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Rivals, Hatred, And Stereotypes - College Football Research Brings Out The Best In Me

A couple weeks ago, I received an email from someone who said they're doing research about college football. I hope to help them out. I could use some more help from Husker fans, though, particularly in the area about who Husker fans love to taunt. Anyway, here's the answers I've developed thus far. 

What Big 12 team do you cover for SB Nation?

The Nebraska Cornhuskers

Who do you consider to be your team's biggest rivals?

You'd think this would be an easy question, but due to the creation of the Big 12 conference, it's not. Nebraskans generally consider Oklahoma our biggest rival, but we don't play them every year, and the rest of the nation has long past moved on from including the Nebraska - Oklahoma game as a rivalry game.

Therefore we need to choose one, but the problem is that no one has yet been deemed worthy. Missouri and Colorado are the closest, as Missouri has beaten us the last three trips to Columbia, and Colorado is our network-designated rival, having taken the place of Oklahoma as the last conference game every season. The problem with Missouri is they haven't sustained their greatness, and with Colorado, it's more fun to deny them being a rival than it is to accept them as one. 

Kansas State was in the running for a while and may come back if Bill Snyder can have any success. I have my doubts. 

After the jump, we continue on to discuss hatred, stereotypes, and why our Husker fan base is better than everyone else. 

What teams and specific players do the casual or die-hard fans of your team hate the most?

I'd say we hate Colorado, Missouri, and Texas in that order. Colorado because they're always acting high and mighty and better than us, Missouri because they had a couple good years and suddenly think they've accomplished something (try winning a title in something, eh?), and Texas because they have everything possible going for them and are really quick to remind you of that every chance they get. 

Maybe we hate Kansas too. If they beat us this year, they deserve it. 

I like people from Iowa State, though. They're easy to like. We crush them and then after the game we generally all drink beer together. 

If you wanted to taunt players from the conference, who would be the biggest targets? The rest of college football?

Oh, without a doubt the biggest target would be Cody "squashed on the roadie" Hawkins, the quarterback from Colorado who got run over by Ndamukong Suh on his way to the end zone last season. As long as I live, I'll never tire of seeing this. 

I've been trying to come up with a good country song with which to taunt the Missouri fans. The title is "Chase ain't around here no more", and I hope to have something before the start of the season. 

I'd still taunt Kansas State's Chad May if he was around. Too bad he's not. 

My all-time favorite college football taunt remains "You can't spell SUCK without U-S-C", maybe because it can be easily re-arranged and applied to Kansas State. 

What kind of taunts would sting the casual fan of your team the most-going after the make-up of the fan base, individual players, coach, school, or the state?

The state because Nebraska is unique in that the University of Nebraska is the state's only Division IA (FBS) football team. The team belongs to the state. The state belongs to the team. That was true 100 years ago, and it'll be true 100 years from now. 

 In 100 words or less, best describe your team's fan base.

"The Greatest Fans in College Football" - it's right there above the gates as you enter Memorial Stadium. I don't know how you can get much more clear than that. Even during one of the worst seasons in school history, Husker fans packed Memorial Stadium. 

For a comparison, last season Missouri finally made the Big 12 title game and their fans were apparently too busy or too uninterested to bother with it. Colorado consistently has problems with their student section behavior. 

This coming season, Nebraska will celebrate our 300th straight sell-out, a continued NCAA record that dates back to November, 1962. Name another fan base with that much dedication in any sport. 

Nebraskans are generally football geeks. We tend to be more knowledgeable about the actual game of football than most other fans, which is why you don't see massive amounts of tailgating at Husker games. We tend to taunt others less than they taunt us, although that tends to even out if we happen to be drinking. Or in my case, breathing. 

What are the common stereotypes associated with your team's fan base and the school in general? In what ways are they true/false?

Here's a perfect example - an email I received a few days ago: 

Please look into getting a new logo for the website. Your current one adds to the "hick" stereotype that hangs over nebraska football fans.  Its almost as bad as the fans who say "go 'skers".

