Nebraska Week….Well, Not Quite…How About Husker Tease Day?

I thought about jumping from non-AQ week right to Nebraska week, however after this exchange with Big Red Network it’s clear we’re not dealing with your typical Big Ten Blogger. No, it’s time to really dig in deep and that will take another week, so let’s put it out there that NEXT week will be Nebraska week as they are indeed the logical first Big Ten team to spend a theme-weeked with as they are the newest member and we need more time to acclimate between now and November 5 when we sprinkle some purple in to Memorial Stadium III. Let’s get in to it…

LTP: OK, let’s get the pleasantries out of the way. Welcome. Pause. Now, this whole “NU” thing. You see, we’re a charter member of the Big Ten Conference and are the only NU in town. We get a little testy about the fact ESPN has butchered the abbreviation on lower thirds (ie “NW”, “NWU”, “N’WSTRN”, etc..) fanned the flame of inconsistency, but in Wildcat Country, we are NU. What gives on the fact that the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL) goes by NU?

BRN: Hello. We’re happy to be here, thanks. [Even longer pause] Oh, here we go again with the NU stuff. My friend and colleague Steve covered this way back last July. He was being overly polite (a Nebraska habit) since the Big Ten transition was still very new. 107 comments later, it was pretty clear that Nebraska fans are not the slightest bit willing to part with NU as shorthand for our team. So, it appears we’re at a bit of an impasse. Thankfully you aren’t being overly sensitive or territorial about it. Yeesh.

Here’s the deal – this NU goes back a lot farther and is a lot more important than you might imagine. The Husker fight song has the lyrics – “there is no place like Nebraska, dear old Nebraska U.” See what that says – Nebraska U – NU.

Yes, the academic institution goes by UNL as its shorthand now. But that didn’t come until the 1960’s when they had to distinguish between the school in Lincoln and the newly acquired school in Omaha (now known as University of Nebraska-Omaha, or UNO). Eventually they would create the same relationship with University of Nebraska-Kearney, or UNK. You bored yet? Because I sure am.

The point – that UNL moniker has little historical relevance. NU = Nebraska. As you point out, even ESPN knows that since they choose to call you folks NW. If you want to claim NU, then come beat us. Don’t get bitter, get better.

LTP: Wow. First day, first post, first paragraph and the gloves are off! OK, speaking of bitter, Northwestern fans are still reeling for the ass-whooping the Huskers put on us at the 2000 Alamo Bowl, which was a co-champion year for us. Legend has it that Frank Solich took none too kindly to some alleged trash talking by Northwestern and admitted to running it up a bit with Eric Crouch and company. Is it fair to say that landslide win has Nebraska fans thinking we’re an easy mark?

BRN: Thanks for bringing up that 2000 Alamo Bowl. That’s like catnip for Husker fans. I remember saying to my dad – “Wow, this is like watching a grown man beat up a 12 year old boy”. I think Crouch just scored again, by the way. Yes, I’ve heard the legend of the smack talk too. It’s probably the case. Clearly, a trick play when they were up 52-17 is out of line. There was another factor too. Nebraska was pissed they even had to be in that bowl. They were out to prove something. It’s also now proof that the words “champion” and “Alamo Bowl” should never appear in the same sentence. Your Wildcats were just overmatched.

Getting back to current times, does that experience make NU fans think NW (ha!) is an easy mark? No, not really. I think most fans on both sides understand that was a lopsided contest at that particular point in time. It’s impossible to ignore the strides the Wildcats have made under Fitzgerald. A game played 11 years ago has little or no impact on the present. Both teams are very different than they were then. Husker fans are generally smart enough not to allow that kind of bias from past results, though it is obviously fun to razz you about it.

LTP: Wow again. Rational, cogent thought mixed with some fun. Gotta say, we’re not used to that from teams several hours to the west of us. OK, next up – traditions. You’ve got oodles of them and well, we essentially have a 16-year history that began when Fitz stepped on campus in uniform(yes, with some love to the era of Ara as well). Give us the “Top Five” things we need to know about the legends of Nebraska football. Break it down from Blackshirts to the sellout streak to Rozier, Frazier and Rodgers.

BRN: 1) In understanding Husker history, do not miss the importance of Bob Devaney. The “Bob father” started it all. He delivered Nebraska it’s first two national titles and its first Heisman winner (Rodgers). He was the AD during much of Tom Osborne’s tenure as the football coach. Respect.

2) Tom Osborne – native son of NE (shout out to Hastings!) – is  quite literally a living legend. Questioning him at this point borders on blasphemy. The majority of the Husker greats and accomplishments were born from his teams.

3) The fans. The record consecutive sellout streak is well documented (even celebrated by a slightly obnoxious signs ordered by a now rather unpopular former AD). Husker fans always (!) show up. But it goes beyond that. Nebraska football is at the heart of most every Nebraskan. It’s almost hard wired as part of our cultural identity and way of life. This can create a confusing culture clash for fans of teams where there is more going on (like, for instance, Chicago). But don’t underestimate how much being a loyal and unwavering fan is ingrained in to the Husker tradition.

4) In terms of actual football – we’re known for making great linemen, having great running backs and playing great defense. As you mentioned, the “Blackshirt” defense is a tradition we hold dear. That one dates back to Devaney. He had an assistant buy different colored practice jerseys so he could tell his defensive units apart from each other. The assistant came back with black ones. It wasn’t some kind of deliberate intimidation attempt. It is what the sporting goods store had. It became known that the top defensive unit wore black shirts in practice. It became a status, a mark of pride and accomplishment. Fans caught on to it, and it jumped to a level of public celebration. Also, the blackshirts (and the defense in general) “throw the bones” after a great play. They cross their arms under their chin, simulating the skull and crossbones. You will see fans do that a lot, too. Of course now, with a defensive minded zealot like Bo Pelini running the show, physical and intimidating defense has become particularly popular.

