Big 10 Users Guide for Nebraska Fans

June 10, 2010

Written by Jon Miller

Hey Husker fans, welcome to the club.  Good to have you…I think.

First of all, things are different in this league than what you are used to.  You get an equal cut of the revenues and are not treated like the cell mate of some guy named Buddy who is doing a four to six stretch for armed robbery.  You’ll sit at the same table with Ohio State and Northwestern, and get the same cut of the meat.  So enjoy it.

You bring a strong football program to the league, but you also have wrestling, a good baseball program and a good women’s basketball program, plus success in volleyball. Thanks.

However, you may want to check that notorious Nebraska football attitude at the door.  We get that you have five national titles since 1970; hey, if you didn’t, you wouldn’t have gotten the golden ticket to be here.  And that you are one of the winningest programs in the history of the sport.  That is awesome, and we are glad to add that to our league’s resume.

However, you didn’t invent the game of football.  And while I am trying hard to be hospitable, some interactions with some of you over the last few days is making this real hard, namely on your view of the Iowa football program.

No, we do not have the history card that you have.  You have us there, but as I have liked to say for years, when someone is relegated to the history card in a debate, it means your present or very recent past isn’t much to stand on.

I had someone say to me on my radio show on Thursday that “Iowa had a nice team with Tavian Banks, and you were pretty good last year.”  I like this person, and I don’t think he is a morning guy, so I will give him a bit of a pass.

However, I’d like to think that last year was better than just pretty good (11 wins, Orange Bowl win, inside the Top Ten national ranking, cover of Sports Illustrated).  2008 wasn’t bad either; 9 wins, Doak Walker Award winner, Outback Bowl win, four losses by a combined 12 points, etc.

In fact, since you want to play the history card, over the last decade, our football programs are on pretty equal footing, and a decade is a pretty long time.

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Nebraska has 84 wins in the last 10 years, Iowa has 80.  During that same time, Iowa has just one more loss than does Nebraska.  This includes Iowa having a three win season in 2000 as Kirk Ferentz was rebuilding the Iowa program.   I know that you made a coaching change and changed directions from the Tom Osborne era, too.  However, as you like to point out, your program was superior to Iowa’s and we are not talking apples and oranges.  The last nine years, Iowas has three more wins than you…just sayin.

Over the past decade, Iowa has two conference championships to your zero.  Over the past decade, Iowa has played in six traditional January Bowl games to your four.  We have each won one BCS game in that time, with Iowa having played in two BCS games to your one.

We have finished inside the AP Top Ten four times this decade, while you have pulled that off just twice with the most recent being 2001.

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All of this has been accomplished without having your national name cache and national championship history, so if you don’t mind, bring a little bit of respect with you when you sit down at the table.

I know ISU fan is reading this and rolling their eyes, but that’s OK.  Right now, I understand they are on edge and I would be too were I in their shoes.  I hope things work out for them and their fans, because they are good people.

Sure, I’ve traded some barbs with them through the years and have enjoyed our rivalry.  That being said, at the end of the game week, I was still going to work with them, to church with them, to the grocery store with them and more.  We were still fellow Iowans, and that holds a lot of sway with me.  So I meant it when I said I hope things work out for them.

However, I have this funny feeling that our rivalry with you, Nebraska fan, is not going to be as respectful.  I think it’s going to get downright nasty, especially in Des Moines, Council Bluffs and Sioux City.  Even though there are not as many Nebraska alums in Iowa City or Cedar Rapids, they will feel in via message boards and the like.

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That’s OK; we’re game for that.  We have dealt with Illini, Gopher and Badger fans through the years and can deal with all sorts of trolls…

I hold out hope that your reputation of having one of the most respectful and courteous game day settings for visitors will extend beyond the walls of Memorial Stadium, but given my experience of living in Kansas City and Des Moines, I am not going to hold my breath.

This item will probably put me in the cross hairs of the mouth breathers among you (hey, every fan base has them), so to you I say; let’s get it on.  This will be fun.  It will probably be words other than fun at times, too…but our teams will get to settle it on the field.

For that, I cannot wait.

By the way, if you think I am crazy, just call up Penn State fans.  They’ll tell you all you need to know about Iowa football.

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