The preseason is over, and Nebraska's last slate of conference games as a member of the Big 12 conference is upon us. Nebraska is looking pretty good heading into conference play, and most Husker fans have to be cautiously optimistic (if not downright giddy) that our team has a very good shot at winning the last Big 12 Championship game.
Beyond the team, the question begs to be asked - "what kind of season awaits us?" - "us" being Husker fans. As Husker fans travel to Manhattan for the final time this Thursday, how will they be treated?
Thursday night's game will be the 95th meeting between the Huskers and Wildcats, in a series dating back to 1911. That's an incredible amount of tradition Nebraska is tossing aside on their way to join the Big Ten. There's likely to be a whole lot of resentment, most of it focused with a "don't let the door hit you in the ass" mentality.
You know ESPN will be scanning the crowd on ESPN, looking for the snarkiest signs they can find, and it'll be those signs that stick in the minds of Husker fans in our final Big 12 season.
Several years ago, I taught a network and communications night course (Novell) at a local community college. I had 18 students, and when the class was done, I read through the reviews. Most of them were pretty good, some downright glowing (I was surprised by that), but one stated that I was the worst teacher the guy ever had, that I had no business being there.
You don't have to guess which one I remember the most.
It's human nature.
The media knows that, which is why "if it bleeds, it leads". Politicians profess to wage positive campaigns, yet the moment things turn against them they go negative because it works. It's why whenever a prominent football player does something as inane as get caught late in a dorm room and gets cited for minor in possession that you have to hear about it.
As far as Nebraska's last Big 12 season goes, the stage has already been set by a media waiting to unleash more of "look how much they hate us" upon the Husker fan base (which may include me, by the way, like I said, it's human nature).
Rather than giving in to human nature, I promise to do my best to heed advice I was given as a young man. It consisted of a single sentence.
"If you go through life looking for shit, what do you think you'll find?"
It'd be nice to have a happy goodbye and by that I don't mean the Huskers winning all of their games and a Big 12 title. I mean a truly heartfelt good bye between two fan bases whose great-grandfathers met on the gridiron years ago to establish a tradition that dies this year. The same feeling goes out to the rest of the Big 12 conference schools - even the Texas schools for whom we don't have near a hundred years of history.
Instead of scanning the ESPN crowd for signs hating on Nebraska, I'll be looking for at least one that says something to the effect of "Thanks for all the games. We'll miss you. Good luck."
I hope like hell I see one.