5) To know a culture is to view their art and sample their food. Football isn’t art so let’s talk about food. First, steak is important. When you are in Lincoln, go to Misty’s. You’ll be glad you did. Next, runzas. What’s a runza? It’s a German loaf-style sandwich made with beef, pork, cabbage and onions. We Nebraskans adore them. They are the kind of regional food that every school served at lunch and everyone’s mom knew how to make. A very popular fast food franchise has built a business around the runza. So, they are readily available to visiting fans. Get one when you are in Lincoln.

LTP:  Northwestern’s recent success has surprisingly led us to competing with Nebraska for recruits and even occasionally beating the Huskers out for a recruit or two (see DE Chance Carter). While most Northwestern fans, very cognizant of academics, would likely be shocked to learn of the NCAA record 98 academic All-Americans hailing from Nebraska, I’m guessing Nebraska fans would be equally shocked to learn NU (our NU) has more Big Ten titles since 1995 then all other schools not named Ohio State or Michigan. Support or reject.
BRN: If you are attempting to put NU’s academic success on par with Northwestern’s athletic success, please don’t. The Academic All-American record is as important to Nebraskans as it is surprisingly impressive to outsiders. Am I shocked that Northwestern has won Big Ten titles? No, not a bit. I clearly remember being happy to see them playing in that 1995 Rose Bowl. And, I’m not about to hate on what Fitz has accomplished thus far. I honestly think of the Wildcats as a salty football team as long as he’s the coach. Nebraskans respect that.

But, you’re being really, really selective (even deceptive) in your portrayal of Big Ten title facts by somehow implying that NW is in the ranks with M and OSU. First, the date range – football didn’t start in 1995. You’ll have to do better for longer than that. Next, you are in third since 1995. (Yay for third! You never hear people shout “we’re #3!”) Next, qualify the word title. You were three-way (and not the good three-way) co-champs in 2000. Fail. Finally, it’s a distant third place. When you look at the whole picture, Michigan dominated in the 1990s and Ohio State has dominated the 2000s. I’m not saying that Northwestern is bad or that they haven’t gotten better. They have. But, I flatly reject the notion that they are to be mentioned in the same breath as the Wolverines and Buckeyes.

LTP: There you go again. What’s up with the logical disection of my Wildcataganda that I’ve been spreading since….wait…wait (!)..did you just say that football didn’t start in 1995? Blasphemy! OK, you passed the test. Congrats.  Northwestern and Nebraska appear to be offensive mirror images of one another heading in to 2011. Both invoke a spread offense and both now have a Pistol formation wrinkle woven in to the mix. Taylor Martinez is the most deceptive fake handoff QB in the nation and Dan Persa, until his injury, may have been the most complete QB. What intrigues you most about this Legends Division match-up in Lincoln in November?

BRN: That is a really great summary of the offenses in the big picture. Yes there will be some similarities (spread, pistol, etc) that will make the game interesting. I also agree with your summary of the quarterbacks. IF (big if) both can stay healthy, they could very easily be dueling for offensive player of the year honors. Both are that talented. I was impressed by Persa during the games I saw last year.

I honestly haven’t done enough advanced scouting of Northwestern to give you a detailed list of what else intrigues me. (It’s JUNE). But, I can tell you there will be many more evolutions of the Husker offense before the teams play in November. Expect to see more fullback runs as well as more slip screens and bubble screens from the Huskers. Generally, fans are hoping for more offensive variety than the very zone-read heavy attack of 2010.

LTP: Learning curve time. What element of joining the Big Ten is most intriguing to you? Which is most annoying?

BRN: Simple as it may seem, the schools/destinations are the most intriguing right now. It is, quite literally a welcome change of scenery for Husker fans. There will be matchups with some truly iconic programs (Ohio State, Michigan, Penn State), some already budding rivalries (the hate is already starting to flow between NU and Iowa) (ed note: uhhh, this is where that NU thing is going to get Abbott & Costello-like), and some great teams and new folks to get to know. Places like Chicago and Minneapolis are also very good/easy/enjoyable venues for Nebraskans. Those are easy flights, good cities the places that many Nebraskans frequently travel or relocate to.

I haven’t been affiliated with the conference long enough to come up with a serious hate list of annoyances. That will come as we develop some rivalries. I will say that I’m occasionally off put by the way the conference (meaning the league office/brand, not the league members) acts like the Big Ten’s farts don’t stink or something. It’s all very regimented and professional with the corporate branded logos (thanks a lot Pentagram, nice consulting) and the haughty names — Legends and Leaders, really? But, if my biggest complaint thus far is that the league and product is managed TOO well, then there isn’t much to find annoying yet.

LTP:  Give us the top three reasons Northwestern fans must put a game at Lincoln on the bucket list? By the way, while we have NU rights issues with you, what are your suggestions on differentiating the Memorial Stadiums from one another considering 25% of Big Ten stadiums now share the same name?

BRN: I already talked about runzas and steak. So…I’ll have to cover the non-tailgate ones.
1) To see the “Sea of Red”. Memorial Stadium on Saturday is one of the great monochromatic sights in all of sports.
2) To experience the fan hospitality. Nebraska fans are the most welcoming and polite you’ll ever meet. That legend about Husker fans applauding the opponents isn’t made up. That really happens. I’m a bit of a loudmouth and occasional jackass, but that’s all in fun. The reality is that Nebraskans love to have visitors.
3) Our team is consistently good, and occasionally great. I know that sounds weird as a reason to come visit. But, I’ve been all over the country to see games. Almost without exception, I’d rather watch my team play a good (even great) foe rather than a weakling. Isn’t that the whole point? Even if my team losses, I get to see something potentially great.

