The number 97, Nebraska, and Big Ten football ought to bring forth one strong memory for Husker fans - the '97 National title, split with the Michigan Wolverines.
You know, the one we won on the field while they were given a gift of a split national title by the media because they hadn't won one since 1948. Think of all the new stuff that Sports Illustrated got to sell to Wolverines fans who had saved a lifetime with the hopes that they'd get to spend it on a national title football, a t-shirt, or a new Blue N Maize chair. No influence there. No sirrrrreeeee.
‘Course the media doesn't see it that way. No, for them, it's always that the coaches gave Tom Osborne a gift in his final season, as if the Huskers didn't earn it on the field. They see it that way because it's convenient for them. It requires a certain amount of ignorance, though, forgetting a 42-17 win over the #3 Tennessee Volunteers, while #1 Michigan struggled to beat Ryan Leaf's #8 Washington State Cougars 21-16 in the Rose Bowl.
The hell with the media. We'd have kicked Michigan's ass. You know why we'd have kicked their ass? Because Scott Frost was on our side, and if there ever was an ass-kicking quarterback, it was Scott Frost.
Michigan's quarterback at the time? Brian Griese. I never had anything against Brian Griese, but listening to his daddy Bob do announcing made me hate the son more than the boy deserved.
Oh, but life goes on and here we are, set to play Michigan every year from now on until the day I die. It still boggles my mind.
Just in case you're wondering what kind of rivalry trophy Michigan and Nebraska might play for - don't. It won't be no rivalry. It'll just be a game.
A game between the winningest program in college history versus the fourth-most winningest program in history, and it's not a rivalry game?
Michigan already has the biggest rivalry in college football with Ohio State. Then they have this big brother/little brother thing going on with Michigan State, and they have Notre Dame. Three damned good rivalries with plenty of stories between them.
Asking Michigan to consider us a rival would be like Missouri asking Nebraska to be a rival. Regardless of the games, it's just not going to happen. Don't even think about it.
97, though. A great number. A great year. A national title year.
You ready to re-live it on November 19th?