Thursday, November 17, 2011

Who Are You and Why Do We Care?: Nebraska Cornhuskers

(Aww, a bicycle built for two)

Okay, where did the name Cornhusker come from?
The University of Nebraska was chartered in 1869. They started playing football in 1890. They tried out many team names before settling on the Cornhuskers: Bugeaters, Tree Planters, Nebraskans, The Rattlesnake Boys, Antelopes, and Old Gold Knights. The University of Iowa was referred to as the Cornhuskers at the time, and Cy Sherman - a Lincoln sportswriter - liked the name and started calling Nebraska the same thing. Iowa chose Hawkeyes and Cornhuskers became the permanent name.

Yeesh, they've been in a lot of conferences haven't they?
From 1892 to 1897, Nebraska, Kansas, Iowa and Missouri were in the Western Interstate University Football Association (gee I wonder why that name didn't stick). Then those schools joined with Washington St. Louis to create the Missouri Valley Intercollegiate Athletic Association in 1907. In 1908, Drake and Iowa State joined, followed by Kansas State, Grinnell (WHO?!) Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, and Colorado. The name changed to the Big Eight. In 1996, the state of Texas merged with the Big Eight to create the Big 12. Finally this past year, Nebraska decided they didn't want to be controlled by Texas, and became the twelfth member of the Big 10.

Have we ever played them? Did we win?
Michigan and Nebraska have faced off 6 times. Michigan holds the slight edge with a 3-2-1 record. The most recent game was in the 2005 Alamo Bowl. In a game where Chad Henne came to play, much of the rest of the team did not. Henne threw for three touchdown, one to each of Tyler Ecker, Mike Massey, and Mario Manningham, and ran for one himself. The rushing touchdown would put Michigan up 28-17 with 11:40 left in the fourth quarter. Zac Taylor and Cody Ross put together an impressive fourth quarter, and Nebraska scored two TDs including a 2-point conversion to put the Cornhuskers up 32-28. Michigan had one more chance with no time left, and put together a rather impressive hook and lateral.

What do they look like?
Well, Wisconsin. They look a lot like Wisconsin. If there is something you can give the Cornhuskers credit for, it is sticking to tradition. They have looked the same forever (throwbacks modeled by "The Dirtiest Player in the NFL" Ndamukong Suh). Oh yeah, their official colors are Scarlet and Cream.

Well its impossible for them to have won a Big Ten Championship so far, but have they won other conference championships or National Championships?
Nebraska has five National Championship seasons. The first two were back to back in 1970 and 1971 under coach Tom Devaney. The next three were in 1994, 1995, and 1997 under Tom Osborne. If that 1997 number either confuses you or makes you angry, there is a reason. Michigan and Nebraska both went undefeated. Since there was no BCS at the time, and the Big Ten was tied to the Rose Bowl, Michigan did not get an opportunity to play Nebraska to see who the real champion would be. The only thing we can look at is similar opponents. Both teams played Colorado and Baylor. While Nebraska beat Colorado 27-24 and Baylor 49-21, Michigan won 27-3 and 38-3.

Do they have a good coach?
Their current coach is Bo Pelini, and I could not find a picture of him where he was a combination of aware of the camera and happy (Maayybe this one). Although he is a ridiculous picture taker, he is actually a pretty good coach. He played Free Safety at Ohio State (So we should hate him) from 1987-1990. He was a starter for his last two seasons, and was a Captain for his senior year. Pelini went on to coach pretty much everywhere, with short stints at Iowa and Cardinal Mooney High School before jumping to the NFL to coach Defensive Backs and Linebackers for the 49ers, Patriots, and Packers. In 2003, he became the Nebraska Defensive Coordinator, and the next year jumped to Oklahoma, where he was Co-DC. Then he was hired by Les Miles to be the Defensive Coordinator at LSU, where they beat Ohio State in the National Championship (So we should hate him less?). After that game, Tom Osborne (who had just been named Interim Athletic Coordinator) hired Bo Pelini as Nebraska's new Head Coach. Since becoming the coach, Nebraska has gone 38-14 and won the North Division all three years he was in the Big 12.

Where do they play?
Nebraska plays at Memorial Stadium, not to be confused with Memorial Stadium or Memorial Stadium. Miscellaneous pictures of the stadium from a ton of angles. The stadium holds the current, ongoing, record for consecutive sell outs at 317. The 81,067 person capacity would make Memorial Stadium the third most populated city in the state of Nebraska.

Do they have a goofy mascot?
They have TWO goofy mascots!! Herbie Husker and Lil' Red. AND they have had more: Corn Cob and Mr. Cornhead (Super clever names). Herbie Husker first appeared on the cover of the 1974 Nebraska Media Guide, and he has had many different looks over the years. Lil' Red (the original Lil, I suppose Wayne, Kim, and Jon are posers) was created in 1993 after a state wide contest to create a new mascot. The body of the mascot is super light and the wearer needs to be strapped to a "powerbelt," which brings in outside air. I assume the powerbelt looks more like this than like this (Although 71% more calories?! AWESOME!!).  So since they have two mascots, they probably get to do awesome things like dance-offs right? Video? Yep...

Nebraska is an interesting team. They have beaten a bunch of mediocre teams (yes Penn State is still mediocre no matter what their record says) and Michigan State. They are 101st in Passing Yards and 13th in Rushing Yards. Taylor Martinez is soo much like Denard (with less dilithium) its eerie. He's a very middle of the road thrower and a very good runner. He often gets early Heisman Hype just like Denard too. The bottom line though is that our Running Quarterback is better. These teams in general are incredibly similar. They both lost a game they should have lost, and they both lost a game they shouldn't have. Its a battle of two top-25 ranked teams separated only by a few spots. These two offenses will both try to lose the game, and sadly Michigan's may do a better job. Prediction on everything other than football: Nebraska 24 - Michigan 21. 

1 comment:

  1. Nice article, enjoyed the read. Wish the game had followed your prediction, however. Happy to be in the B1G and glad to be able to contribute to the article from!