To your other question – Memorial Stadium in Lincoln has been compared to the Fenway Park of football stadiums. It’s a good comparison, I think. She’s a grand old lady who has gotten some very good and appropriate modern face lifts. Take the tour of the trophy area and tour the Husker experience when you visit. While Lincoln isn’t what most people would consider “urban”, the Stadium is located in the city’s downtown area. So, by Big Ten standards, it is one of the more urban settings you’ll see, with easy walking distance to downtown bars and restaurants.

There is also a poetry to every truly great football venue, team and their culture. At Nebraska, it’s actually pretty easy to identify, since it is carved in to the wall.

“Not the victory but the action;
Not the goal but the game;
In the deed the glory”

LTP:  What are expectations for Bo Pelini and the Huskers in the inaugural Big Ten year?

BRN: I expect them to win their division and play for the conference title. Those are my expectations every year. I’m not trying to be cocky. Please allow me to explain.

It is very easy to look at the Huskers daunting schedule and ratchet down expectations accordingly. Seriously, there are as many as seven teams on the slate that have a shot to beat Nebraska. I’ve heard several people talk about going 8-4 as a measure of success. But I don’t buy in to any of that stuff about counting wins and losses. Expectations revolve around what at team wins and what they accomplish. It starts by capturing the division.

I know this whole two-divisions-and-a-title-game situation is new to you Big Ten folks. But, Nebraskans are accustomed to it. We’ve won some and lost some. The key to everything is winning the division. Getting your team on to that title-game field is the only way to win a conference championship and a shot at the BCS. Nearly a third of title games end in an upset. So, there are sure to be years when a team will lose as a favorite or win as an underdog. The record when the teams enter matters less to me. The whole point is to get there and take your chances in a one-game situation to be the champion.

Also, winning your division means the team won something that can’t be taken away. Winning it multiple times demonstrates consistency. I expect the Huskers to win their division, and then win it again, and again, and again. I want them to win division so often I get tired of talking and writing about it. Only then will they have put together a sustained high level of play. And, based on the law of averages, may have achieved a conference title.

LTP:  The top three things Northwestern fans will be surprised about by Nebraska this season are….?
1) How ridiculously good the Husker defense will be. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that the Big 12 was just an “offensive league” so NU won’t have a good defense.
2) How effective the offense can be at times. Because of the way 2009 and 2010 ended, it’s easy to think of the Huskers as almost offensively inept. The 2011 offense will be a work in progress, but it will undoubtedly be better than the last to versions.
3) The investment Husker fans will make. I know this might sound ridiculous in a league with Ohio State and others. But, Big Ten folks need to be ready to expect Husker fans to stream in to their towns and stadiums. If a school isn’t careful about “protecting” their house, they can be subjected to an embarrassing Big Red takeover. Just ask Notre Dame.

Bonus – totally unsolicited comment –
Our shared history overlaps some with Gary Barnett. He “made” your program by taking it back to the Rose Bowl. Nebraskans were then thoroughly disgusted by his tenure at Colorado. First, he put the whooping stick to Solich’s teams. Then, he drove the CU program in to the ground. Is there any way we can just agree to dislike Barnett? I mean, he makes it so easy.

Bonus – unsolicited reply –

Actually no. Ed note – the “makes it so easy” was originally a link by BRN to Barnett’s infamous you-know-what press conference. We believe that what happened at Colorado was really unfortunate and bad. However, his tenure at NU was the stuff of silver screen legend and we continue to celebrate it.  Yes, the way he left was less than ideal, however over time Northwestern fans are very thankful for GB and protective of his time in Evanston. 

LTP: I’m exhausted. Well, if this Q&A exchange is any indication of what it will be like having Nebraska in the league then it is time to buckle up. You can see they know their football and know their Huskers. I’m really excited to get BRN back on to LTP and can’t wait until November 5 in Lincoln. Stay tuned for more as we’ll go all-out Nebraksa starting next Monday.

  • Mark

    Great, great stuff! So glad the Huskers are coming to our Big 10 party! I’ve been to Lincoln once being recruited for a job – walking tour of town and went to the stadium in the middle of the day – 30,000+ in attendance for a JV game against Kansas. Can’t wait until NU plays UNL! Nice to see two people treat it like it is – a game and a passion but still just a game.

  • vaudvillain

    Great read — it’s gonna be fun having both NUs in the same division. I second Mark’s comment whole-heartedly.

    I’ll admit, I really don’t see a problem calling both schools NU. Sure, you can have your Who’s On First? moments, but the Big Ten already has two UMs, and it’s no big deal. (There are also two U of I’s, but those abbreviations aren’t really used by the athletic teams, as far as I know.) Sure, when the random fan on the street hears UM, they’ll think of Michigan before Minnesota, and the same random fan will think of Nebraska before Northwestern in response to NU, but that doesn’t mean that Minnesota or Northwestern have to cede the abbreviation. And besides…I like the idea of Iowa losing to NU twice a year.

  • calmer than you are

    Great stuff. UNL really was the perfect choice for Big 10 expansion. I’ve never seen them play in person (I thankfully skipped the Alamo Bowl), but I have heard their fans called the best in the country on several occasions.

  • Chadnudj

    I could care less what we’re called (NWU — which was actually our web-address for awhile –, N’Western, N’West, NU), so long as the media is covering us and we’re on the right side of the final score. And, as @vaudvillain notes, the B1G seems to function just fine with multiple UMs and UofIs.

