first inning. Cornhuskers sophomore infielder Jake Schleppenbach started Nebraska’s offensive threat in the first before senior infielder Blake Headley scored Schleppenbach on an RBI double. Headley came around to score on a single by senior outfielder Austin Darby. 

The Longhorns were able to get two quick outs in the third inning, but the Cornhuskers rallied to add two runs. Senior catcher Tanner Lubach hit a single up the middle, followed by a single by Darby. Lubach then scored on a double by freshman outfielder Elijah Dilday, and Darby scored on a single by freshman infielder Scott Schreiber. 

Texas starting pitcher junior Chad Hollingsworth’s day was over in the third after giving up six runs on 10 hits. Junior Travis Duke relieved Hollingsworth and gave up a single, which extended Nebraska’s lead to 6–0.

Both offenses were quiet until the ninth inning, but, with the Longhorns down six runs, Texas tried to rally. Junior left fielder Ben Johnson hit a leadoff double down the left field line before senior right fielder Collin Shaw hit a two-run to cut into Nebraska’s lead.

Sophomore catcher Tres Barrera followed Shaw’s homer with a single, but the Cornhuskers soon ended the Longhorns’ rally.

Despite the two-run home run in the ninth, Texas’ offense showed little production Sunday, something the team had struggled with throughout the series. The Longhorns tallied five hits on Sunday, with three coming in the ninth. Texas was held to a combined seven hits and one run in Friday’s and Saturday’s games.

The Longhorns have continued to struggle on the road as the three-game sweep lowers Texas’ road record to 5–8.

Texas will look to rebound against Texas A&M-Corpus Christi on Tuesday at 6 p.m. at UFCU Disch-Falk Field.

Sophomore outside hitter Amy Neal still feels the Nebraska rivalry exists, even after Nebraska’s move to the Big Ten. For the third time in two years, the rivals will meet Saturday in Lincoln, Nebraska.

Photo Credit: Amy Zhang | Daily Texan Staff

Before the latest round of conference realignment, the Big 12 volleyball championship usually went through Austin or Lincoln, Nebraska.

Since the conference’s inception in 1996, Texas and Nebraska have a combined 17 conference titles and finished first and second eight times. And even after the Cornhuskers left for the Big Ten, the rivalry between the schools has continued.

“It’s always been crazy, and I think it’s just as big as when they were [in the Big 12],” junior outside hitter Amy Neal said.

The two top-10 teams will write a new chapter in the rivalry Saturday at 2 p.m. when they face off in Lincoln.

“It’s what makes this sport fun,” head coach Jerritt Elliott said. “We get an opportunity to play one of the premier programs in the country.”

Overall, the stats show that Nebraska has dominated the rivalry. The Cornhuskers boast a 30-19 record over the Longhorns and took home 11 conference titles while they were in the Big 12.

In a stretch from 1994 to 2000, Nebraska beat Texas in 10 of 12 matches, including a 3-1 win in the 1995 national championship game. After Elliott was hired as the head coach in 2001, it took the Longhorns 10 matches to finally defeat the Cornhuskers.

“They used to eat our lunch pretty bad when I got here,” Elliott said.

But in recent years, the tide has turned. The Longhorns have won six of the past seven meetings. Last year in the regular season, Texas battled to a 3-2 win in Austin.

Then the rivalry went to the next level when the two faced off in the Lincoln Regional final with a Final Four spot on the line. Despite the Cornhuskers’ home-court advantage, the Longhorns managed to hand them a sweep. 

“I’m sure they’re focused on trying to be able to redeem themselves,” Elliott said.

The trip to Lincoln is the second time in three weeks the Longhorns will face a top-tier team in a tough environment. On Sept. 6, they beat then No. 11 Florida in Gainesville. Elliott said he likes scheduling tough matches in the nonconference season to get his team ready for conference play and the postseason.

“We need to put our team in some environments that are chaotic and tough to play in, and Nebraska provides that,” Elliott said.

The No. 2 Longhorns (7-0) come into this meeting undefeated and having only dropped one of their 22 sets this year. Texas’ eight players with double-digit kills and six players with 30 or more kills have created a balanced and deep attack.

Neal said the deep lineup and tough competition has helped the team’s confidence this season.

“In our gym in practice, it’s super competitive, which makes everyone train really hard,” Neal said. “Knowing if someone is struggling, that another person can go in, it builds our confidence in our team.”

