November 30, 2006

Conference Capsule: Taylor ready to go

Thirty-five years removed from the "Game of the Century," eighth-ranked Oklahoma and No. 18 Nebraska hope to manufacture an equally memorable battle in their first-ever clash in the Big 12 Championship Game on Saturday in Kansas City's Arrowhead Stadium. In a series that hasn't lacked for star power, Zac Taylor, the league's Offensive Player of the Year, could become a legend if he slays the team he cheered for years ago.

"The game that was No. 1 was the Oklahoma-Nebraska game when I was a little kid," said Taylor, a Norman, Okla., native. "Back then I was cheering against Nebraska. Now it's the other way around. It's a great thing for the Big 12 Championship Game to be between two respected programs with great tradition.

"I know a lot about this rivalry. It's always been a good rivalry, not one with much hate. It's going to be a good opportunity to play against Oklahoma, which has played in this game so many times over the recent years."

Nebraska, 9-3, 6-2 in the Big 12, has won its last three games. It punched its ticket weeks ago and under third-year coach Bill Callahan will make its first appearance in the title game since 1999. Oklahoma, 10-2 and 7-1, enters with a seven-game winning streak, the sixth longest in the nation. It will play in the contest for the first time since 2004 and the fifth time in seven years. The Sooners won the league title in 2000, 2002 and 2004.

The teams that captured at least a share of every Big Eight title but two between 1962 and 1995 haven't met on a neutral field since Jan. 1, 1979, when the Sooners won in the Orange Bowl, 31-24.

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