    As for Nebraska in the B1G, I think they’ll be very good….but they’re going to lose a couple games this year that they otherwise shouldn’t. They need to scout/learn 8 new teams….the B1G’s 8 teams only have to learn one new Nebraska squad. The Big Red’s offense will struggle more with the step up in defense in the B1G (I’m sorry — the Big 12 was never a good defensive conference, outside of Nebraska/Oklahoma/Texas and occasionally Texas A&M), and while their defense will ensure they’ll be highly competitive in every game, I’d say they’ll have a hard time winning the division (it’ll be either Iowa, MSU, or….Northwestern. The schedule lines up well for us, and Persa gives us a shot in every game….)

  • MF

    Great exchange between the NUs. Well done.

  • GTom

    Is it just me, or are others starting to get a bit annoyed by the arrogance of Nebraska fans (expect division titles every year comment, etc.) and looking forward to the inevitable PSU-style good, but not dominant welcome to the B1G? I see 3 or more conference losses for the Huskers this year (one of Wiscy, Iowa, or MSU plus losses to OSU and PSU), and just don’t see what they have done lately to believe that they are going to dominate this division.

  • Bucko

    You may have noticed that our new friend from Nebraska mentioned the facelift that their Memorial Stadium received. That reminds me – What about the facilities report? After a coversation I had yesterday, I am even more convinced that we are getting killed in the recruiting wars because of our poor athletic facilities. I met a man whose son graduated from a North Shore high school a few years ago. The son was a swimming star and was being recruited by both NU and Stanford. The dad said that his son loved both schools. He really didn’t mind the Midwest vs. California weather thing. However, they were shocked by state of NU’s facilities after seeing Stanford’s. That was the deciding factor.

    LTP – What’s up with the report? Also, please tell me that a 2-3 year fund raising campaign isn’t going to follow it.

  • Mark

    Hmm, I wouldn’t be so sure that UN-L won’t be a powerhouse in the Big 10. I don’t see them losing in Lincoln to OSU nor losing to PSU in Happy Valley. (I do seeing them losing to NU if Persa is back!) Pelini may have some anger management issues but we all know the Blackshirts put the wood to other teams. I think they have as good a chance to go undefeated as anyone in the Big 10 – especially if the Wisco QB situation doesn’t pan out for the game in Madison.

  • GTom

    @Mark

    There’s a reason they play the games and I could easily be wrong, but I’m just annoyed by the outright belief that this division is theirs for the taking and this is the beginning of an Ohio State like period of dominance. At a minimum, they got a tough draw with regard to their Leader opponents, and I think that alone is going to make it tough to win the Legend division for the next two years. More power to them, if they succeed, but I just think they’re in for a rude awakening come October and November.

  • Wildcattack!

    I went to high school in Nebraska before spurning UNL in favor of NU. That said, as a Nebrasksan I still cheer for the Huskers as a second favorite behind NU. When I was a senior in high school I was dating a freshman at UNL. I remember when the Huskers lost their first football game that year she was crying because she had wanted the Huskers to win a national championship. It was her expectation that the Huskers be in contention for a national title every year.

    Nebraskans to do not view football as “just a game” anymore than Chicagoans view deep-dish as “just pizza” (see the crying story). To Nebraskans, football is at the bedrock of their culture. It’s hard to think of a week any time in the year where the Omaha World Herald wasn’t running a front-page story on Husker football.

    The Husker fans are extremely courteous, welcoming and knowledgeable about the game but they also view their team as holding a place of exceptionalism in the college football world. That sort of attitude is both admirable and irritating; admirable in that the ambition fuels a successful mindset, and irritating in that they refuse to give an inch on discussions of lets say “realistic” expectations. The Huskers’ attachment to “NU” is pretty baseless other than the fact that they don’t want to cede an inch of ground, especially before the season even begins. Don’t be fooled fellow Wildcats, Huskers are wolves in sheepskin clothing.

    Oh, and for the record, I’m one of the most optimistic ‘Cat fans out there, but having watched a few games at Memorial Stadium before, I’m pretty certain we are going to get crushed on our first visit this November.

  • Lake The Posts

    @bucko – it’s coming. And it will be huge. Insert enormous adjectives here. Yes, it will take some years to complete fundraising-wise, but the big ticket items will be addressed right away from what I hear. Things won’t be announced until all the ducks are in a row and that will be likely coinciding with the start of football…

  • Mark

    @ GTom

    I agree that we shouldn’t cede anything to UN-L. They draw the best teams out of the other division, OSU, PSU, and Wisconsin. I actually think NU can win the division if they can play better defense against the run inside the tackles, get some pass rush other than Vince, and if the second safety plays well. This is assuming Persa is back; without him I still believe they could be bowl eligible, although I agree with many that Army and BC could be losses if NU doesn’t play at the top of its game. It’s a very tough schedule now for Big 10 teams with a number of historically strong teams in each division and the other teams continually searching for coaches to move them up.

  • cece

    oh, did UNL forget to mention Larry the Cable Guy? gag. there are many UNebs, there is only one NU, and it is in Evanston.

  • Richard

    Wildcattack:

    Great summation. Nebraska is Notre Dame lite; same great history, brand, and passionate fan base (less history, slightly lesser brand, and smaller but more fanatical fanbase for UNL). Same long distances to fertile recruiting grounds.

  • NUUM

    @BRN
    Welcome to the Big 10! (11? 12?). Welll, you know. It was great reading you. I look forward to reading more from you in the future!

  • Thanks for the opportunity to chat with you guys. I think this will be the start of many great exchanges between our blogs and the two NU programs. Husker fans are very excited to be a part of the Big Ten. We at BRN are happy to be a part of your online community now, too. Feel free to drop by and comment (reasonably) over at BRN, and I’m sure you’ll see some Huskers popping up on your site as well. This is going to be a lot of fun. See you in November!

  • skepticat

    I don’t know if I’m looking forward to playing them, but I’m pretty excited to have them joining the conference. Welcome, Nebraska!

