Definition of a Husker Football Fan: Fickle

Posted on July 18, 2008. Filed under: College Football | Tags: , , , , , |

By Will Cummings
Hit News @ Hit


What’s the Definition of a Husker Fan?  Answer: Fickle

An Outsider’s View of Today’s Nebraska Football Fan
and the Importance of the Next Three Years



     After witnessing almost a decade worth of mostly lackluster seasons , and several coaching changes and three sports administration office makeovers,  

Husker football fans have gone from a having  what many outsiders would call a superiority complex to taking on the mantle of a bunch of disillusioned fickle followers.”

    The opinion expressed above was initiated partly in response to an-unscientific-poll that was posted on Hit News @ Hit Highlights .com,  but mostly it is based on my observation of Husker fans over the past sixteen years.

    The poll that sparked the undertaking of this diatribe asked poll takers to give a yes or no response to the question: “Will the Huskers win a Big XII football Title within the next three years.”  The response thus far:  No-184; Yes-74.  72% of the respondents do not think the Huskers will win a Big XII title within the next three years. 

    The results of the poll caused me to reflect back on my arrival to Nebraska in 1992. As an outsider-and not a Husker Fan-it was amazing to me how fanatical Husker fans were even before Tom Osborne led his team to his first national championship in 1994. For Husker fans the cup was always half full and they always believed their team was going to win, and when they didn’t win their excuse was a bad call by an official or a blown play or a missed opportunity. Hence, after that first national championship, Husker Nation went from fanatical to downright obnoxious in their adoration for everything linked to Nebraska football. In a span of three years, two more national titles would follow. And as a result of my open disdain for Nebraska football—I endured much humiliation, pain, and suffering.

    So after admitting that I am not a Nebraska born native and that I openly rooted against the Huskers for years, you probably think I am sitting back and gloating at the demise of a traditional college football powerhouse and storied program. Quite the contrary!  For though I had no love for the Huskers, which was based on my college football career at Kansas State where we were unmercifully and routinely thrashed by Nebraska teams, before I transferred to Ohio State (my home town), I always have had the respect for traditional powerhouse sport programs and successful coaches. I especially have a deep admiration, understanding, and appreciation for successful coaches having been a son to a very accomplished amateur boxing coach.

    My life experiences have given me countless real world and up close examples of the complex nature of quality caoching and strong winning traditions as well as witnessing the presentation of poor coaching and losing programs.   I am no soothsayer, but those who know me can attest that when Osborne retired in 1997,  I expressed to deaf fanatical  Husker fans that Nebraska football would fall to the ranks of the mediocre—for a long time. It was only a logical proclamation based on personal historical reference points and nothing more. The assertion was (and is) based on the proven premise that

Tradition alone may win you some games, but coaching is what wins championships.”

     From the beginning of Osborne’s retirement, it was obvious to me that Frank Solich would not be the answer, though he deserved the job due to his loyalty to the program. Solich simply impressed me as someone that had spent too much time playing second fiddle to a great coach for him to become a successful heir to the throne. Subsequently, during the time of the search for Solich’s replacement, my estimation was that Bill Callahan would be the wrong man to hire,  because of his acrimonious relationships with many of the Oakland Raiders players (I mean you don’t often see several star players make such vehement disparaging public statements about a head coach), and his distance from the college game.

Fortunately for Husker fans, a little over a decade after Nebraska brought home its last national championship trophy, you finally have in your midst a head coach that is capable of bringing back to Nebraska another AFCA National Championship Trophy.  But you sure don’t act like it!”

      For the past six years,  other than turning out 80.000 strong for a Husker spring game, most of which I believe was more morbid curiosity than Husker adoration and pride,  I have not seen nor have I heard anything from Nebraskans even remotely similar to the Husker fans I first met and grew to despise.

    The difference between the—pre-Osborne first national championship—1992 Husker fans that I first encountered upon moving to Omaha and today’s fans is truly astonishing.  Gone is the air of cockiness: replaced by self doubt and uncertainty and the seeming desire to be content with just being competitive on the field. Whew!

    The poll is just a reflection of what I have been reading in local papers, periodicals, and Internet message boards. In addition to what I have been hearing on area radio and TV shows, and through my personal conversations with Husker fans, since midway through Solich’s tenure.

