Jake Trotter of The Oklahoman talked with 29 players at the Big 12 Media Days and asked who the best and the worst fans in the Big 12 are. (Read it here.)
It's no surprise Nebraska came out on top.
Husker fans have long been regarded as the best in the conference and on many occasions the best in the country. Nebraska faithful have been known to give standing ovations to opponents leaving Memorial Stadium, whether they just beat Nebraska or not. They've been called courteous, respectful, helpful and kind.
It's not like there's something magical in the water in Lincoln, Neb. I lived there for three years—I would have noticed.
The overall general population isn't noticeably kinder in everyday situations than elsewhere in the Big 12. Husker fans aren't subjected to a "Fan Etiquette" class before being allowed season tickets (though schools like Colorado and Oklahoma State should require a class like that for theirs).
So what makes Husker fans so special?
In my opinion, the origin of the wonderful sportsmanship emanating from Memorial Stadium comes from the man who never won fewer than nine games in a season, grabbed three national championships (four if he'd have kicked the extra point) and now has an office in the north end zone: Tom Osborne.
Husker faithful know Dr. Tom well. Others around the conference and the country know him by reputation. The man is probably the kindest and most respectful human being I've ever had the extreme pleasure to meet.
And he is the mold that has shaped Nebraska fans for decades.
When Osborne took over coaching from Bob Devaney in 1973, the eyes of everyone in Nebraska were upon him. It's arguable that the head coach of Nebraska is more powerful in the state than the governor or the unicameral state legislature. Osborne took it in stride with a cool, calm and collected demeanor that was so contagious.
Osborne respected his opponents a great deal, a big contributing reason for his 255-49-3 record against them. Osborne was passionate, but retained his composure at all times.
I grew up watching and respecting Tom Osborne, and I wanted to be just like him. So did so many others. So when Nebraska fans give their opponents a standing ovation or help out a visiting team's fan, they're really only doing what Dr. Tom would do.
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