It has been 5961 days since Nebraska won a national title.
4990 days since Nebraska won a conference championship.
643 days since Nebraska beat a consensus top 10 team.
279 days since Nebraska beat a ranked team.
252 days since Nebraska last won a football game against another college football team.
244 days since Nebraska's defense went into Witness Protection for four quarters of football.
213 days since Nebraska collapsed against Georgia in Florida.
In 127 days, the Big Ten's East and West champions will meet in Indianapolis.
In 152 days, the Rose Bowl, in all its squalor and splendor, will host the first of two football games.
In 157 days, a winner will be declared the national champion.
In 158 days, the AP poll may even agree.
But, perhaps most critically, in 29 days, Nebraska football will start their season and the scoreboard will read 0-0. Young men from across the country will don the Scarlet and Cream as they start their campaign for eternal glory as champions of their sport. Regardless of what they play for, we'll cheer them on because that's what we do.
We're Nebraska fans, this is our team, for all its warts and whiskers.
Are there questions? Yes. Yes there are. Are there concerns? You betcha.
But the scoreboard reads 0-0 and it'll continue to read that for 29 days. And even after the first points are registered, Nebraska's ceiling will be that second game in Pasadena.
It's easy to be down on this team. To point out the flaws, to nitpick, to fuss. But what's the value in that negative energy? Where's the payoff for being right that your team will lose two, three or even four games?
Despite what the media, Phil Steele, SB Nation or any of us knuckleheads think, in August, anyone can win a national title. (Even Iowa.) Anything can (and likely will) happen between now and January. September's Heisman will be December's bust. An unknown player could rise up and win the Heisman. Anyone can (and someone probably will) beat Alabama. Any given Saturday becomes any given season. "This is our year."
Anything can happen because in August, the scoreboard reads 0-0. (And even after that first game or the second or the tenth, anything can happen.)
Last season, Team Sunshine may or may not have carried us through six straight improbable wins that carried us to Indianapolis. This off-season, we've been called Ned Flanders or milk-drinkers (OH THE HORROR) and accused of driving fifty-five miles per hour (no indication of speed limits) and "content with mediocrity". That's fine. You have your opinion and I respect that.
We've just survived what I felt was the longest and most overcast off-season in my short time as a Nebraska fan. We've had some growing pains here at Corn Nation and made some mistakes. There has been quite a bit of negativity, some on my part. I suspect we're all a little on edge, a little frustrated, a little disappointed in what's been going on at One Memorial. But you know what? It is what it is. I for one am done wallowing in the negativity.
A new season awaits and as last year, I have enough frustration elsewhere to not waste my time worrying about the details for a silly sport like college football. For me, there's no fun in nitpicking, getting fussy or being downright depressing about the team I like.*
*This is probably why I don't follow the Cubs very well. But I'm working on it! 1.6% chance at the Playoffs! WOO WE CAN DO IT. #gocubs
That's why I like August. August, college football's Advent. A month chock full of fall camp reports, unbridled enthusiasm and limitless potential. August is the best month of the year because the scoreboard reads 0-0.
So it's appropriate that I state, unequivocally, the following:
Team Sunshine 2013 starts today. And we're dreaming big.
Nebraska can win a national title this season. Is there any rational reason to expect that? One could certainly make the rationalizations on how it could happen. But at the end of the day, those reasons don't matter. Nebraska's chances are as good as any. And I believe our chances are better, because it's my team.
It is August, the scoreboard reads 0-0 and this team has only one goal, each and every season: national title or bust. That is the ceiling for this program. We aren't happy contending for the Big Ten. We aren't happy with beating Iowa. We aren't content with graduating players.
National titles. That's what every college football team plays for. If not, why even step on the field?
In September or October or November, things may and probably could change. But that doesn't matter. Today, we can believe in big dreams and extraordinary outcomes. Leave the worrying, the negativity, the frustrations for later.
Embrace August, our month of hope.
Because once that ball is hiked on August 31st, all this potential energy becomes kinetic. Pump enough positive energy into this thing and we can ride this wave all the way to Pasadena on January 6th, 2014.
GO BIG RED.
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