“I hate you, you hate me, we meet on the field Fri-i-day, with a great big hit and a finger from me to you, won’t you say you hate, me, too!”
This stunning rendition of the “Barney Song” might just be the tune prancing through the minds of the Colorado football team in the days leading up to their Nov. 24 showdown with the much-reviled Nebraska Cornhuskers in Lincoln.
“The rivalry with Nebraska is a big reason why I came here,” junior quarterback Bernard Jackson said. “Going into Lincoln, that is a big deal around here. It will be my first start there, so it’s exciting.”
The desire to beat Nebraska is stronger than any other team, maybe even stronger than CSU, according to a few Buffs.
“Our games against Nebraska are absolutely rivalry games,” senior safety J.J. Billingsley said. “We want to beat them, they want to beat us. The hype is as big as CSU, maybe bigger.”
The series between the two teams has been a strange one the last few seasons, with the home team losing in each of the last four contests. The Buffs have won the last two match-ups in Lincoln by a combined score of 54-33.
“We have had some success going into their place,” senior linebacker Thaddaeus Washington said. “It is a great feeling out there, just being in Lincoln, with the red all over. The last time we were there, we came out with a great feeling.”
Like Jackson, freshman tight-end Riar Geer will be making his first start in the Nebraska rivalry as well, and Geer said he looks forward to the opportunity to play in that type of game.
“This is why you play college football, for these rivalry games,” Geer said. “I got a little taste of rivalry with CSU, and hopefully we can come out on the right end against Nebraska.”
Buffs Head Coach Dan Hawkins will also be making his first appearance in the rivalry, and the game will mark his first time coaching against Nebraska.
“You certainly want to go into that rivalry on a positive note,” Hawkins said. “It is a big thing around here, you just can’t let yourself get caught up in it all. We have to go there and try to beat them in their own backyard.”
While many of the seniors on the team know the significance of the rivalry, the majority of the coaching staff, since it is their first year in the Big 12, does not. That idea doesn’t have Billingsley worried, though.
“I don’t know if they know how big it is,” Billingsley said. “At the same time, they probably do know because they hear about it all the time from guys who have played and coached in games there.”
The game against Nebraska is also the last game for many of the Colorado seniors, and the younger players would love nothing more than to send the older players out on a good note.
“It would be awesome to get a win against Nebraska and send the seniors out right,” sophomore wide receiver Patrick Williams said. “We have to work hard in the weight room, film room, and send our seniors out with a big win against one of our big rivals.”
The Buffaloes’ solid victory against Iowa State on Nov. 11 has served as a sounding board for CU and the momentum they hope to carry into Memorial Stadium in Lincoln.
“If we play like we did against Iowa State, it is hard for us to be denied,” Jackson said. “We have to come out fast and just let the rivalry juices flow and we should come out on top.”