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Now Playing: Oklahoma Vs. Nebraska (1979 Orange Bowl)

1979 Orange Bowl
1979 Orange Bowl

Why no, Alabama-LSU wasn't the first big-time rematch in a big-time postseason game...

Five thoughts:

  1. Billy Sims is one of the most unique runners that has ever existed. He was reasonably tall (6'0) and ran upright, offering a large target. But even with a perfect form tackle, one defender couldn't bring him down. He didn't have an amazingly good game in this one, but he was still terribly impressive to watch. Kind of important to note that considering his current "BOOMER" caricature. There are plenty more Sims highlights in this series.

  2. This game was billed early on in the telecast as "speed versus power," almost as if Oklahoma and Nebraska were then stereotypical members of their current conferences, the Big 12 (speed) and the Big Ten (power). Both teams focused heavily on the run, but the Wishbone really was spread-esque, as Mike Leach has said before, in the way that it focused on distributing the ball to as many speedy playmakers as possible.

  3. As successful as they had already been under Tom Osborne, Nebraska was a bit of a tortured program by the late-1970s (and through most of the 1980s). They were always very good, but never the best, and in the mid-1970s, they were very much passed by Oklahoma. They finally beat the No. 1 Sooners in November of 1978 (it was Osborne's first win over Switzer) and moved to No. 2 in the country; but after a shocking (and thrilling, and amazingly well-played) loss to Missouri, they ended up playing Oklahoma again in the Orange Bowl instead of fighting for the national title. Their win over the Sooners didn't even get to linger for two months. As soon as they got over the hump, they fell backwards. Final poll rankings: Oklahoma third, Nebraska eighth. Obviously Nebraska would run into even bigger Orange Bowl heartbreak five years later, and Osborne didn't finally break through with a national title until 16 years after this game.

  4. Oklahoma: 2-for-3 passing.

  5. Sims, by the way, has always had personality.

    Sims, asked if there was anyone he wanted to thank, replied, "The Man upstairs. He knows best."

    However, Sims said he didn't "say his prayers" the night before the voting ended.

    "Me and the Man upstairs, we've got a good understanding," he said. […]

    Sims said he plans to attend a Billy Sims Day celebration Saturday in [his hometown of] Hooks.

    "They were going to have it anyway," he said. […]

    A reminder that Southern California has a game remaining against Hawaii and [Charles] White possibly could overtake him as the nation's leading rusher drew a wide grin and a chuckle from Sims.

    "It don't matter now," he said.