We're only a few days away from the start of fall practice and I want to take this chance to review something that's been bugging me since the not so great ending of last season.
It stems from my attendance of last year's Missouri game. Chance had it that weekend was a "Red Letter Day" in which future potential students (and parents) were invited to visit the University of Nebraska and get the big rah-rah on what life on campus could be like. I'd be damned if we weren't all going to get tickets to one of the most-anticipated games of the year, and so we did.
The game started like an explosion, with Roy Helu tearing up the Mizzou defense as if they didn't exist. It was a beautiful first quarter as the Huskers took a 24-0 lead and everyone (except Missouri fans of course) was feeling pretty good about things. Then the game bogged down. Missouri scored. Husker fans got nervous.
Next thing I know, the Husker crowd is booing. I don't have a clue as to why they were booing, but, honestly, they booed a lot. In fact, I noted it in an article after the game:
The crowd is loud all of the time. The only time it's not loud is during obvious TV timeouts and during the play reviews. Every time Missouri lines up to run, it's incredibly loud. The crowd boos the refs - a lot. I constantly find myself trying to figure out what the hell we're booing about. I don't recall a Nebraska crowd booing that much, and to be honest, after a while, it bugs the hell out of me. When did we start booing every time we don't get a call (or vice versa)?
The first time I can remember hearing boos at Memorial Stadium was during the 1982 Missouri game. Randy Jostes hit Turner Gill on a cheap shot after Gill had handed the ball off on an option fake. Gill is knocked out and has to leave the game. It didn't help that Jostes was a Nebraska native that chose to leave the state and play for Missouri.
Booing = justified but thankfully short-lived. Even then people questioned it.
Many Husker fans remember the booing of Scott Frost in 1997. Frost originally chose to play at Stanford, then transferred back to Nebraska, and most of us thought he was some traitorous bastard (perhaps like that evil cheap shot artist Randy Jostes - people have long memories you know) and wanted Frankie London to win the starting job at quarterback. So, London entered the game against Central Florida, ran a series which lead to a touchdown, then Frost came back into the game and was subsequently booed. It was shocking. SHOCKING, I tell you. It was one thing to boo a cheap shot. It was something altogether different when the home crowd was booing their own player.
Rather than turn into the child-molesting serial killer many were sure he was, Frost went on to win a national title (screw you Michigan), played in the NFL for several seasons, and is now a successful coach whose named is mentioned for a Nebraska position every time one comes open. (Maybe some of you are still feeling guilty?)
Booing = idiotic.
2007 saw a season-long never ending chorus of boos as Bill Callahan and Kevin Cosgrove drove at team to the depths of hell. Fans booed mostly because they weren't sure what else to do.
Booing = Who the hell cared about booing? I'm pretty sure that my children (and yours, admit it) have heard every combination of profanity possible, and it may serve them well should they ever get into conversations with sailors, car mechanics, or their father-in-law.
Then there's last season. Can the incessant booing be explained away by it being our last season in the Big 12 when we were sure that Dan Beebe was out to get us? Or will it return this season when a Big Ten official makes a bad call (and believe me, they will) and some wingnut decides to start a rumor that the B1G doesn't want us winning the conference in our first year in it? (Not that I want to give anyone ideas.)
The point is this - we've got a chance to start fresh. We kept those damned "Greatest College Football Fans" signs on the stadium, and it's time those signs represented a return to sportsmanship for Husker fans, not just claiming we're great because we've sold out every game since 1962, or that we can take over other school's stadiums from time to time. Get the booing out of Memorial Stadium and take it back to where it used to be - a shock to the system that it would ever happen in the first place.
All that standing on a soapbox, and I didn't even bring up leaving the game early. Husker fan of 2010, I do not know you, but I hope that I do not see you again.