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Neuheisel attempts to tone down Colorado-Nebraska rivalry

(c) 1995 Copyright Nando.net
1995 Scripps Howard

BOULDER, Colo. (Oct 26, 1995 - 04:42 EDT) -- Rick Neuheisel has taken pains to avoid the Armageddon-like, fever-pitch buildup to the Nebraska game his predecessor created.

Tom Osborne thinks that's a good thing.

"I think it got a little out of hand three or four years ago with the fans on both sides," the Nebraska coach said Tuesday when asked about Neuheisel's easing of the Nebraska-in-red-letters treatment of the rivalry begun and sustained by Bill McCartney.

"When they played here on Halloween night a few years ago (a 52-7 Huskers' drubbing in 1992), our fans really hit a low point," Osborne said. "I thought the players on the field on both sides were fine, but I was very disappointed in the fans when they started to retaliate for some of the things that had been happening in Boulder."

McCartney said that that game was played in an atmosphere of hate.

During and after the time when Colorado beat Nebraska two straight seasons -- 1989 and '90 -- fights and verbal tussles among Colorado and Nebraska fans were common. The last several seasons, both McCartney and Osborne appealed to fans to display better sportsmanship.

Neuheisel has taken that one step further, declining to build up the Nebraska game to dizzying heights with his players.

McCartney pegged Nebraska as the Buffaloes' natural rival as soon as he arrived in Boulder in 1982. Osborne refused to be drawn into it, saying Colorado was simply another game on Nebraska's Big Eight schedule.

"Bill came out of the Michigan-Ohio State rivalry, and that was kind of nasty and I think that's what he thought rivalries were," Osbrne said. "But I think he changed that thinking over the years.

"Now, with the way Rick is handling it, it'll probably be a little better atmosphere, and as far as I'm concerned, that's fine."