Just when we thought things couldn't get worse than Boulder '01 or Happy Valley '02, along comes Ames '02 – another new low for both the team and the fans. The first quarter of this one ranks right up there with last year's debacle in Boulder. Instead of getting over-run, this time the Huskers were just plain inept.
We saw a vivid example in that opening period of why Tom Osborne always preached the "even-keel" approach. Not getting too high for a game, and not getting too low. After being too low for too long, the Huskers were too high – out of control is a good term – in the first quarter, mistake after mistake, and any real chance at taking down a very beatable Iowa State team was gone.
So now the Huskers are indeed where all the naysayers said they'd be this season. Beaten, bloodied, and unranked for the first time since before Sam and Diane had ever met at Cheers.
Where do they go from here? Forward, we expect.
A very wise man once said, "It's not what happens to you that matters in life, it's how you handle it." That holds true for not only for the team, it also holds true for the fans.
For it's the fans that truly hold the key to getting this mess cleaned up.
See, Nebraska has something that pretenders like Iowa State and Colorado only dream about. Nebraska has all the same ingredients that Oklahoma, Penn State, Washington, Alabama, Miami and other true collegiate powers possess. Ingredients that made their quick turnarounds possible.
Re$ource$. Nebraska is one of the sport's "haves."
Nebraska has them because the best fans in college football have stayed tuned into the program for nearly forty years. Stay tuned in now, and the ship will get righted sooner rather than later.
This is not to say that blind faith is the answer. Don't just show up and cheer and not hold anyone accountable for the way things are right now. Stay on top of the coaching and recruiting situations. Stay involved with the booster clubs, etc. Stay in the chat rooms and in the letters-to-the-editor forums. And stay in your seats, in your hats, and in your T-shirts. You really do hold the key.
Remember, in 1997 NU beat Oklahoma 69-7. The OU fans did not sit quietly by and accept it. They helped force changes. Three seasons later, OU won another national title.
Something to really dream about.