Nebraska fans loving the Big Ten life


This is a new and mysterious place Iowa football enters today, something you wouldnít have dreamed of just two years ago.

A Friday game? A Black Friday game? Against Nebraska? Nebraska of ... the Big Ten?

OK, itís here. Hawkeyes and Huskers. The winner finishes above the loser, probably alone in third-place in the Legends Division. Which isnít what the fans of either had in mind two months ago.

Speaking of which, what do Nebraska fans have in mind? I called a few who were generous enough to give their thoughts on the Huskersí play this year, Nebraska joining the Big Ten, and the Iowa-Nebraska "rivalry."

"A growing sentiment ó I donít know if itís 50 percent of the fans yet ó is weíre kind of sick about the way things are going. It kind of seems like weíve hit a wall here. The recruiting doesnít seem to be going really fantastic, or at least it hasnít. We donít have the special athletes in terms of skill positions. The line play has been subpar.

"Itís frustrating to see a Nebraska team get pushed around. Thatís something you donít really get used to. Itís frustrating to spend money on a program and watch them look very lackadaisical and not prepared well.

"What weíve seen from the Wisconsin game (a 48-17 Huskers loss) and the Michigan game (a 45-17 Huskers loss) was not getting beat, but getting absolutely destroyed."

"There are probably a few people hollering for Boís (Pelini) scalp, but for the most part people are happy.

"For 40 years, we kind of got used to 9, 10 wins a year. It kind of shocked us a little bit for a couple, three years when we didnít have years like that. There had been kind of an sense of entitlement that we should play for a national-championship every year. The reality is we may end up 8-4 or whatever, and itís still a good year."

"Around these parts, thereís always a certain level of disappointment if you donít get a conference-championship or reach the BCS level. Youíve got to try to look at the big picture and see there is improvement being made. There are more ways we can improve, but weíve got to realize we had a young and inexperienced team coming in, and try to look at things objectively."

"I like the stability of the Big Ten. In the long run it will mean more money, and that leads to greater facilities. I think everyoneís enjoying the TV coverage (of the Big Ten Network)."

"I love it (moving to the Big Ten). Itís probably the best thing thatís happened to us. Number one, itís nice to be out from under Texas. When the Big 8 and Southwest Conference combined, Texas kind of rode herd on the whole thing. Itís nice to be away from them."

"I talked to Ohio State fans, and everybody said how well they were treated here at Nebraska. Ohio State people said weíre not like they are at Wisconsin."

"The Big Ten rolled out the welcome mat for us by having us play pretty much all the big teams from the other division. I went to our games at Wisconsin and Michigan. Wisconsin was tons of fun. It was definitely a different experience than Manhattan, Ames, Columbia. I didnít find anyone to be rude, though.

"With the instability of the Big 12, you could have been on a sinking ship. You didnít really want to hitch your wagon to that."

"I definitely think Nebraska-Iowa will be a rivalry that will happen with time, but itís hard to call it that right now.

"I think itís got to grow a little bit. I donít think itís a real big rivalry until youíve played every year for a certain amount of time. I think it will be a good rivalry, a game people will want to see every year.""Iíve always been a Nebraska fan. My parents are from Nebraska, but I grew up in Humboldt, Iowa. I think Nebraska fans look at Iowa as an inferior program, a bit of a little brother. We definitely donít want to lose. Itís a big game. Thereís definitely more hype and buzz about it. I think the Iowa game is getting more blood boiling."

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