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Keep Rooting Husker Fans, but Call a Dog 'a Dog':
Steven Farrens

Nebraska's notorious for beating up on a powder-puff non-conference schedule before being picked alive by the competition in the Big 12. In fact, we may easily be watching yet another rendition of Husker déjà vu, as the Huskers have started out with amazing records that fizzled repeatedly since 2005.

 


 

The only reason I know the University of Nebraska at Lincoln has a men’s basketball program is because they’ve been the laughingstock of the NCAA for over a century. You don’t hear "Go Big Red" after football season because doing so might cause an old man to keel over from laughter. The team is a dirty little secret at a university known for their athletic prowess and loyal fans. They're the dog at your house who's blind, deaf and without bladder control. You know you're supposed to love him, but you'd rather save your family the false hope and just put the canine down.

That's all their 14-5 record is, false hope. And you're all buying into it. Again.

Must I remind you that Wishbone seemed so full of life last year when he started out the season 14-3, only to end up whimpering under the bed with a 17-18 record? Nebraska's notorious for beating up on a powder-puff non-conference schedule before being picked alive by the competition in the Big 12. In fact, we may easily be watching yet another rendition of Husker déjà vu, as the Huskers have started out with amazing records that fizzled repeatedly since 2005.

Let's keep this analogy rolling. Wishbone is about the most worthless dog in the history of BCS dogs that play basketball. They're one of the three remaining BCS teams who have never won a single game in the NCAA tournament. They haven't made an appearance since 1998, and they've only done so six times in the history of the program. Wishbone's the kind of dog Michael Vick puts out of its misery.

Ironically, this year's false hope comes more from a loss than anything else. Nebraska put the nation's longest home winning streak in question when they brought then-undefeated Kansas to the brink of defeat last week in Lawrence. Texas took the honors of ending the Jayhawks' streak this past Saturday (which is yet another example of how strong the Big 12 is this year). They've since defeated 14-6 Colorado by 12, only to fall on Saturday to Texas Tech, a team that had been winless in conference play. Still think this old dog has learned new tricks? Let's look at the facts.

Five of Nebraska's 14 wins came against opponents that would feel complimented by the label "bottom feeder." These teams include Arkansas-Pine Bluff, Alcorn State, Eastern Washington, Grambling State and Savannah State— who are a combined 14-79 this season. Wishbone's health should take a turn for the worst starting this Saturday when Nebraska hosts No.11 Texas A&M. In fact, the Cornhusker's remaining opponents have a combined 159-54 record and include No. 2 Kansas, No. 10 Texas, No. 13 Missouri and Kansas State—twice.

Is it possible that Wishbone is finally healthy, that he's out playing in the yard, looking for just the right spot to bury his NCAA hex? Absolutely. Is it likely? No, it's not. I'm certainly not rooting against the Huskers, but the longer they show signs of promise, the longer I'll need to ridicule their growing fan base once the Big 12 shows the state its true identity. After all, I've been watching this for almost six years now, and by early February, the "fans" are already abandoning Wishbone at the Humane Society's back door.

Is there a more ironic term than "the Husker faithful?" While Nebraska fans show all kinds of undying loyalty to their football and volleyball programs, they are surprisingly shallow when dealing with other sports. The Cornhusker baseball team had massive support from 2001-2005, but the fans have become mute since their last visit to the College World Series. And let's be honest— I've seen more Auburn blue and Oregon green sweatshirts on campus than anything red.

Don't claim to be a fan just because you live here, don't you dare. If you're going to root for Nebraska, you can't be temperamental with your support. A true fan cheers for his team in spite of its record, not because of it. Scratch Wishbone's belly while his hair falls out. Play fetch for as long as his legs will carry him. I know those fans exist somewhere. But I also know they're outnumbered 10-1 by individuals who will throw the bone into traffic at the first sign of collapse. Wishbone deserves better.

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