I am a 50-year-old male who was born in Nebraska, because of this I was, by my birth right, an automatic Nebraska Cornhusker Football Fan. No other sport would matter to me; no other sport would be as near and dear to my heart as my Husker Football.
I became a “Bugeater.” What did this mean? Well for starters from the 1969 season, when I was 12 years old until 2001, when I was 45 years old, for 33 consecutive years, my beloved Big Red won at least nine games or more every single year.
That number is in and of itself simply mind boggling. It is an “Excellence of Execution” that, in my opinion, will never be equaled, let alone surpassed. It gave all fans of Husker football a sense of pride and accomplishment that is indescribable. It was, to use another cliché “as reliable as death and taxes.”
Players came and went, but through this entire unbelievable streak, it was overseen by just three coaches, two of which are Icons in Husker football.
The first was “the Bobfather” Bob Devaney, who gave us our first two National Championships and then for the next 25 years Dr. Tom Osborne, who compiled a record of 255-49-3 which gave him the best winning percentage (83.6 percent) among active Division 1-A coaches at the time of his retirement, and the fifth-best of all time.
During his last five seasons, the Huskers went 60-3 and won three more national championships. The Huskers have had players earn All-American honors 92 times and a NCAA record Academic All-American 62 times.
The streak was completed by Frank Solich, who like his predecessor Dr. Tom, was a former player and graduate of Nebraska.
I believe that the Nebraska football cemented itself with, what is widely regarded as the “game of the century” played on November 25, 1971 between the number 1 ranked Cornhuskers and the No. 2-ranked Oklahoma Sooners.
This epic battle went back and forth and was won by the Huskers 35-31, the difference in the score being a 72-yard punt return by Johnny Rogers, although Jeff Kinney scored the winning touchdown with a 2-yard run with a minute 35 left in the game.
The Huskers went on to win the Orange Bowl that New Years with a 38-6 trouncing of the then No. 2-ranked and undefeated Alabama Crimson Tide. For the season, the Huskers wound up beating the Associated Press’ No. 2, 3, and 4 teams, an accomplishment that has not, nor probably will not ever be duplicated or surpassed.
According to a recent ESPN article, they held a mythical playoff system involving all of the great college teams from the past and in the championship game it was the above mentioned 1971 Husker team against the 1995 Husker team.
The 1995 Husker team, which set records for scoring, margin of victory, rushing yards and total yards, emerged as the champion in this “Clash of the Titans.”
But the one thing that stands out most when it comes to Nebraska Football is not the games themselves, but the Fans who attend the game. Perhaps the greatest of all the streaks that the Husker football team has accomplished over the years, it is the consecutive sellouts of more than 280, dating back to 1962.
This is a great testament to the fans who brave all types of bad weather, which lets be honest; there is a lot of bad weather in Nebraska in November. But besides the sellout streak, it is widely known that the Fans of Husker football are the most gracious in the entire county as well as probably the most knowledgeable.
They will cheer the opposing team in both victory and defeat. I remember a game back in 1998 I believe when they cheered Ricky Williams with the “Heisman” chant as he left the field victorious.
On Oct. 14, 2006, in a 21-3 victory over Kansas State, the Huskers became only the fourth team to win 800 or more games in NCAA division football, the others being Michigan, Notre Dame and Texas.
Also all you have to do is to watch any tapes of a Nebraska Bowl game and see how the stadium is “A sea of red.” The Husker fans travel better than any team in the Country and they will go just about anywhere to support their beloved Huskers.
So besides all of the records that the Nebraska football team has achieved over the years, I believe that it is the fans of this great school that makes Nebraska what it is.