Despite its No. 9 ranking, Nebraska (5-2) dropped two matches to top-15 teams earlier this season against No. 6 Florida State and No. 1 Stanford. The Cornhuskers also have just one senior on a roster made up primarily of sophomores.

Still, this latest chapter in the rivalry will likely be the Longhorns’ toughest test so far this season.

“This match doesn’t determine whether our season ends or not,” Elliott said. “We can take this match and learn from it.”

Actress Anne Hathaway portrays Fantine, a struggling, sickly mother forced into prostitution in 1800s Paris, in a scene from the screen adaptation of “Les Miserables.” Hathaway is nominated for an Academy Award for supporting actress for “Les Miserables.” Photo courtesy of Universal Pictures.

With the Oscars coming up this weekend, the only thing more important than seeing all the nominated films is proving to your friends that you know more than they do. Oscar pools are usually half-informed guesses mixed with eeny-meeny-miny-mo decisions on the more obscure categories, and we’ve put together a few tips to help you get ahead in this year’s Oscar season.

YOUR OPINION DOESN’T MATTER

Oscar is a fickle beast, and no matter what you think should win a specific category, the odds of the Academy matching your line of thinking are slim to none. Sure, “Beasts of the Southern Wild” was a great, borderline-magical film, but it hasn’t got a prayer for Best Picture. And we’d all love to see Wes Anderson win his first Oscar for “Moonrise Kingdom,” but the competition is too stiff for him to stand a chance.

HATHAWAY AND DAY-LEWIS WILL NOT LOSE

Both of these actors have had their respective awards staked out for months now. Daniel Day-Lewis has massive momentum behind him, and he’s steamrollered the competition. Despite an incredibly competitive year in the Best Actor category, Day-Lewis’ portrayal of Lincoln was transformative in a way that the Academy membership is sure to recognize. Meanwhile, Anne Hathaway’s performance in “Les Miserables” — a title which shockingly doesn’t refer to the people sitting through it — practically has Oscar carved into it. Her showstopping rendition of “I Dreamed a Dream” was a rare moment of emotional devastation in a film that sputtered more often than not, and Hathaway’s first Oscar, for Best Supporting Actress, will be well earned.

ONE OF THE BIG PLAYERS IS GOING HOME EMPTY-HANDED

Silver Linings Playbook,” “Argo,” “Lincoln,” “Zero Dark Thirty,” “Life of Pi,” “Amour” and “Django Unchained” are the films to beat at this year’s ceremony, and surely one of them will go unrecognized. Will it be the sterile and painful “Amour?" Not likely, since the film is getting a big push in Best Actress and seems to have Best Foreign Film locked down. “Silver Linings Playbook” is too well liked to not win something, and “Life of Pi” has too many nominations. “Lincoln” and “Argo” are basically unstoppable thanks to the momentum of Oscar season, even if one of them is destined to underperform. My money is on “Zero Dark Thirty.” After the political backlash resulting from its depiction of torture, the journalistic thriller has been struggling, and a combination of Kathryn Bigelow’s Best Director snub, Jessica Chastain’s faltering Best Actress campaign and the crowded Best Original Screenplay category, the film is likely to end up this season’s sacrificial lamb.

IF THEY DESERVE IT, THEY PROBABLY ALREADY LOST

It’s rare that the best film nominated in any given category actually wins, and there are sure to be few exceptions to that rule this year. Roger Deakins made, bar none, the year’s most beautifully photographed film with “Skyfall,” but the Bond thriller is almost sure to lose in the Best Cinematography category. Joaquin Phoenix gave a performance for the ages in Paul Thomas Anderson’s “The Master,” but in a Best Actor category where each contender could win in a lesser year, his nomination is the victory.

DON’T SPLIT ON SOUND AWARDS

The Academy usually awards Best Sound Mixing and Editing to the same films, and the last time they varied was in 2008, when “The Dark Knight” and “Slumdog Millionaire” split the vote. In an Oscar pool, victory can come down to one or two awards, and it sure would be a shame to be the guy who thought the Academy would deviate from pattern here. 

While I can’t claim to be an Oscar expert, especially in a year as unpredictable as this one, these picks should help you at least get a leg up in your Oscar pool, if not claim total victory. And if I’m totally wrong on all counts, at least that means we’ll be watching one of the most gonzo insane Oscar telecasts ever, and the entertainment value alone will make the loss go down easier.

