After the longest off-season this century, rejoice Husker fans! You’ve finally made it to Husker Game Week 2018.
I’ve been blessed to have followed the Huskers through the Devaney-Osborne glory years. So, as you would expect, I’ve ‘deliciously’ anticipated A LOT of new seasons of Husker football over the years.
The start of the 1971 season was probably my most anticipated. According to many of the national pundits, we “lucked into” the 1970 national championship thanks to upsets of Texas and Ohio State. The national skepticism stung but we swallowed our pride and took it in stride because we knew, in our heart of hearts, that the Huskers were going to be better in 1971 and would have the so-called ‘experts’ eating their words. The 1972 season was also hugely anticipated with the prospect of winning three straight national championships. But my memory probably doesn’t give that one the justice it deserves because the season didn’t quite kick-off as expected.
The “Unfinished Business” build-up to the 1994 season was incredibly special and I suspect that most Big Red fans view that one as The Most Anticipated fall kick-off in their lifetime. It was big for me too but I was living on the East Coast at the time and had a demanding job and a young family. So it didn’t quite match the anticipation I experienced as a high schooler in the early 70s.
I’m a natural “sunshine pumper” so the ol’ adrenaline was pumping full-throttle no matter what Husker season we’re taking about. I was excited going into the 2003 season about Solich’s new staff…I was intrigued to see Callahan’s WCO in 2004 and again in the 2007 when we anticipated ambushing USC at home…and, of course, the start of the Bo Pelini era in 2008…the kick-off to our inaugural season in the B1G…and yes, even the start of the Mike Riley era in 2015 against BYU.
But the past 20 years has been tough on all of us who grew up expecting Nebraska to always be in the national championship mix. Granted, there have been a fair number of special games and moments this century, but the overall seasons themselves have not lived up to the lofty standards set by the Bobfather and TO. Nevertheless, I remained a faithful fan and watched, season after season, as the Cornhuskers fell from their pedestal as The Nation’s Best College Football Program down to the middling one we have today.
We’re not coming off a defending national championship season like 71 or 72. And we’re not collectively “hunkered down” as we were in August of 1994 to watch a determined group of young men finish their business. But I think I speak for the majority of Husker fans when I say this season feels an awfully lot like those.
Yes, there was excitement when we thought “The Nebraska Way” was back with Bo Pelini as coach. While the vast majority of us were super-excited by the hire, I would argue that the build-up was different than this one. In 2008 we ALL HOPED that Bo Pelini would develop into a great coach. In 2018 we ALL KNOW, without a shred of doubt, that a great coach is at the Husker Helm once again.
Now that doesn’t mean that we should immediately expect conference and national championships. It’s more about anticipating the way we will eventually play. In fact, I would argue it’s actually no different from how we viewed the Devaney-Osborne years. Don’t get me wrong, we love our championships. But the Golden Years were less about the number of national championships we won and more about the fact we consistently played tough and hard and were ALWAYS in the national championship discussion. That’s what I expect to see from Scott. We may not always win the trophy and jeweled rings, but the team can be expected to play tough, disciplined, hard-nosed football again
Savor the anticipation for all its worth. It’s almost here! We’ve finally approaching the end of the longest damn wait most of us have ever stood in line for. We’ve made the final turn in the line and – low and behold – we can actually see the boarding platform! And its getting tantalizingly closer and closer.
It’s time for this Scott Frost era ride to begin. While I don’t see a sign indicating the ride’s duration, don’t be surprised to see this baby is going to keep rolling for the next 25 or 30 years. All aboard!