    And really, about their expectations to win the division/conference every year, let’s calm down a little. Pick any another other storied program – Texas, USC, Florida, heck, even Notre Dame as awful they’ve been in recent history – and tell me they’d be happy with “just” a winning season in the conference. The fact that the conference has added such a strong new member that could rock the boat a little is nothing but a good thing. And if their bravado annoys, there’s one sure-fire way shut them up: beat them!

  • bnahusker

    Great read! This is the kind of exchange that I have come to expect from BRN and have added “Lake the Posts” to my B1G favs.

    Have a great season. (Damn, Can’t August get here already?!)

    GBR!

    Bob

  • Lake The Posts

    @all – thanks for the kind notes. We’re looking forward to “Nebraska Week” as the bar has been raised…

  • John

    @Richard:

    I’m not sure I agree with the Notre Dame Lite comment. I’ve always considered that reference to the little brother thing (Mich-MSU, OU-OSU, etc). Here’s my argument against it. Historically, I’d have to say we’re about even. Nebraska has been more of a power than ND over the past 50 years, while ND had more success before the 1960s and good success after too (although that’s dwindled over of the past 20 years). Both of are national brands are very similar (I’d venture to say two biggest in the country, and the biggest reason the Big Ten considered us). As far as fan base size, some folks don’t realize how big of a national fan base we have. This is one of the biggest reason we have been able to travel so well, because it gives the out of state fans a better chance to see the Huskers. And just for fun, here’s a quick snapshot of what we did to Notre Dame Stadium: http://farm1.static.flickr.com/14/92028104_ac33faa519_z.jpg

    Look forward to all the new match-ups this fall, especially the Northwestern game! I enjoyed watching Dan Persa tear it up last year, and especially liked when y’all beat the Hawkeyes!

    GBR and good luck to the ‘Cats next year (except Nov. 5th, of course!)

  • Twauto22

    Looking forward to the Skers vs Cats, cant wait to settle it on the field… Persa is a heck of a QB and it will be a huge measuring stick on what the Sker Defense can do…

    Also don’t get upset that as a team , we ( the skers/fans) plan to win the division every year.. To be great you have to have confidence, trust me its not a knock on the Big Ten conference.. We know that its going to be a hard fought battle every week and that the Big Ten conference has a large group of teams that play for a division title every year.. That being said its a heck of honour to be in the Big Ten , because you can’t be the best till you can beat the best…

    GO BIG RED!! AND GO BIG TEN!! AND I HOPE NU/ SKERS ARE BATTLING FOR DIVISION TITLES EVERY YEAR !!!!

  • Husker Guest

    Great article and comments. I appreciate the civility of the NU-W (Wildcats) here. Having used that designation let me say it is just to differentiate the two NU’s. I agree there shouldn’t be a problem with two NU’s just as there is more than one IU or MU. College football has several ASU’s, UA’s and others yet tv announcers just resort to call the teams the Razorbacks or Auburn or The Crimson Tide…it all works out as it will in the B1G. As far as NU-H (Huskers) fans having high expectations every year, for most its not being cocky so much as it is most are just hopeful of winning it all as I am sure some Wildcat fans are…just that I think a higher percentage of Nebraska fans have a higher level of expectations (and heartbreak when those expectations are not realized). I too can see an 8-4 season, but that doesn’t stop me from wanting to win it all. Thank you B1G for your Traditions, Heritage, and our gracious entry into your world!

  • Richard

    Husker Guest:

    Actually, there’s only one IU (Indiana) but technically 2 UofI’s (though I’ve only ever heard Illinois referred to that way, and never Iowa, so I always assume “UofI” to be Illinois when I hear it). There are no MU’s in the B10 but 2 UM’s (though pretty much everyone associates “UM” with Michigan, Minny folks seem to call their school “UM” as well).

    John:

    I was thinking more of the brand, where I give ND the edge due to their massive national fanbase. I readily agree that the Husker fanbase is more die-hard, though.

  • As a member of the Husker Nation, who has lived on Chicago’s Northshore for the last 40 years I couldn’t be happier about NU/UNL joining the Big Ten. Husker fans generally have high expectations (42 consecutive winning seasons will do that to you), however, I think the prevailing attitude going into 2011 is overly optimistic (QB who has a history of getting banged up, only two starters returning on the OL, unbelievable fumbling issue, etc.). That said, the Huskers have great potential but given the schedule the Big 10 gave the Huskers I think we’re looking at a couple losses, at least. Wait two more seasons and then we can talk about NC’s.

    About ND–the Huskers don’t take a back seat to them. Even when ND had the Four Horsemen we beat them two our of three. The fan base is completely different – Husker Nation is loyal, passionate and they really respect the game. ND fans (having gone the games in South Bend every few years) range from solid to corporate types and they are almost all arrogant. (Although the welcome in South Bend is very positive.) GBR

  • Husker Bacon

    Addressing our perhaps arrogant expectations, they were learned from consistent excellence in our past. So excellence is something that many of us have come to expect. And as previously mentioned, the heartbreaks are heavy.

