I glanced at the Des Moines Register the other day, and a small graphic caught my eye. It said that Iowa State has played Nebraska a total of 105 times, or more than any other team in their football history. Wow! Just another one of those unexpected moments where the move to the Big Ten doesn't seem all that wonderful.
Kinda sad really, as the paper has been asking for readers to submit stories for a couple of weeks now. Stories about Nebraska memories over that span. Makes you realize how the desire to hate us coming from some of these rival schools, is trumped only by the desire to keep us around. I'm sure most will submit yarns from the Seneca Wallace era, or maybe from last years "fabulous-football-giveaway" promotion at Memorial Stadium. Either way, I'm looking forward to reading them -as it's a closely related idea to what we are doing here with this series.
I know we're leaving the Big 12, and it makes sense to recall only the last 15 years for this series, but maybe we should just re-name it? Such amazing stories have been coming out of readers, friends, family, and co-workers when I mention writing these articles. Makes me think we should just open it up to anything, from any era.
One example: My uncle from Omaha is an NCAA volleyball official, and stopped by to watch the Husker game before heading over to Drake University in Des Moines. Upon mentioning this series, he launched into a story about making the trip to Memorial Stadium as a 21 year old, for the 1978 game against Missouri. His brother, a few years older and mentally handicapped, was in tow that day and by halftime they had started to feel the bitter cold set in. A couple from Cozad, NE had been graciously sharing bits of their own blanket with the two, and so feeling guilty and for fear of losing an ear to frostbite, they sought to each buy an $5 stocking cap (clarification was made about how much $5 was back in '78). The story ended, not with the final score or who made certain plays, but with the fact that once his older brother laid eyes on a big ol' red Nebraska cowboy hat - there was no turning back. God bless him....I can just see his big goofy smile, frozen to his face in the 4th quarter while wearing that ugly thing.
So, we continue with the Husker Flashbax Series. The Big 12 era, and/or anything before that.
October 24, 2009 : Iowa State 9 - Nebraska 7
This game itself wasn't so much the biggest memory for me, both teams were unranked going in and Nebraska was reeling from a home loss to Texas Tech. This is more about the surrounding experience and what has happened since then, particularly for ISU.
Everyone remembers the 8 pretty little gifts we handed to the Cyclones. What many don't know about, is the 9th present. The one that ISU marketing folks should be thanking us for. The Rhoads locker-room speech afterwards literally spawned the 2010 marketing campaign for ISU football, as a gob of "Proud" billboards and posters started popping up around town. Every trip to the gas station for me takes me past a big ol' billboard with the "Proud" slogan all over it, and serves as a reminder of the 2009 debacle. Talk about a perfect angle from an advertising standpoint. The group that came up with this campaign must be either genius, or just plain lazy....or both. Either way, they should be thanking Paul Rhoads and Nebraska.
Interestingly enough, last year I plopped down on the couch of fellow blogger, and Clone Chronicles author "ProudClone", to witness yet another ISU beatdown in Lincoln. Had I known what was going to transpire, I may have opted to wallow in despair on my own premises, but as it were...I was in Cyclone-land with nowhere to hide my shame.
We Husker fans will never be able to make sense of what happened. Austin Arnaud, in all of his bi-polar mediocrity, wasn't even playing that day. The "no-names from Ames" (at least from a national standpoint) rode a wave of Husker mistakes to one of their biggest victories in the long-standing series. That was the day where I stopped claiming Niles Paul as an Omaha guy, started wondering about Nebraska's so called home field advantage, and was brought back to reality by the cardinal and gold. I wonder if ProudClone from that other site got a glimpse of what it's like for a lot of us Husker fans after a loss like this. I spent the next 45 minutes sobering up, pacing his backyard on the phone with my brother, and trying to break down what the hell had just happened. And of course proclaim the season as "lost"..at least for the next 24 hours.
We'll spare readers the Rhoads locker room video, and just go with something from on the field. The music is hilarious, and pretty much sums this one up:
All credit to the 'Clones, they played hard, and took advantage. I really like Rhoads as a coach, and I've enjoyed watching them own the state of Texas this year (At least someone got that right). If people look back at this game as the one that catapulted Rhoads into relevancy, then I'm very cool with that. He seems to really fit in well with his university, it's fans, and especially his players. Unless I get a wild hair and decide to drive up to Ames on Saturday... I'll miss the chance to ever go to a Husker game at Jack Trice Stadium, and well.... that kinda sucks.
105 games. It's been fun. (For us anyway)
Most respected / hated players for me actually go to a few coaches this time:
Dan McCarney - who has done more for ISU football than anyone has before or since. And he did it with some class. I always thought he would have been a good Nebraska coach in some regard, maybe as an assistant?
Most hated is Gene Chizik without a doubt. I appreciate that he was able to beat Iowa while he was there, but his attitude towards Ames and it's program was just a huge show. He didn't want to be there, and it was evident every time he spoke. The minute Auburn came callin'? See ya!!
You know the drill.....let's hear some stories! ANyone remember the 70's? There was apparently a big one then as well...