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Countdown to 2012: Eleven Ways to Part with Lil' Red

It's time to retire Lil' Red and banish the bad spirits from Lincoln.
It's time to retire Lil' Red and banish the bad spirits from Lincoln.

In case you've been doing something like working or traveling or not reading our website (shame on you), we're counting down to football here at Corn Nation. Today marks 11 days until Nebraska kicks off against Southern Mississippi.

How do we celebrate 11 days to go? I could write a poem about the 11 players on the field and the struggle between the two opposing sides to control the destiny of a small oddly-shaped ball. Or I could write 300 words about Aaron Green Andrew Green (#11) and our defensive backfield.

But because Jon said we could write about anything, I'm going to write about something near and dear to my heart: how to get rid of Lil' Red.

You may be asking yourself: why should Lil' Red be abandoned? He's so "cute" and the kids love him.

I'll tell you why.

Because Lil' Red represents the black magic that Osborne surely used to obtain his three national championships in a four year period. (You try explaining using rational reasoning how such a small school/state like Nebraska accomplished that! EXACTLY.) As part of the deal with dark spirits in 1993, Lil' Red arrived at Nebraska and delivered unnatural luck unto Nebraska until Osborne spurned the dark spirits by retiring in 1998. Since then, Nebraska has been in a veritable tailspin, culminating in an embarrassing loss to South Carolina in the Capitol One Bowl this past January. (Steve Pederson and Bill Callahan were merely pawns in the dark spirits' games, means to draw Osborne back into the fold.)

It's time to expel the black magic, don't you think? I don't want to lose to Northwestern again.

After the jump, in no particular order, eleven ways the athletic department could humanely* decommission Lil' Red, with pros and cons for each.


QUICK NOTE: Yes, I am aware that there is an actual living person performing inside of Lil' Red. These jokes are not directed at the men and women who actually perform inside of Lil' Red or any other inflatable mascot but rather the "suit" they perform inside. These people should be commended for putting up with the jokes like this as well as their willingness to perform in front of people inside of a balloon. They're good people and I appreciate their contributions to the great Gameday tradition at Nebraska. I just think it looks ridiculous. Thanks. - Salt Creek

1. Get Lil' Red a scholarship as a running back at Iowa.

Pro: Almost guaranteed to work.

Con: If it doesn't work, Iowa could use Lil' Red as nightmare fuel against us. Or possibly AIRBHG might be lured by the sudden vacuum of bad juju at Nebraska...

2. Give Lil' Red to Texas as a traveling trophy.

Pro: We only get it back if we win. (Truth hurts but in this case it's a good thing.)

Con: We get it back when we win. IT WILL HAPPEN, DAMMIT. (We'll beat Northwestern too!)

3. Have Lil' Red reclassified and redesigned as a helium blimp.

Pro: Because Lil' Red is for entertainment and not essential, it would be ineligible for helium use in Nebraska and consequently decommissioned.

Con: Helium stocks may be replenished at some point, permitting recommissioning. (I should note that if they redesigned Lil' Red to be a helium blimp, that would be bad-ass.)

4. To celebrate the first touchdown of the game, set Lil' Red on fire and catapult it over the stadium wall.

Pro: An engineering challenge that could be worked on through out the year by physics students. Or a demonstration of the military prowess of Nebraska's Army ROTC program.

Con: Possible that the wind may catch Lil' Red in the air, resulting in a minor panic as the flaming fireball does a circuit of the bowl. A concern has also been raised that with the construction on East Stadium, departure via catapult may no longer be practical. I think we should give it a shot anyway.

5. Break up with Lil' Red by text message.

Pro: No direct contact means no intimidation.

Con: Lil' Red might end up at another school and alway win against us. (See Freeman, Josh)

6. Associate Lil' Red with a culture of failure at Nebraska.

Pro: Nebraska fans are really good at chasing off failures. (Alternatively, we could associate it with Texas.)

Con: We'll develop a reputation for being harsh on mascots. I mean, we still have Herbie. We like him. But people will ignore that, just like they ignore Taylor Martinez's good qualities and focus on his throwing motion.

7. Frame Lil' Red as part of a corgi and kitten smuggling operation and then help Lil' Red escape to a country with no extradition treaty to the US.

Pro: Lil' Red would be grateful for our help and the lack of an extradition treaty and would never return.

Con: I think it's safe to say that a corgi and kitten smuggling operation would be very difficult to pull off due to the levels of cuteness at hand. It's also possible that both Kenny Bell and Rex Burkhead are somehow involved in such an operation.

8. Push Lil' Red into the ocean.

Pro: Lil' Red would float away helplessly. And no one would look for Lil' Red in the ocean - Nebraska's a land-locked state!

Con: It's kind of like littering. But perhaps some day, someone can use it as a life raft?

9. Send Lil' Red to a convention of other inflatable mascots. At the same time, organize a convention of sea urchin and porcupine enthusiasts in the same room, set to start in the middle of the first day's keynote speech.

Pro: We would be doing America a favor.

Con: Two things. First, that's a lot of inflatable mascots all in one place. Tempers may flare. Second, who has ever heard of a convention of sea urchin and porcupine enthusiasts?

10. Farm Lil' Red off to a local high school.

Pro: Permits a dignified departure for Lil' Red from collegiate status while allowing some high school to terrorize their opponents. Win-win.

Con: Going to be hard to find high schools which have a letter N for a school insignia and the use either red or white as a major school color. Also have to be willing to adopt Lil' Red. We'll need to hire one heck of a sleezy salesperson.

11. Drop Lil' Red off at Dan Beebe's front door.

Pro: The start of the next great buddy comedy, about a former conference commissioner and a former athletic mascot, just trying to navigate the difficulties of life without making too many mistakes. Come on, CBS. This is comedy gold, destined to replace Two and a Half Men!

Con: Would you wish Dan Beebe on your worst enemy?

Speaking of the Big 12, I wanted to note that Husker Mike apparently at one time suggested to Jim Rome Jim Rose that we should let Ralphie run Lil' Red down.

I think I'd pay to watch that. At least Colorado would be good for something.


What are your thoughts? Do you want Nebraska to win football games or keep Lil' Red?

-Salt Creek and Stadium