    Year – record – Year ending rank
    2001 11-2 #7
    2000 10-2 #7
    1999 12-1 #3
    1998 9-4 #19
    1997 13-0 #2
    1996 11-2 #6
    1995 12-0 #1
    1994 13-0 #1
    1993 11-1 #3
    1992 9-3 #14
    1991 9-2-1 #15
    1990 9-3 #17
    1989 10-2 #11
    1988 11-2 #10
    1987 10-2 #6
    1986 10-2 #4
    1985 9-3 #10
    1984 10-2 #3
    1983 12-1 #2
    1982 12-1 #3
    1981 9-3 #9
    1980 10-2 #7
    1979 10-2 #7
    1978 9-3 #8
    1977 9-3 #10
    1976 9-3-1 #7
    1975 10-2 #9
    1974 9-3 #7
    1973 9-2-1 #7
    1972 9-2-1 #4
    1971 13-0 #1
    1970 11-0-1 #1
    1969 9-2 #11

  • Adam31

    Husker fan here. I would just like to start off saying that I throughly enjoyed reading this discussion and I am pleased with the great way that the NUs are getting along with just talking about football. While this could (and God forbid) change after 1 or 2 games against each other, this discussion/discussion page forsees a great conference relationship.
    I do agree that Nebraska fans are getting a bit ahead of themselves with the whole conference title. But after a nationwide poll, Nebraska had an overwhelming majority picked to win the B1G. Also, Husker Bacon’s numbers don’t lie. Neither does Husker Bacon. Those stats can make on expect the consistently GREAT teams. It doesn’t help that multiple polls and magazines have the 1971 and 1995 Husker Teams as 2 of the top 5 greatest football teams of all time (and usually the top 2).
    Northwestern seems like a great school with a lot to be proud of and I look forward to being in the B1G conference with you.

  • Husker Bacon

    Goose: [as Maverick is looking around the room] What are you doing?
    Maverick: Just wondering who’s the best.
    Viper: In case some of you are wondering who the best is, they’re up here on this plaque on the wall. The best driver and his RIO from each class has his name on it, and they have the option to come back here to be Top Gun instructors.[turns to Maverick]
    Viper: You think your name’s gonna be on that plaque?
    Maverick: Yes, sir.
    Viper: That’s pretty arrogant, considering the company you’re in.
    Maverick: [pauses] Yes, sir.
    Viper: [smiles] I like that in a pilot. Just remember, when it’s over out there, we’re all on the same team.

  • RedBeard-Sailor

    Hey, Northwestern! Yahoo, starting the heckling before the season even starts. Shame, for shame on some of you. I thought this was suppose to be a nice intro of both fan base this time of year. It will be an interesting season, I have read trash article, previews prediction, and down south are still stabbing us in the back for leaving the Big 12 but are getting more money, I guess. I am one of those fans that will say, “Throw those statistic out the Freakin’ window, let’s play some football. Bring your team you have and we will do the same on the Grid Iron to see who is better!”

    Richard: If you only knew what Husker Nation meant!

    Good Luck Northwestern this season, we all need some luck! Good morning

    PS
    Thank a veteran and those who are still serving our country.

  • @GTom – I think you’re mistaking expectations with arrogance. Nebraska expects to win their division every year. That’s not a knock on any other team in the division, that’s simply saying, “We demand excellence from our team.” That excellence should translate to a division win. And it will take nothing less than excellence to win it this year.

    But shouldn’t every single team in Legends “expect” to win the division? If not, why are they putting on pads? It is not arrogant for Northwestern to expect to win the division, it’s necessary to succeed. Think of it as Cortez burning his ships. No turning back. Lace ’em up and let’s go knock heads.

  • Palegabe

    I am excited NU will be joining the B10. You keep your NU and we will keep ours. No Husker is telling Northwestern to change their logo. Next I love visiting Chicago and look forward to visting your campus. Now don’t confuse expectations with arrogence. National programs expect to win championships every year whether they happen or not. I don’t predict NU to go undefeated or win the conference, that said, I optimistically expect they will. Hard to explain but it has nothing to do running roughshod over new foes. It is the expectation of success.

  • Ordoona

    Just for fun — maybe the 2 schools should compete for the “NU Trophy”. The winner of the first contest between the 2 teams takes the trophy and holds it until the other team wins a game between the two. In addition, the use of the NU moniker could be part of the gambit. And all in good fun.

  • Herbie

    “Richard Says:

    Great summation. Nebraska is Notre Dame lite; same great history, brand, and passionate fan base (less history, slightly lesser brand, and smaller but more fanatical fanbase for UNL). Same long distances to fertile recruiting grounds.”

    That’s not really a well thought out comment–Nebraska has more NCs that Notre Dame in the modern era (read: post-1956), Nebraska routinely draws better television ratings than Notre Dame (despite ND having the whole of NBC and NU having to deal with a crappy Big XII TV deal and partial national coverage), and the Nebraska fanbase completely pwned Notre Dame in their own house.

    If anything, Notre Dame is currently Nebraska lite, but even that’s a stretch, as Nebraska fans would never allow Leprechaun Green to overtake Memorial Stadium in Lincoln.

    As for this article, can’t wait to play Northwestern. Perhaps instead of a traveling trophy, we could simply put the rights to use ‘NU’ up for stake when playing each year? I’d also welcome a similar agreement with Michigan–the winner gets to claim the 1997 NC for the next year, the loser has to asterisk it.

  • GTom

    @knapplc

    Believe me, I don’t mean to inflame the Nebraska fanbase, but when you “expect” to roll through a conference of quality opponents, especially as the new kid on the block, that is the definition of arrogance. Penn State fans usually think they will be good, but will qualify with a phrase like, “we have a tough matchup at OSU and against Iowa – we think we will have an advantage in those games due to XYZ and are hopeful, but those will go a long way toward determining the season.” Even OSU fans know full well that they can lose to a Purdue if they don’t bring their A game. It’s great that you enjoy your team and that you look forward to being good year-in and year-out, but when you don’t acknowledge that the competition is capable of beating Nebraska (perhaps on an off day), you are disrespecting the league and being arrogant. Iowa, MSU, PSU, OSU, and Wiscy are really good teams. They will give you fits when you play them. Any one of them is capable of beating Nebraska – as is Northwestern, or even Michigan and Minny for that matter. It’s OK to be hopeful, and it’s even OK to say that you think that you will do well and win the division, but at least have the humility to admit that you might be tested during the season, and that it is (“gasp”) possible that you could lose three or more games. Personally, I think you are in for a PSU-like entrance in that you will be very good and compete for titles many years, but discover league parity and not come anywhere close to the level of dominance that OSU has had as of late, or Michigan back in the day.