Published on February 22, 2013 as "What to expect from the Oscars". 

On the way back from my 14-day train voyage across the East and the Midwest of the country, I left Chicago with a man named Mennu. Mr. Mennu, a sexagenarian of Ethiopian origin, was also heading to San Antonio on the long, 32-hour journey. He spoke with a calm, wise voice, the kind you would expect from a philosopher or a favorite librarian. I caught a cold in New York two nights before and the train had not even arrived in Lincoln, IL when Mr. Mennu also started to sneeze.

“I think you are giving me your cold,” he said. 

I apologized profusely. He denied my pleas with his slow, slightly accented voice.

“It’s OK. I have won a new friend. From San Antonio.”

Three weeks prior, the north-most point I had ever been to was a small town called Goldthwaite, some hours north of Austin. Furthest east, probably Houston; and never outside of Texas within the United States. For someone who daydreams and fantasizes about travel, this was an embarrassing track record. As soon as a trip to New York City was possible, I made sure to book the most adventurous mode of transportation available. Since I couldn’t find the right bear to ride all the way there, I settled for the train.

My first train to Chicago was canceled, and I was really too sleepy to be disappointed; the only trains that leave San Antonio do so very early in the morning, with check-in around five, boarding around six. But I tried again the next day, successfully, with a train going to New Orleans, where I would transfer for New York.

Once aboard, I met a seemingly incessant amount of passengers who, like me, were not afraid to exchange hours of their time for exploration and experience; people like Mennu. It’s not that they were trying to save money on fares as one often does with Greyhound or MegaBus; a USA Rail Pass runs you about $440 for eight segments usable within a two week period, and individual tickets for long distances can be in the $200 dollar range, add an extra $200 for the most basic sleeper car if you’re feeling fancy. 

On the train from New York to Chicago, I sat next to Jacob, a vivacious Physics student from The University of New Mexico. He asked me the question he asks everyone he meets on board: “Why the train?” 

When you fly on a plane, you see the country from a distance, a sort of existential form of watching. When you ride the train, you go through the country; you are there. You go through the Texas plains, through the Louisiana swamps and lakes, through the Mississippi and Alabama forests, the golden fields of Virginia, the snowy woods of the Northeast. You see Houston, New Orleans, Birmingham, Atlanta, Greensboro, Charlotte, Washington, Philadelphia, Trenton, Newark, New York, Albany, Syracuse, Chicago, Lincoln, Springfield, St. Louis, Little Rock, Dallas, Fort Worth, Temple and back to Austin and later San Antonio. That’s why. 

Photojournalism professor Dennis Darling once told the truth: that when it comes to any kind of voyage, whether professional or geographical, our generation is destination-heavy and journey-light. Had I ridden on a plane, I would have simply arrived in New York. But I think that on the train I had a journey, after which I ended up in New York and then I had a journey back. It was different. It was longer. It was worthwhile.

Now that I’ve seen all of these other places, I’m curious about what I will see when I come back to the familiar. The filter of experience is irremovable; suspendable perhaps, but never removable. It is often said that travel creates growth, though I’m still not sure how. Amtrak sells it as a visual experience, offering the beauty of the countryside as a feast for the eyes. The experience was so satisfying that the Chinatown vendors I saw in New York City could probably offer it as an aphrodisiac. 

If anything, I feel more mature — without any new wrinkles — and though I’m not quite ready to hop on another long train ride, I can’t wait for the next long break when I get a chance to do so.

Published on January 23, 2013 as "Train treks". 

As it is with any doomed relationship, the ending of the Big 12 has been rocky, beginning with last summer’s disbanding and the culmination of ill will between schools staying and schools leaving. There are some fond moments to look back upon, sure, but both sides are better off with this breakup.

It all began with a bang in 1996, when Texas took down Nebraska in the inaugural Big 12 Championship.

Throughout the years, that story line would repeat itself: the Longhorns snapped the Huskers’ winning streak in Lincoln in 1998, climbed out with a 3-point win in 2002, won in dramatic and controversial fashion in 2009, and turned in one last win — one of five that year — in Lincoln in 2010.
Against Colorado over all the years, in all sports, there are two games that stick out.

