Nebraska football: About Matt Rhule and Colorado’s incredibly thin skin

Colorado Buffaloes head coach Deion Sanders during the game Colorado State Rams the second half at the CU Events Center. (Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports)
Colorado Buffaloes head coach Deion Sanders during the game Colorado State Rams the second half at the CU Events Center. (Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports) /

No, Colorado fans, Nebraska football coach Matt Rhule was not talking just about you when he made his comments about the transfer portal this weekend.

That the rivalry between the Colorado Buffaloes and the Nebraska Cornhuskers has sparked back up this winter shouldn’t really be much of a surprise. There’s really no love lost between the two fanbases and more than a few Husker fans are quite excited about the possibility of getting payback in this fall’s matchup between the two teams since CU managed to upsend Scott Frost and company twice, the last time couple of times the two squads faced off.

So no, that the rivalry has been rejuvenated isn’t surprising. That Colorado thinks Matt Rhule was talking ish about them over the weekend when he made some comments about the transfer portal, though, is a wrinkle in this rivalry that I truly believe has mystified – and yes amused – Nebraska football fans.

When addressing the media on Saturday after the latest Nebraska football scrimmage, Rhule made what many thought was some innocuous comments about how much he likes his current roster:

"“I hear other schools (say) they can’t wait for today, the transfer portal, they can’t wait to go out … I can’t wait to coach my guys, let me tell you that. I’m not here … I’m not thinking about anybody else but this team out here.”"

247Sports writer Brad Crawford seems to think that Rhule was not just talking about “other coaches” but was very specifically taking aim at Colorado head coach Deion Sanders.

In fact, Crawford’s article was titled, “Nebraska football coach Matt Rhule takes potential shot at Colorado, Deion Sanders for eyeing spring transfers.” But Rhule never mentioned Colorado. He never mentioned Sanders.

Does Sanders’ behavior since taking over in Boulder fit the bill of some other comments Rhule made? Yes.

“If you notice in our videos that we post and I’m proud to post those, they’re always of us working,” Rhule said last month. “They’re never of us talking. (This) program is built on work, it’s not built on hype.”

However, it’s worth pointing out that Colorado has not cornered the market on hype videos showing its coaches talking or leading the team. It feels more like Crawford, and the Buffaloes fans who joined him in claiming that the Nebraska football coach was calling them out, are maybe just admitting their guilt.

Back when I worked in the Nebraska Legislature, I used to watch a certain State Senator make his fellow legislators tell on themselves all that time. Senator Ernie Chambers would often say something along the lines of “I’m just describing a type of person, if you’re taking offense by that description, that’s on you.”

Nebraska football under Colorado’s thin skin

Sanders’ backers seem to be telling on themselves. If they’re going to make Deion the center of the Colorado football universe, they can certainly do that. But maybe don’t have quite a thin layer of skin that you think people are talking about you when they could be talking about someone else, or many someones.

The same sort of thing happened when the Buff’s official Twitter account started posting videos of the team’s offense having its way with its own defensive backs. Many, many people noticed that the defensive backs who were getting badly beat looked awfully smal.

They looked so small, as a matter of fact, that some wondered whether it wasn’t really the Buffaloes at all and that perhaps CU’s offense was going up against some high school players in some camp.

Colorado’s social media team took great offense at those comments. They tried to make a joke of it, but it’s clear that the comments about how small they looked clearly struck a chord.

The bottom line is that Colorado fans deciding that Matt Rhule was somehow taking shots at them feels more like personal insecurity than anything else. But all of this means the game between the two teams this fall is going to be one to watch for Nebraska football and the Buffs.