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Corn Nation’s Top 10 Stories From The Year 2016

Well, maybe not the “best”, but certainly the most read.

David McGee

Consider this a 2016 Year In Review, at least from the website’s perspective. I still plan on doing my own 2016 Year In Review and that will be out hopefully in the next few days. I know you will be hanging on the edge of your seat waiting for it.

I know the proper timeline for publishing these things is before the actual year end, but that never made sense to me. It’s like voting for All – American players before the season is ended and that’s exactly what happens now. It is ridiculous, in fact, so ridiculous that I haven’t bothered to vote the past few seasons.

The website didn’t see any real growth this year in terms of traffic numbers. In fact, we dropped slightly. That drop is attributed to two things;

  • Without going into a lot of detail, we didn’t see nearly as much traffic from referral partners as we had in the past. I’ll leave that statement for what it is.
  • Traffic dropped precipitously right after the Wisconsin loss. Part of that reason may have been due to the rest of the nation seeing Nebraska as a Top 10 team but that excitement about our beloved Huskers went away immediately due to that loss.

Here are our numbers for the year:

From Jan 1st, 2016 to Dec 31, 2016 we did 3,962,664 visits.

From Jan 1st, 2015 to Dec 31, 2015 we did 3,974,101

Below is a list of the top stories from 2016. These are ranked by page views. The top 10 listed below are the actual top 10 in terms of page views. Once you get past the top 10 I included some stories I felt were of interest but were necessarily highly ranked in terms of reads.

Bob Devaney To Paul Bear Bryant: Joe Paterno "No Good For Football" - 99,711 page views

This was our top-viewed article of the past year. I thought it might get some traction because it involved three of the top coaches in college football history; Bob Devaney, Paul Bear Bryant, and Joe Paterno, but I was unprepared for the reaction to the bit below:

Forget what you think about Joe Paterno’s legacy, and all the jokes you could make about Paterno “being no good for football”; the concerns elevated by Paterno illustrate the idea that there is nothing new under the sun.

Apparently if you write the words “Joe Paterno’s legacy” together, there are robots on the Internet that hunt you down to determine whether what you said is positive or negative and if it can be construed at all as negative the Joe Paterno apologists come after you.

I was surprised by the reaction both here and on twitter because the article in whole is pretty positive toward Paterno. Unfortunately everyone is so damn sensitive these days that they worry about every single phrase or word written or said.

Nebraska Punter Sam Foltz Killed In Automobile Wreck Sunday Morning - 43,683 page views

It’s pretty obvious why this story is near the top. It’s easily the top story about Nebraska football in 2016. We learned a lot about Sam in the past months since his passing. We learned that he was outgoing, well-liked, and giving. We learned that he was the soul of the football team.

For those of us who didn’t know him personally, the tributes became a weekly ritual but not much more (if we’re honest with ourselves). For those that did know him personally he will remain forever young and they will be left to think of what could’ve been.

Nebraska WR Coach Keith Williams Arrested Sunday Morning For Driving Under The Influence - 39,979 page views

Brian broke the story several hours before anyone else in Nebraska’s media had a clue as to what it happened. At the time it seemed like Williams would be dismissed, but it turned out that Nebraska did not hold any previous DUIs against him when he was hired because they had occurred so far in the past.

This story so far has been pretty much forgotten.

SDR: Jim Harbaugh Is Mad At Mike Riley, Chase Allen Decision Soon, Noah Fant Talk - 36,617 page views

I’m not 100% sure why this story got so many page views but I’d have to go with the fact that it mentions Jim Harbaugh. Harbaugh gets page views no matter what he does nor what he says. Harbaugh is viewed as a winner despite the fact that Michigan lost three of their last four games.

It will be very interesting to see how they do in the next couple seasons because they lose a lot of players this year.

"We Are Marshall" And "The Marshall Story" - Hollywood vs Reality - 33,444 page views

This story is from 2007. I’m not going to look it up but this easily has to be the top story that CornNation has ever produced in terms of views. It’s in our top 10 every year as the Marshall Story continues to resonate with fans. Page views go up every time the movie is shown on TV.

Iowa HC Kirk Ferentz Tosses Shade At The NCAA Using Nebraska QB Tanner Lee As An Example - 32,947 page views

Everyone in college football loves to abuse Kirk Ferentz. He gets paid a crap load of money, his buyout is ridiculous and even the Iowa fans abuse him. Therefore it’s no shock that when Kirk gets mentioned on our website that people pile on.

Tom Osborne Talks About The Current State Of Nebraska Football - 29,586 page views

Any story that includes “Nebraska football” and “Tom Osborne” is popular. It doesn’t matter what it is nor what Tom has to say people want to know. It’s still disappointing after all these years that he is yet to release his recipe for homemade kolaches.

Wrigley Field's Organist plays "There Is No Place Like Nebraska" Before Game 3 Of The 2016 World Series - 25,698 page views

This is a shock. Perhaps it should be given that the Chicago Cubs winning the World Series was one of the biggest stories in sports of 2016.

Brian had asked whether or not he should put it on the site is a fan shot and I said yes is an off-the-cuff statement. People ate it up. I am dumb.

Kenny Bell Solves Nebraska's License Plate Debacle - 24,055 page views

What is it with people in Nebraska and their license plates? It seems like no matter what happens, people are unhappy with any new license plate design. Is this because they hate change all around or because license plates are incredibly personal and must reflect all that’s good about the state?

This year there was controversy in that the design on the license plate was odd (being kind) and it ended up that the design was copied from Michigan State.

In any case, Kenny Bell saved the day and you read about it here.

The Morning After: Wisconsin - 24,055 page views

It’s my belief that our 2016 season would’ve turned out completely different had we won the game at Camp Randall. It was an excellent game against a very good team on their home field at night. Nebraska fought all the way int over time but in the end just couldn’t pull out the win.

Nebraska’s season died at that point. It was a huge disappointment and you could tell in hindsight that there was something about the team that was unable to bounce back. The same could be said for the fans.

Nebraska Announces Their 2016 Alternate Uniform To Be Worn Vs. Northwestern - 23,591 page views

Alternate uniforms. Always a popular topic, just like license plates.

This always surprises me, as if I should be shocked by now. Course, if you asked my wife and kids they’d tell you I have absolutely no fashion sense, that if I’m not a slob I might be something close to it. I just think I’m getting older and who gives a flock.

Stadium Dr. Rumblings: Nebraska's Staff In-Home Tonight With Safety Target Isaiah Simmons - 23,104 page views

Recruiting remains an amazingly huge topic everywhere in college football. I think I’ll discuss this more in a separate article but kudos to Brian for handling all of our recruiting coverage and doing an excellent job with it.

College Football Targeting Rule Still Confuses, Angers Fans - 18,825 page views

The only thing worse than the targeting rule is the targeting rule and having Ed Cunningham try to explain it. Fans are confused because it’s not consistently called from game to game, but that should not be confusing because it is being called by human beings and human beings are inherently fallible.

This was an article I did to try to explain the targeting rule. I’m surprised, honestly, that it didn’t get more traffic.

How Hannah Huston Found Her Voice - 17,802 page views

Hannah Huston became a Nebraska celebrity this past year competing on “The Voice”. Our website did its best to support her and I might say that we were out in front of her celebrity status before everyone else. Good job David!


I always welcome feedback about how we’re doing here at CornNation. I think you guys are pretty good at giving it.

Was there anything that stuck out about this last year? Discuss.