  • dkdevnet

    For those of you who would like to watch a pretty sweet video on Nebraska Traditions as well as commentary from non-Nebraskans on said tradition: http://youtu.be/jDED6eUlbMk

  • Nebraska fan here – NU was honored to be invited to join the B10 with its history of tradition and excellence. We look forward to a future association with the B10 on both an athletic and scholarship basis and definitely NU will contribute on both levels to the B10. We invite all true B10 fans to visit Lincoln, NE and enjoy the color, excitement, and electricity of fans on football Saturday.

  • UltimaRatioRegum

    @GTom: It’s simple – any (purported) Husker fan that says we are going to “roll through (the) conference” is an idiot and not to be taken seriously. Any true fan recognizes the team has some serious issues (mostly on offense), one of the toughest schedules in the nation, a whole new slate of teams to game plan against, and that on any given day any team can beat the other. The traditions, the unwavering support, the love of the game – that passion cannot be sustained as long as it has on something as small as arrogance.

  • Husker Todd

    I am a Chicago Husker married to a Wildcat wife. I am very excited about the Big Red coming to Evanston and look forward to a bunch of great games. But to resolve the NU debate we only need to go to Google and type NU football and see what comes up first. T

  • Ryan

    NU fan and alum here. Very excited about Nebraska’s transition into the big ten. However, I agree with other NU posters when they say we expect to win division titles and championships. That has been the expectation at NU since Devaney. Solich was fired after a 9-3 season for not living up to those expectations. It will not be easy, but I really like our team this year and the coming years as long as we keep Pelini. Defense wins championships!!

  • Big Red Dan

    Another Husker Chicagoan married to a Wildcat wife. The fact that NU is coming to the Big 10 is a HUGE boost for my football viewing. The fans in the Big 10 are passionate, intelligent and rabid. That being said, there is only one NU football, so says google. Go to a game in Lincoln and you to will become an NU fan. GBR!

  • Husker Bacon

    @GTom
    Perhaps your definition of expectation and mine are different. Would I bet my house that we win the Big 10 this year? Absolutely not. Will I be disappointed with anything less than a (legends) division title. Absolutely.

    Also I know the B10 is new to the CCG. Expecting to win a division is for obvious reasons less demanding than winning a league.

    Long story short. Win the B10, Nebraska fans will be happy. Not win the division, Nebraska fans will be sad. Win the division but that’s it, Meh.

  • Husker Todd

    Big Red Dan, My wife is looking a Nebraska (NU)/Northwestern “House Divided” flag. How about yours?

  • Adam31

    If you take a kid to Disneyworld for the first 6 years of his life for family vacations, you can’t expect him to enjoy/be happy about a vacation to go to World’s o’ Fun. They are both fun, but it’s just not as good as it could be. Husker fans would be happy with a B1G Championship and/or appearance and they would be disappointed with losing the Legends Division. But that’s only because it could have been better and Nebraska fans only hope for the best. It’s not arrogance. It’s simply expecting the best so that we can feel that Nebraska is like we were in the 90’s (or more specifically 1995 but that’s a stretch). Is it egotistical? Slightly. But that’s just what drives competiveness and competition -Who is the best?
    But 46 consecutive winning seasons does that to fans. So will 26 consecutive top 10 finishes. (Not to mention).
    Nebraska has koolaid, the huskers, Henry Doorly Zoo, and the College World Series. You can’t watch koolaid, the CWS is 9 days a year, and the zoo has no competition (that matters – we all know that San Diego’s zoo is better, but not by much). We take GREAT pride in our Huskers because they put Nebraska on the map and they show how much history, legacies, and tradition are in our state as well as representing the blue-collar hardworking middle class common sense people that make up Nebraska.

  • ravenswood cat

    This is ridiculous. I’ve had about all I can stand of these yokels coming onto a Northwestern blog and butchering the entire concept of abbreviation. Let’s go over it again. Here’s how it works, hayseeds. You use the capital letters of your school’s ACTUAL name, in order. For example:

    University of Illinois -> U of I
    University of Iowa -> U of I
    University of Michigan -> UM or U of M
    University of Minnesota -> UM, or U of M
    Indiana University -> IU
    Northwestern University -> NU
    Purdue University -> PU
    Michigan State University -> MSU
    Ohio State University -> OSU (or, god help you, tOSU)
    Penn State University -> PSU

    Good lord, Nebraska, the only way you get NU from your name is if you somehow think that the name of your school is “Nebraska, University of”. You might as well go by “N of U”, it makes just as much sense.

  • ravenswood cat

    Further research reveals this mental disorder may be endemic to the Big XII conference, as the universities of Colorado, Kansas, Missouri, and Oklahoma all seem to exhibit the same strange backwardness. Only the University of Texas had the sense to abbreviate in a manner consistent with common sense. No wonder they’re so hated.

    You’ve escaped from that insane asylum, Nebraska! Give up your madness and return to sanity, U of N!

  • Husker Todd

    Nebraska historically referred to itself as NU until the addition of more state universities in Nebraska requiring some clarification. The football helmets had “NU” on them until 1970. The fight song words are actually “good old Nebraska U”. As for the “hayseeds” comment, I will only say that name calling won’t get you anywhere. It only dilutes the credibility of your argument.

    Again, Google is neutral and it doesn’t lie. Search NU Football and look to see what comes up first.

  • Richard

    The dyslexia extends to only the old Big 8 schools (which is why Texas isn’t afflicted): KU, MU, OU, NU, CU. ISU, KSU, & OkSt. only escape that fate because they have “State” in their names. Oh, and I agree on the name-calling. Calling them “hayseeds” isn’t classy. I’d call them dyslexic, but not hayseeds.

