We all know the numbers; at least, those of us born before the 1990s do. We’ve all seen the newspaper articles, and we all know what is coming up this Saturday at 6:00 pm in Lincoln, Nebraska.
No, the Cornhuskers are not going for their first Sun Belt conference championship, and no it is not just another ho-hum lackadaisical, easy-to-win, non-conference game. It is Nebraska’s final nation-long streak after a series of them fell in the early part of the millennium.
Saturday, on pay-per-view, a different-looking Husker team will be running out on that field. I’m not talking about the fact that they will look different because a close, nay, heartbreaking loss to Virginia Tech inspired them to play better.
I’m talking about their jerseys.
The Husker football team will be wearing jerseys to commemorate the 300th consecutive sellout in Memorial Stadium. It is the last of many records the Huskers used to hold, and coaches, even one with two losing seasons couldn’t take it away.
Because it is up to the fans to keep it going. Insert random there’s nothing to do in Nebraska joke here.
Let the haters say what they want.
Let the Floridians stew in their robust cities and claim they don’t sell out because there are “better things to do on a Saturday” than to watch their favorite football team beat up on Who’s-It State.
I don’t care.
One thing I do care about is that this is a record that, barring a major economic collapse (yes, one bigger than the most recent), should be held as long as the program is around.
In fact, the Husker’s hold the record at 300 with no sign of slowing down, after expanding seating in 2006 and receiving over three times as many requests for tickets as additional seats added.
The only program at Nebraska’s heels: Notre Dame, which holds a consecutive sellout streak of 207 consecutive.
That’s right, a full 93 games behind the Huskers, and even if Notre Dame played a home game every game for the next seven years, and Nebraska stopped selling out after this weekend, Notre Dame would still be behind the Huskers.
That’s what makes us such a special football state. We love our Husker football, and maybe it is the homer in me, but there is something about Nebraska that makes me think Husker fans would still sell out a stadium in a 2-10 season.
The end of the Solich Era and most all of the Callahan Era, saw all of our other streaks fall one-by-one in almost ceremonial fashion.
Solich’s loss to Ole Miss in the Independence Bowl dropped Nebraska to 7-7 and, ultimately, the loss of the nation’s longest streak of winning seasons at 40 seasons.
In Bill Callahan’s first year, the Huskers dropped to 5-6 in a hard-fought losing effort to the Colorado Buffaloes at the end of the season. It ended Nebraska’s nation-leading streak of 36 straight bowl games attended.
But not even Solich or Callahan could end the sellout streak.
There are many more streaks that ended in this era, and unfortunately many more that began. In fact, the streak of losing to a top 20-team on the road since 1997 stings the ears and eyes of Husker Nation every time it is brought up.
But let us not dwell on the negatives here. Let us push forward to the positives.
While the record-setting day won’t be on TV for all to see, it is important for fans to remember the days of waiting for these streaks to come to fruition and to keep our own on the same path. The fans are a big part of Husker football, and they should take special pride in this feat.
So, good job, Husker Nation. Here's to 300 more sellouts!