Countdown to 2012: The Worst Drought: 13 Years of Championship Futility

Wisconsin's Nick Toon displays what Nebraska players hope to have on December 1st. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

Talk about a drought. This has been an epic drought. As in a conference championship drought. As in 13 long, dry years. You remember, don't you? Certainly you remember December 4, 1999. Nebraska beat a team based out of Austin, 22-6. Our opponent had as many rushing yards as points. And it was the last time our Nebraska Cornhuskers won a conference championship.

  • Back when Y2K was gonna blow up the world as we knew it;
  • Back when we were partying with the artist formerly known as Prince;
  • Back when Friends dominated sitcoms;
  • Back when a gallon of gas went for $1.22;
  • Back when Britney Spears was hot;
  • Back when we couldn't wait for Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace;
  • Back when the world was a little simpler: The World Trade Towers still dominated the New York skyline;
  • Back when we gave conference championships a nice little golf clap. Yeah, nice hardware, we thought, but certainly not the expectation around here. Those trophies would always collect dust sitting behind the real trophies (hint, there are 5 of those).

We've had our chances the past 13 years. '01 comes to mind before the final game of conference play. '06 comes to mind before a fumble inside our own 20 less than 5 minutes into the conference championship game. '09 comes to mind when 1 man, and I mean one MAN, came within .01 of winning the conference championship damn near by himself. '10 comes to mind, before 17-0 turned into 20-23. But close don't cut it, especially when we're talking about Nebraska football.

This is the longest conference championship drought since between the years1940-1963. Can the 2012 Cornhuskers get this monkey off a collective fan base's back? Look at this schedule and it's difficult to imagine it happening this year. But look again, and maybe a 6-2 conference record and berth in the championship game isn't so unlikely. Get a split out of the Wisky/Buckeye games and a split out of the Michigan(s) games, sweep the rest, and, well, maybe 13 years will be a lucky 13 for Dear Old Nebraska U.

Not too many around the B1G believe this will be the year we end this drought. Most have tabbed Michigan St., Michigan, or Wisconsin as eventual conference champions. In fact, most prognosticators have Nebraska finishing 3rd in the division. It should be an interesting year.

Leave no doubt about it, we're in a severe drought. This forecast calls for relief on December 1, 2012.

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