In 2001, the two played in Dallas for the Big 12 Championship. A Texas win would mean a date with Miami in the Orange Bowl for the National Championship. I was there as the Longhorns won 41-7 earlier that season in Austin, and brought my ticket stub to the game-watching party for good luck.

As Chris Simms threw interception after interception after interception and Colorado’s lead over Texas grew wider and wider, I frantically rubbed my talisman, hoping to draw some good fortune.

By the end of the night, a 39-37 loss, that ticket stub was torn to shreds.

But of course four years later, Texas pasted the Buffaloes 70-3 on its way to a national championship.

Not too much will be missed though from the departure of Colorado and Nebraska. The volleyball rivalry between Nebraska and Texas was a good one, as the two schools fought each year for best in the conference. Your granddad should miss the Oklahoma-Nebraska rivalry in football and local media will miss trips to scenic Boulder and a cool football environment in Lincoln. In terms of lamenting the loss of these two schools, that’s about it.

Revenue sharing within the conference was easier once Nebraska decided to go. Big 12 Commissioner Dan Beebe said that when it was in the conference, the school officials “were the most adamant” in opposition of changing bylaws.

And now with two less schools, the conference can ditch the round-robin scheduling format and all 10 schools can face off every year in football, and twice a year in basketball.

You can say goodbye to that awful conference championship game as well. It was generally low on excitement — save for a few Texas-Nebraska matches — and hardly ever beneficial to the better team. No longer will superior Big 12 South teams have to risk a championship season to an inferior team; no longer will the Big 12 have to risk losing a national championship appearance because Kansas State could upset Oklahoma (2003).

The loss of Nebraska waters down some of the football competition, but not too much. The last time the Huskers won a conference championship in football was in 1999, anyway.

As for basketball, as long as Kansas and its juggernaut hoops team remains in the Big 12, the conference will always be a prestigious one.

One last thing: The relationship between Texas and Nebraska had gotten downright ugly. At a sports bar last week in Omaha, I was called “devil worshipper” by a group of Cornhuskers upon mentioning that I attended UT. At the College World Series, the Longhorns were booed viciously by the Nebraskans. That’s what so many years of animosity will do to you.

It will be weird not to see the Cornhuskers or Buffaloes on Texas’ future docket, as there have been a handful of memorable battles with each school. But, given the circumstances, it’s best for each side to go their own separate ways.

No. 25 Texas wraps up the regular season this weekend, hitting the road against No. 34 Nebraska and Iowa State.

The match against Nebraska is today in Lincoln. The last meeting took place in the Big 12 tournament semifinals on May 1, 2010, in Austin when Texas beat the Huskers 4-0.

“Nebraska is very tough,” said Texas head coach Patty Fendick-McCain. “They have a lot of depth and experience. [Nebraska head coach] Scott Jacobson has done a great job. We’re looking forward to a good indoor battle in Lincoln.”

On Saturday, the Longhorns travel to Ames to face Iowa State. They won 7-0 when they played the Cyclones in 2010.

“[Iowa State head coach] Armando Espinosa has taken Iowa State to the next level,” Fendick-McCain said. “They are getting solid wins in the Big 12 conference. The depth in the Big 12 has increased exponentially in the past two years.”

Texas will lean on the momentum it gained last weekend in Austin, when it beat No. 22 Oklahoma 5-2 and Oklahoma State 6-1. Additionally, the Longhorns have the highest-ranked singles player in either match this weekend, No. 23 Aeriel Ellis, as well as the highest ranked doubles tandem, No. 49 Amanda Craddock and Cierra Gaytan-Leach.

The fifth-ranked Longhorns traveled to Lincoln to play at Nebraska for the last time as a conference opponent, as the Huskers exit the Big 12 to head to the Big Ten after this season. Texas provided a rude going-away gift in the form of two late-inning, one-run victories over the weekend, including Sunday’s exciting 4-3 win in which senior catcher Amy Hooks scored the go-ahead run by stealing home.

Texas went into the seventh inning of Sunday’s game down two runs to the 12th-ranked Cornhuskers but was able to battle back and tie the score at 3-3, thanks to a two-run homer off the bat of sophomore Taylor Hoagland.

After Nebraska failed to finish off the Longhorns in the bottom of the seventh, the game went into extra innings.

