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B1G 2016 // The Nebraska Cornhuskers traditions piece featuring Corn Nation

Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

When we were talking about different ideas for B1G 2016, one of the things our team wanted to hit on were different traditions that you may or may not know about. Babaoreally did not mess around last week and introduced us to Buttercup the Fistulated Cow. I assure you, I was never going to be cool enough to do this piece on my own, and I sure as heck was not going to have Buttercup the Fistulated Cow.

So, I naturally did what any good writer does. I asked someone else to write for me. I present to you the fine folks from Corn Nation giving you insights on various Nebraska Traditions. These all more or less make sense, but hey, hopefully you learn something. At minimum, isn't it nice that you don't have to read me droning on?

Nebraska Traditions

Jon Johnston: To be honest, I’m not much for traditions in an overall sense of the word. Traditions to me, regardless of origin, mean "Let’s do the same thing we’ve always done". I’ve spent a career in IT as a consultant, and I’ve loved it, and I still love it, and a big reason why is because of the changes and the challenges it presents on a yearly basis.

Most people hate change so they invent traditions.

Ty: "This is how we’ve always done it" could be the state motto. I probably won’t make a lot of fans by saying that. Some of the traditions are FANTASTIC (I LOVE the Tunnel Walk), but it seems like some are held on to because we’re afraid to let go.

Brian: Don’t forget about that whole "Through these gates pass the greatest fans in College Football" then doing everything that justifies taking those stupid signs down.

Balloon Release After The First Score

Jon: Nebraska fans release helium-filled balloons after the team scores the first time. I wrote about this in 2014 with the slant that it should go away. It has not.

Clapping for the other team win or lose

Ty: My first experience with this was my first game at Memorial. I had driven overnight from Denver to watch the Huskers take on Iowa State in 2009. The game was at 11:00 am. The weather was GROSS- Wet, misty, cold- and Nebraska held Iowa State to nine points. However, we gave up eight, EIGHT turnovers, and scored only seven. As the dejected sea of red filed out, the Cyclones celebrated with their fans in the southwest corner of the stadium. As the Iowa State players finally ran to the locker room, every fan in the stadium stopped and applauded an effort well-done by Iowa State. I’ve been to many games since, and it happens every game, no matter the outcome.


Mike:  Going into year 54 now… for years, they’ve counted the number of sellouts. This needs to switch to years because most people now don’t remember a time when NU actually had to man a ticket window for sales at Memorial Stadium.

Jon: This is pretty impressive. You can try to discount it with the old line "There’s nothing else to do in Nebraska", but name something else that has continued for 54 straight years in sports.

Brian: Well, that and, compared to a whole lot of other places, Nebraska’s face value of a ticket is fairly cheap compared to a lot of sporting events, college or pro.

Walk Ons

Jon: The romanticism that is Nebraska football is as such: Joey from Nowhere, Nebraska leaves his tiny little town just after he’s finished wiping out the latest locust invasion and heads to Lincoln, Nebraska. He walks the 243 miles, arriving in town, shoes in tatters, and sees a sign that says he can try out for the football team so he does. He makes it, and one year later, he’s a starter. A year after that, he’s All-Conference, and then an All-American after he single-handedly wins a championship and gets all the girls.

The problem? WHERE THE HELL HAS JOEY FROM NOWHERE BEEN LATELY? There’s certainly been a shortage on All-Conference, All-Americans and championship winners! COME BACK JOEY, DAMMIT! YOU CAN HAVE ALL THE GIRLS! JUST WIN US A TITLE IN SOMETHING!

Brian: If there’s a four star at any position, by god, there’s a five heart, six man hero from Bumfudge Nebraska that’s better than him, he just needs the chance. Because Tom Osborne won 3 titles with nothing but corn fed walk on heroes from Schuyler, Scottsbluff, and Rulo Nebraska by fucking god. WHO REALLY CARES ABOUT WHAT RIVALS SAYS ABOUT THE BEST PLAYERS IN NEBRASKA’S CLASS C-2 ANYHOW.

The Tunnel Walk

Mike: Perhaps the only thing Steve Pederson did right.  In 1994, when Sirius from the Alan Parsons Project started blaring through the stadium and the stars started rolling around the new HuskerVision screens before the UCLA game, people didn’t know what to think until suddenly the screens switched to a camera in front of the team leaving the locker room.

Boom. Bedlam.

It didn’t hurt that NU won the national championship at the end of that season...or the next.  Suddenly, the Tunnel Walk grew to include Sears Trophies zooming every which way, and it became the must-see thing before every Husker game.  Tailgates end in plenty of time so that people can get to their seats with 10 minutes to go before kickoff, just so they don’t miss it.  There is no "late arriving crowd" in Lincoln.

The Blackshirts

In 1964, Bob Devaney sent assistant coach Mike Corgan to a sporting goods store to get some different colored practice jerseys for the defense, since the Huskers were switching to a two platoon system.  Corgan, being frugal, spotted some black pullovers that were marked down and made a mass purchase. Players liked them, and soon the coaches were calling the defense the "Black Shirts" in practice.  Newspaper reporters picked up on it, and the name stuck.

In recent years, the tradition has hit some rough patches as coaches have tried to adapt the tradition to their own programs, resulting in annual "Will they or won’t they" fashion debates. The hire of Mike Riley appears to have brought things back into line with the old school proponents of the tradition, with the jerseys awarded to the defensive starters at the end of fall camp, and only those 11 (or 13 depending on set).

Asking the Oracle of Lincoln his opinion about football things.

Every fall, our local media people fall over themselves trying to ask Tom Osborne his opinion about the state of the program.

Again, huge shout out to the team at Corn Nation. If you're hankering for a great Nebraska point-of-view, go check them out. They're good peoples.