    It’s been a long, rough, drama-filled eleven years and now it’s time for Husker Fans to be Husker fans. Recruiting issues will take care of themselves with wins. Many top recruits want to play for BCS Bowl contending programs and they are intrigued by and drawn to youthful and successful head coaches like Bo Pelini, a defensive coordinator fresh off LSU’s 2007 national title team and a former defensive back coach for the San Francisco 49ers 1995 Super bowl championship team. Let him start winning games at Nebraska and a lot of top recruits will quickly perk up.

   The scenario plays out like this: The national media has basically shunned Nebraska, even during the glorious decade of the ‘90s—great teams but no compelling story line or special spark. To many outsiders, the Husker 90’s dynasty was just a group of hard working boring Midwesterners. Sorry!  But that’s how many of us saw it. Today, Nebraska has Pelini, a charismatic, youthful, emotional, first-time head coach hot from the oven of the national champion LSU Tigers—his quest is to bring back Husker Glory.

    The media loves this type of storyline. He wins games and the national media will eat it up! Wins bring media attention. Accordingly, Pelini and staff will draw the type of recruits that have traditionally been hard for Nebraska to sign. Thus, a new era begins.

    The caveat to this scenario: Nebraska must be successful within the next three years. Success in this scenario means that Nebraska appears in a BCS bowl or they come pretty darn close to making the series. Why? The longer it takes for Nebraska to show that it is back among the top tier programs the more panicked and frustrated fans will become and the more emboldened and successful upstart conference competition will be on the field and on the recruiting battleground. During this time frame, If Nebraska football fails to make a definitive statement that illustrates talks of its demise are premature—a possibility that I cannot fathom—the Husker’s quest to “restore the order” most likely will not materialize for many more years to come.

    Many beaten down and jaded and fickle Husker fans do not believe it’s possible that the Huskers can turn around the program within three years. I do!

    Bob Stoops, Urban Myer, Pete Carol, and Les Miles all have that immeasurable special quality that makes them the type of winners that turn around programs in quick order. In my opinion, Bo Pelini is just one of the gang.

     My message to Nebraska fans: 

Expect the unexpected—the glory will return sooner than many of you believe.” 

    Enjoy the ride!


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  • my Hit

    Nebraska High Schoolhoops7Top 25 Prospects '08/'09

    By Action Force


    Sponsor: Hit Highlights Inc.

    1. Jarell Crayton, 6-7, SR, C, Bellevue East

    2. Gregg Smith, 6-6, SR, SF/PF/SG, Ralston

    3. Elliot Elliason, 6-11, JR, C, Chadron

    4. Dwight Smith, 6-3, JR , PG/SG, Ralston

    5. Tyler Evans, 6-2, JR, SG/PG, Waverly

    6. Mike Gessell, 6-0, FR, PG, South Sioux City

    7.. John Karhoff, 6-8, SR, PF/C, Creighton Prep.

    8. Vondrae Tostenson, 6-5, SR, PF, Millard South

    9. Matt Hagerbaumen, 6-7, SR, SF, Lincoln Southeast

    10. Stevelle Burns, 6-0, SR, PG, Benson

    11. Deverell Biggs, 6-1, JR, SG/PF, Omaha Central

    12. Caleb Steffensmeir, 5-11, JR, PG, Creighton Prep

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    15. Scottie Davis, 6-5, JR, SF/PF, Omaha Burke

    16. Derrius Vick, 6-0, SO, PG, Lincoln Southeast

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    18. Jerad Warner, 6-6, JR, PF/C Omaha Gross

    19. Dol Kutey, 6-6, SR, C, Lincoln Northeast

    20. Ben Imig, 6-0, JR, SG/PG, Bryan

    21. Galen Gullie, 5-7, SR, PG, Bryan

    22 Pete Uhing, 6-5, SR, PF/C, Lincoln High

    23 Adonis Hill, 5-10, SO, PG, Omaha Burke

    24. Mike Dentlinger, 6-6, JR, PF/C, Millard North

    25. DK Augustine, 6-4, SO, C, Omaha Bryan

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    Lincoln SW (18-2) 1


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