On this site, I have written often that a return to dominance, even respectability, starts with a return to relevance.
Die hard fans like the ones who read this site may crave Husker football year round and follow them with passion during the season; but around the country, Nebraska has ground to make up with fans and with the all important pollsters.
A team’s media profile matters quite a bit more than any of us would care to admit. So, I wasn't too enthused by the news coming out of ABC sport and ESPN this week.
No Early "Love" From the Worldwide Leader
It appears Nebraska has a bit of an uphill climb when it comes to national prominence in 2008. ABC and ESPN released their early rundown of Big 12 games they plan to televise.
Guess what? The Huskers just have one game listed thus far, against Colorado the day after Thanksgiving.
At first I was a bit surprised that Nebraska's game against Virginia Tech didn't get more attention at this point. But then I thought like a broadcaster and the last time ABC gave Nebraska the "prime time" treatment, they laid an egg against USC. (Remember? Oh...the horror. Look away, kids.)
Blowouts like that one make casual viewers leave in droves and cause broadcast executives to think twice before booking flights to Lincoln.
Sure there is still plenty of opportunity for Nebraska to get on regional and cable television this year. And, these things are fluid. So if the Huskers get hot, they may even find a way to draw a nationally televised game.
However, the increased number of media outlets can be a mixed blessing.
A Changing Marketplace
Many of us are old enough to remember a world where ESPN didn't rule the sports landscape. It used to be that there were not all that many televised games to choose from. Wow, I sound old.
But today, there are literally dozens of college football games to choose from each week and with Pay-Per-View packages, almost no game is off limits.
That is both a blessing and a curse for a team trying to get a renewed foothold in the public psyche.
It helps that there are more cameras pointed at the game, no doubt about it. If you are a big boy like Ohio State or Texas, you can be assured of your game being on television somewhere. That's great.
It is good for the little guy, too. Programs like Rutgers and South Florida have risen to prominence lately in front of big cable audience on Thursday nights.
But, for traditionalists or those wanting the stage all to themselves, forget about it. Look at the Thanksgiving weekend schedule for just the Big 12.
Many days after Thanksgiving were reserved for Nebraska vs. Oklahoma, or more recently Nebraska vs. Colorado. That's not the case any more. The Big 12 is looking at a very full slate of games that weekend.
Yep, attention is the scarcest commodity of the 21st century. So, if you want your team (in this case, the Huskers) to get much attention, they had better be good, and bring it every week.
There is always something else to point the camera at.
On the upside, the Huskers and Bo Pelini were relevant enough to merit mention in the "blitz" column in the College Football page of the most recent issue of ESPN the Magazine.
It's a shame the item was not terribly accurate, and that they referred to Phillip Dillard, a linebacker, as an offensive lineman. Accuracy is beside the point though, because at this point, I'd settle for some more attention.