Hooks started off the top of the eighth with a double into the left-field corner, then junior Nadia Taylor drew a walk. Torie Schmidt was called out after that, but then freshman Mandy Ogle was hit by a pitch to load the bases.

With her teammates at first, second and third and one out, senior Raygan Feight came up to the plate and was given the sign for a suicide squeeze, an offensive play where the batter bunts toward first base expecting to be thrown out and the player on third leaves the base early trying to score.

Feight botched the squeeze, missing the pitch, but Hooks was still headed for home on the play, and thanks to some crafty base running, she was able to score and put Texas ahead by one.

Then Blaire Luna was able to sew up the victory for Texas with a scoreless bottom of the eighth inning. Luna threw 5.2 innings of no-run relief after freshman Rachel Fox struggled early, allowing four runs in 2.1 innings of work.

In the first game of the weekend series on Saturday, the Longhorns were locked in a 0-0 pitcher’s duel as they headed into the seventh inning. Texas had only mustered one hit up to that point in the game, in the form of a Hooks single, and it was Hooks who once again stepped up in the seventh, this time in the form of a solo home run over the center-field wall.

The homer was more than enough support for Luna, Saturday’s starter, who went out in the seventh inning and shut Nebraska down. Luna delivered the one-run victory in her 11th shutout of the season, only surrendering two hits and three walks and striking out eight.

The pair of victories moves Texas to 34-3 on the season and 7-0 in Big 12 play, and it will look to continue its 18-game win streak on Wednesday against Stephen F. Austin.  

 

This weekend may be the end of an era. At the conclusion of the 2011 season, Nebraska parts ways with the Big 12 conference in order to join the Big Ten. That means this weekend’s series in Lincoln may be the last time that the Longhorns face the Cornhuskers.
“I think it will be a great opportunity to finish those guys off,” said Texas third baseman Nadia Taylor.
 
On Saturday, No. 5 Texas (32-3, 5-0 Big 12) faces the 11th-ranked Cornhuskers (30-4, 3-1) in the first of a two-game series. The Longhorns enter weekend on a 16-game winning streak after Wednesday’s dramatic 4-3 win over Texas A&M. 
 
In addition to the team’s win streak, several Longhorns are being recognized across the country for their strong performances so far this season. Last week, junior first baseman Lexy Bennett was named the Big 12 player of the week for her performance in games against Texas State and Oklahoma State. Through three contests, Bennett averaged .636 with seven hits, eight RBI, six individual runs scored and a home run in each game. In addition to this honor, she leads, or ties for the lead, the league in batting average, runs, hits and home runs for the season.
 
“Lexy is probably our most consistent performer on both sides of the ball,” said Texas head coach Connie Clark. “I think she is about as hot as anybody in the country, and she has been for the last three weeks.”
 
Sophomore right fielder Taylor Hoagland was also recognized this week. She accepted an invitation on Wednesday to try out for the USA National Softball team in June at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in California. Hoagland will join teammate and All-American hurler Blaire Luna, who accepted her own invitation to the national team selection camp a few weeks ago.
 
Nebraska is on a streak of its own, having won three straight, including a sweep of Kansas. 
 
The Longhorns are coming off of a hard-fought victory of their own against Texas A&M. The Aggies took the Longhorns through seven innings of work, pressuring the Texas defense and offense. Clark believes the challenging A&M game was good preparation for 
the Cornhuskers.
 
“Nebraska is tough, and they’re having a great year,” Clark said. ”They’re wanting to go out on a bang in their last year in the Big 12, but I think we’ve got a good game plan.”

Ask any coach in the Big 12 about the challenges of playing on the road, and they will say without hesitation that it’s the toughest thing to do in college basketball today.

Ask them about the importance of protecting home court, and they will say it’s the No. 1 priority.

Doc Sadler’s Nebraska team is the perfect example.

The Cornhuskers are 15-1 at home but winless on the road. While the Husker’s record at the Bob Devaney Sports Center is the sign of a good team, the coach knows his squad will have to conquer their road demons if they want to take the next step.

“For us to be a team that people want to talk about, you have to be able to go on the road and win,” Sadler said.

But while Sadler can’t quite put his finger on why the Cornhuskers have played so well in Lincoln, he does have a few ideas.

“Our guys just feel more comfortable, I guess,” Sadler said. “But I couldn’t be any happier than with what the people are doing here, coming out and helping us, being that extra person.”

