The Status of Husker Nation
by David Max
The game yesterday may become know as the catastrophe in Columbia. The team got off to a bad start and went downhill from there. The TV fans didn't get to see the bad start due to ESPN scheduling and decision to keep the Virginia Tech-Clemson game on to the bitter end even though that outcome was not in doubt.
I made the statement last week that it was unrealistic to expect to go 60-3 based upon our performance the past five years. Now a lot of the Nebraska fan base is wondering if the team will win another game this year. What a difference 10 years can make. Matt Davison summarized things pretty well when he was interviewed by the ESPN crew. He said he wasn't going to apologize for having high expectations for Nebraska football and I believe he speaks for the entire Nebraska fan base when he made that statement. He also said this is going to be an ugly week. I believe him.
The bulletin boards, talk shows, etc. are filled with demands for change and the fan base is unhappy to put it mildly. I had to create a folder in my email in box called "hate mail" to file all the emails received from angry fans.
Nebraska fans have the reputation for being the best college football fans in America. How we react to the current situation will decide if we keep that designation. I received an email from a former Nebraskan living in Iowa that stated it is easy to be the best fans when you are behind a winning program. The test of a real fan base is how they react when they are not winning. We are now being put to that test. The text of his email is below:
I've always felt like the statement that Nebraska fans were the greatest fans in the world was always ridiculous.The easiest thing in the world is to cheer for the team that always wins. The worst fan in the world can handle that one.
I grew up in Omaha and lived there until I turned 13 in 1976. My first Husker game in person I saw Johnny Rodgers return a punt for a touchdown against Iowa State in 1971. So I understand cheering for the Huskers and cheering for National Champions. Pretty easy stuff. Being in the Husker nation is not hard work.
We moved to Iowa in 1976 and I've been an Iowa State fan ever since. And having been both, I'll tell you that Iowa State fans are better, hands down. The year we went 0-10-1. How about us fans that turned out every week to cheer that team. Not to boo that team. To cheer that team.
I've been lurking on Huskerpedia before
and after the Iowa State game to see what people thought and I guarantee
you that even though the series is lopsided in favor of the Huskers, Cyclone
fans take much more pleasure from their victories than Husker fans do.
Remember the year Devaney called the Huskers the greatest Nebraska team
ever, and Iowa State proceeded to upset Tommy Frazier and company. Think
Nebraska fans have one victory in the entire series that brings them as
much pleasure as that day still brings me. Hell, let y'all put any 10
victories together. Iowa State fans appreciate their team. Win or lose.
From reading Huskerpedia, I'm pretty certain that if there's a lot of
losing in Lincoln, the great fans are going to be nowhere to be found.
There is not one Nebraska fan that will say they are satisfied with the progress of the team over the past five years. Is this where the administration expected the program to be when changes were made following the 2003 season? The obvious answer is no and the assignment of blame is being tossed around all over the place. Will the problem be fixed? Yes it will. The fan base will not allow the current status quo to continue. How remains to be seen.
The fan base is ticked off and they are letting anyone who will listen know about it. What effect this will have on team performance remains to be seen. What effect it has on our greatest fans designation also remains to be seen. That is something we do have control of as Nebraska fans. Let's keep that in mind in the coming week and beyond. All I know is I will be at the Husker Nation tailgate under the north end zone pedestrian overpass this Saturday and in my regular seat in Memorial Stadium for the Oklahama State game behind Arleen Heibel with our Blackshirt towels and we will be rooting for the team. I hope the rest of the people in Section 17 brings their Blackshirt towels that I passed out at the Iowa State game and show their support as well. As fans, we feel frustrated with the current situation and want to do something about it. As fans, we have an obligation to support the current team and encourage them to do better. Let's do that on October 13th and the rest of the season. There are better days ahead.
Just my 2 cents. What about yours?
GO BIG RED!!!