Ah, the "hick" stereotype. The person who sent me this is no doubt bothered by the fact that Larry the Cable Guy is one of our biggest celebrities, fans and supporters. My initial reaction to this was that I should change the logo to a picture of me hunting down this particular fan and jamming a corn cob through the side of their head, but I decided to have another beer instead (while riding on my tractor, of course). 

One of the better memories I have regarding the ‘hick' stereotype was a story from a friend who was at the ‘97 Nebraska - Missouri "flea-kicker" game. He said that right after Nebraska won the game a Tigers fan turned to him and said "Don't you have some cows to tend to, or something?" - what a great line! That's the meaning of beaten! 

Before I continue, let's look at the meaning of the word - hick. From the urban dictionary: 

A derogatory slang term for lower class whites raised in rural areas, usually within trailer parks or hog farms. Generally used more for Midwesterners than Southerners

If that doesn't describe the majority of the Big 12 conference, I don't know what does. Iowa has nothing on Nebraska in this regard, nor does Kansas (and if there is a more geographically uninteresting state in the nation than Kansas, I'm not sure what it is. At least Nebraska has the Sandhills and Chimney Rock.). Missouri can't elevate themselves much, otherwise you can bring up the whole "Methzou" stereotype against them and that tends to shut them up. 

Moving into Oklahoma, we find another state that no one wanted to live in years ago - like Nebraska, the federal government had to give the land away to entice people to live there. When Bill Callahan made his famous "effing hillbillies" comment about Okies, the general feeling was "if he feels that way about them, how does he feel about us?". Biggest difference between Nebraska and Oklahoma? Barry Switzer retired because he cheated too much. Tom Osborne retired because he won enough games. 

Then there's the whole state of Texas. Texas Tech has nothing on us when it comes to hickery - my understanding is that Lubbock didn't discover the rest of the nation had electricity until some time in the 1970s. 

Texas A&M - well, they're just plain weird. You can't taunt them too much, though, because they're well organized and some of their guys carry swords. Not sure if they know how to use them, but better some Longhorn fans find out than me. 

Then there's the Texas Longhorn crowd. You ever notice how you never see a single Longhorn fan by themselves anywhere? That's because they have a well-developed bunker mentality that allows them to believe everyone is out to get them while at the same time believing that everyone should love them for being so damned wonderful. They can only keep that intact as long as they keep telling themselves it's true

Moving outside the conference, let's look at California first. The idea that Californians can make fun of anyone only means that they haven't ever left their own state. If they did, they'd realize just how out of touch with reality they are. Good luck with that budget, guys, by the time you're done all the smart rich people will have left the state and all the good companies too. Remember, you did this to yourselves.

Those from the South can't mention the word ‘hick' without having the word ‘redneck' thrown back in their face, so they're straight out of contention. Then there's those people from states like West Virginia where they burn couches for fun when all they're really doing is releasing thousands of farts into the atmosphere. Talk about an emission problem. 

Michigan might have once had something going, but right now they're the state where no one builds anything anymore - which is actually kind of sad when you think about it. Notre Dame is still Notre Lame and Ohio State, well none of our coaches has ever been fired for punching an opposing player, not even the really bad ones. Florida is a state where half the population doesn't graduate from high school and old white people go to die, neither of which are reasons to jump up and cheer. 

Oh, did I forget Colorado? No, I just left them ‘til last. Colorado has two big problems. One - they didn't actually create the beauty of their state, the Rockies, but they certainly act like they did. And two - it isn't the natives that are the source of the biggest problem. It's all the people who have moved their over time and continue to screw up one of the most beautiful states in the nation. Next time you're catching crap from one of them be sure to ask if they're a native. Chances are, they're not, although they might not remember. Boulder does funny things to people, just look at what it's done to Dan Hawkins. He used to know how to win football games. 

Back to the beginning of this section - with regards to Husker fans who feel haunted by the "hick" stereotype (i.e. people from Omaha), I'd ask you to get over it. You need to realize that the state of Nebraska grows the food that feeds the world. If the powers that be got past their ignorance, the state would further technology that would allow us to grow food that powers a good part of the world, too. 

There's nothing more noble than that, and if someone wants to call you a hick for it, you can send them here, and we'll set them straight. I promise.

July - what a long month. When is college football season ever going to start!?