  • Go U NU

    Google NU and see whether UNL comes up. I think not. NU can also be found in the songs of Northwestern so this claim for UNL is also invalid, in particular as you are singing “Nebraska U,” not “NU.” Regardless, I look forward to coming to enjoy football, drawls, and overalls in Lincoln.

  • ravenswood cat

    So, we’ve established that for a very long time, perhaps for its entire history, the University of Nebraska has been confused. It’s a longstanding error that has now become tradition. Okay.

    I’ll apologize for calling Nebraskans hayseeds and yokels. Chicagoans live and work in one of the largest, most powerful cities in the world, a center of culture, learning, industry and commerce recognized internationally. Sometimes we get a little full of ourselves. I did some research and it turns out that there is an International Quilt Museum in Lincoln, as well as the only museum in the whole country dedicated to tractor testing. So, there’s a lot you should be proud of, too, Nebraska.

  • RedBeard-Sailor

    LOL……..My N is bigger than your N…………LOL…………………

  • Lake The Posts

    @husker bacon- wow. Seeing the year-by-year in print is the single most powerful “shut up” I’ve seen in a long time. Great comments, for the most part, “hayseeds”? Really? C’mon. We can be craftier than that, right? Perhaps I should have all NU all the time. LTP set a single day alltime offseason traffic record thanks to the fans flocking here from Nebraska.

  • Husker Todd

    ravenswood cat,

    1) Your apology was half-hearted, so go ahead and continue to name call. The rest of us will let the result speak for itself on the field (this is a college football blog, correct?).
    2) Northwestern is not in Chicago, it is in Evanston. On top of that it is hardly an urban campus in anyway. Don’t bring up the law and medical schools either, those students downtown don’t play in or go to games.
    3) The best museum in Evanston is the Mitchell Museum of the American Indian. A fine museum but a small one at that.
    4) I don’t think it is even fair to say that Chicago is Wildcat territory. Go to any sports bar in Chicago on football Saturday and you are much more likely to find Michigan, Ohio State, Illinois, and even (dare I say) Indiana fans than you are to find Wildcat fans.

  • Husker Todd

    I just did a little search and found 4 bars in Chicago that claim to be official Husker football watch sites. The same search for Northwestern netted zero results.

  • VeteranHusker

    “NU” used to be on our helmets. When did Northwestern ever go by NU, outside of Evanston?!?!?

  • GTom

    @VeteranHusker

    NU used to be on our helmets, too, for about 20 years I believe in the ’70’s and ’80’s. Not that I care that much – there is enough room for two NU’s.

  • Richard

    http://www.yelp.com/search?find_desc=northwestern+bars&find_loc=Chicago%2C+IL

    The thing is, virtually every Northwestern game is carried on either the BTN or the ESPN/ABC family of networks, so you don’t need to go to an “official” bar to watch a game.

  • Husker Todd

    Richard, I disagree, pretty much every game anyone would want to watch is on TV, but the reason people go to the bars is to be with fellow fans. On football Saturday Lincoln Park bars are full Big Ten fans out routing for their team, even though they could stay home and watch on TV. The reality is Northwestern just doesn’t get that much love from their alumni. They have trouble selling tickets to home games even though their stadium is just a CTA ride away for a huge number of Northwestern graduates. And that doesn’t even consider the ones who live in the north suburbs.

  • ravenswood cat

    No, the reality is that of the Big Ten schools, only Penn State has fewer alumni living in the Chicago area than Northwestern. We might not have a “turfgrass and landscape management”
    major like Nebraska, or even a “food technology for companion animals” program, but some people think we’re still a pretty good school. Northwestern graduates are highly sought after by employers and graduate programs both nationwide and internationally, so our alumni are dispersed across the globe. Our graduating classes are small, and our alumni have opportunities all over the world.

  • n0 on3

    How about we make a deal that whoever wins owns the rights to NU for the next year. We make it a rivalry called the Battle for NU and the trophy is inscribed with “NU.”

  • Wildcattack!

    @ravenswood cat and @Husker Todd – you’re both right.

    Northwestern has smaller graduating classes that are more thinly spread across the globe than their B10 peers. Those alums are also less dedicated to football (especially when compared to the likes of Penn State, Ohio State, Nebraska). I remember when I was in school and people wouldn’t go to the games even though they were free and the teams were pretty good. Compare that to a school like Nebraska where Freshmen enter a lottery for a chance to buy tickets for something like $300 a pop, and you can’t tell me the dedication is equal. If people aren’t dedicated when they’re students, they’re not likely to suddenly become devout fans as alumni. That said, NU has a small devoted following that’s growing. The growth of our football program has outpaced the growth of its fan base, but if we keep winning, fans won’t be far behind.

  • skepticat

    Well, that didn’t long to stop being cordial, did it? :)

    I honestly don’t particularly care one way or another, but appealing to ESPN about who’s the “undisputed” NU seems a little futile, since they always abbreviate Nebraska as “NEB.” So by that logic, they’re NEB and we, well, I guess we get our pick of the litter when it comes to abbreviations (just not NU, apparently!).

    @Go U NU
    “NU can also be found in the songs of Northwestern”

    Unless my memory’s horribly mistaken, the actual abbreviation ‘NU’ isn’t in any of our fight song, alternate fight song, and alma mater. Am I missing something?

  • Mark

    Cats season ticket holder here. Love that the Huskers are coming in. ND is Nebraska no carb! Are you kidding- what is the last ND team that played with the toughness and grit of the Huskers? 1988? Some may remember Johnny Rodgers’ kick returns but I’ll always remember Rich Glover’s complete domination of AA Brahaney.

  • Richard

    HuskerTodd:

    In the B12, something like a third of Nebraska’s games were PPV.

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