But Texas head coach Rick Barnes said the main ingredient to Nebraska’s home-court advantage is Sadler.

“There is no coach in the country that does a better job than Doc,” Barnes said. “It’s a tough, tough place to play.”

It’s true the players are playing better across the board at home, and the crowds at the Nebraska games this season have been raucous. Sadler knows how to prepare his players, but the biggest reason for their success has been their stifling defense.

“Nebraska is one of the better defensive teams in the country,” said Oklahoma head coach Jeff Capel. “They are just really, really hard to score against.”

The Cornhuskers allow 58.9 points per game on average, the best mark in the Big 12. Nebraska is also second in the conference in field-goal percentage defense behind Texas.

But even his team’s stellar defense in 2011 can’t stop Sadler from worrying about playing Texas at home Saturday.

“Not that I’m looking forward to it, but after our game Wednesday [against Oklahoma] we’ll try to do the best we can to get ready for them,” Sadler said.

Sadler knows the challenge that awaits his team and swears that the No. 2 Longhorns are “playing as well as anyone in the country.”

It will be the Cornhuskers’ last chance to beat the Longhorns as a member of the Big 12 — Nebraska will play in the Big Ten next season. The game will also be the final homecoming for Texas senior forward Matt Hill, a Lincoln native.

Hill was the Gatorade Nebraska Player of the Year his senior season at Lincoln Southeast High School and was selected to captain the Super-State team before leaving the state and heading south to Austin.

The redshirt senior arrived on campus in 2006, the same year Sadler took the job at Nebraska. Although Sadler didn’t get the opportunity to recruit Hill to the hometown school, the coach knows he missed the boat on a homegrown talent. Sadler said he did get a chance to see Hill play in Lincoln during the summers and came away with a lasting impression of the big man.

“The thing I remember most about Matt Hill was his athleticism and his hair,” Sadler said. “But I thought he was a very
good player.”

And just as Hill’s afro came and went, so too will the Cornhuskers’ final crack at the Longhorns in the Big 12.

Lucky for Nebraska, they won’t have to face Texas on the road.

There’s something about the twice-a-year Texas-Nebraska matchup that puts everything in the framework of past, present and future.

There’s a past, especially in the late 1990s to mid-2000s, when no matter how much Texas improved, no matter how much the championship banner glowed at Gregory Gym, the Longhorns would fall short against the Cornhuskers.

There’s a past when current Longhorns and Huskers were high school seniors, choosing between playing in Austin or playing in Lincoln. Those same players would team up with each other for USA Volleyball, like senior outsider hitters Juliann Faucette (UT) and Tara Mueller (Nebraska) in 2007, and sophomore utility player Sha’Dare McNeal (UT) with sophomore outside hitter Hannah Werth (Nebraska) in 2009.

Then there’s a more recent past, where the teams have split the series and neither could claim the upper hand.

Wednesday’s game even showed flashes of last year’s team that beat the Cornhuskers three times. There was Faucette bickering with officials like Ashley Engle, in turn enlivening the packed-beyond-capacity Gregory crowd. There was freshman libero Sarah Palmer holding down the backcourt like Heather Kisner. And there was Amber Roberson, spiking it from the back line like Destinee Hooker.

There’s also the present. The Longhorns have won seven in a row and 10 of their last 11, and showed that they can hit with the best of them on Wednesday night. The team’s Achilles Heel in Lincoln — serving errors — switched to the Huskers’ feet, as Nebraska hurt itself with nine serving errors to Texas’ four.

Senior middle blocker Jenn Doris and Faucette both notched their sixth career win against Nebraska, more than any other player in Texas history.

“I think it says a lot about the program,” said Faucette, who posted a 14-kill, 15-dig effort. “The four years that Jenn and I have been here, the Nebraska rivalry has been huge.”

The future remains bright, albeit uncertain. Texas still has tough outings left against Texas A&M and Oklahoma at home and 12th-ranked Iowa State in Ames this season.

As for the seemingly ageless Nebraska rivalry, a decade and a half of players in red and burnt orange circling two dates on their calendar every year may come to an end when the Cornhuskers leave for the Big Ten in 2011.

But just because there won’t be conference implications between the two in future matchups doesn’t mean there will be any less intensity.

“I’m sure there will be [the same excitement],” Nebraska head coach John Cook said. “That’s going to hang around for a while.”