Monday, June 14, 2010

Nebraska Is In A Real Football Conference Now, No Whining Allowed

It’s official.  Effective July 1, 2011 The University of Nebraska – Lincoln will be in the Big 10 Conference.  I welcome the Cornhuskers to the oldest Division I-A Football Conference and I am ready to settle a debate.

It goes back to 1997.  Back then the NCAA Division I-A Football Champion was decided by the AP (Associated Press) and the ESPN/USA Today Polls or, as we called them, the writers and the coaches polls.  Until that year, I thought that the coaches got it right.  That year, they proved that they didn’t.

The University of Michigan had an unblemished record.  They replaced Nebraska as the #1 team after beating #3 Penn State the weekend that Nebraska almost lost to a Missouri team that was not ranked in the top 25.  (They saved the game in overtime with a lucky catch.)  The Wolverines headed into the bowl season undefeated and ranked #1 in both polls.  Head Coach Lloyd Carr was Coach of the Year and Charles Woodson, starting cornerback, won the Heisman.  (First defensive player to do so.)  The Wolverines only needed to win the Rose Bowl to become National Champions.  So, you would think.

The Wolverines went to Pasadena and beat #8 Washington State, 21 – 16 in the 84th Rose Bowl.  Nebraska won the Orange Bowl in Miami by beating #3 Tennessee, 42 – 17.  After the bowl games, the writers kept Michigan at #1, but the coaches moved Nebraska to the number one spot on their poll.  This wasn’t about the action on the gridiron.  This was about the coaches recognizing the end of a career of their colleague and one of the best coaches, Nebraska Head Coach, Tom Osborne.  It was his retirement gift.

The coaches got it wrong.  They’ll say Nebraska beat the #3 team “convincingly.”  That is, as Bo Schembechler would say, hogwash!

Here are the top reasons why Michigan should have been the consensus 1997 Football Champions.
1.    Tougher schedule – 11 straight games without a bye week.
2.   Tougher opponents – Played 6 teams ranked in the top 25. (Nebraska played 3.)
3.   Beat the #3 team (Penn State) 38 – 4 during the regular season on the road and followed it up with victories against #23 Wisconsin and #4 Ohio State.
4.   They handled business on the field and left it there.  Nebraska players went whining to the media, “Don't give it to Michigan.  Our coach deserves this.”  (Champions don’t whine!)
5.   Nebraska should not have been #2 and undefeated.  The refs got the call wrong in the Missouri game.  The Tigers clearly caught the ball.

After the bowl games, everyone was debating who would have won if Michigan and Nebraska had played each other that season.  In my mind, there is no doubt that Michigan would have killed Nebraska.  The teams are different, but I am looking forward to the Cornhuskers joining the conference, visiting the Big House and experiencing a battle with the most winningest football program.

Nebraska, Welcome to a real football conference where a rival doesn’t mean beating up on someone for 25 years!  And NO WHINING ALLOWED!

Heels Helmets


  1. '97?? You sound like a whiny Michigan grad. What is Nebraska getting out of the deal? Cash? Bowl revenue? easier regular season in football? Not having to play Kansas and Kansas State twice a year in basketball? C'mon H&H; what's the real story?

  2. Here is the real story. Nebraska will get cash, bowl revenue and the stability of the oldest conference which has its own network. Easier regular season football? Seriously?! They are going from a conference where only a couple of schools are consistently competitive in football to a conference that regularly has half of its members in the top 25. You're right, they no longer have to play Kansas and K State twice in basketball; but, that doesn't matter because even losing all four of those games, they could still play in the basketball tournament. That doesn't happen in football. I'm not whining. That's not allowed here. I'm a proud Michigan grad presenting the facts.

  3. Will Notre Dame join the Big 10 and finally stop playing the Army and Navy? Are they scared of getting beat down by Michigan? Are they scared MSU is gonna throw their flag down on their 50 yard line each year?

  4. I don't think that Notre Dame will be in the Big 10 anytime soon. The enjoy their schedule and NBC television contract too much to commit to a conference for football. They play some tough teams each year, but it would be different to be in a conference and have to be in the top 5 of that conference every year to go to a bowl game.

  5. Yes, H&H
    You sound like you attended one of the best Universities on earth, and the best in the Midwest!
    With a good christian foundation, excellent higher education, and an unbeatable team.
    Your history of facts and the flow of your writing style is very entertaining and interesting.
    GO + BLUE = #1 all day long!!!

  6. That's right! We'll show those Cornhuskers. GO BLUE!