Monday, December 24, 2012

Husker ball

On Thanksgiving Day 1971, the "game of the century" in college football was played as Nebraska defeated Oklahoma 35-31 in a battle of #1 and #2 teams. The Cornhuskers went on to finish #1 and that became my college football rooting interest.

After that season Nebraska which played games on artificial turf usually lost any chance to finish #1 to Oklahoma and when they would defeat them would lose in the Orange Bowl (which was the bowl the Big 8 champion always played) to a southern team on the slow natural grass surface. It was most frustrating in the 1983 season when Nebraska has to face the relatively unknown University of Miami on their home field and lost 31-30 after Heisman Trophy winner Mike Rozier got injured in the first quarter.

It was also difficult in the 1993 season against Florida State. The previous two years they lost to Miami and FSU in the Orange Bowl but this game was for #1. Though the 10 point underdog, Nebraska held their own in spite of a touchdown ruled when a FSU running back clearly lost posession of the ball before crossing the goal line. Down 18-16, Nebraska completed a pass to the FSU 28 yard line and the time keeper allowed the clock to expire. It took 10 minutes for the officials to clear the field after confirming that the player was down and there was still time for one more play. I would not fault the most experienced NFL kicker waiting 10 minutes to attempt a championship winning kick let alone a 22 year old college student.

Anyway, the next year Nebraska finally won the title beating Miami in the Orange Bowl and then two more the next 3 seasons.

In 2000, Nebraska was #1 most of the season but lost twice near the end and ended up in the Alamo bowl against the Big 10 co champ Northwestern Wildcats. By then, I was playing fantasy football and there was a college bowl selection game. Since my mom did not have internet, I would go to their house with a list of games for my mom to select who she wants to win and make them for her.

When I came to that game, she picked 20 point underdog Northwestern to win. I stated Nebraska would win by 50. My father who was not interested in the contest offered me 5-1 odds on that which I stated I would put up $20. By the second quarter, the rout was on and after the coach let up by the end of the third quarter the final score was 66-17. Since Nebraska won by 49, the following day I gave my father a 20 dollar bill and looking confused about the bet, he took it.

My mom later that night asked me to never make a bet with my father again since she thought he was going to have a heart attack over the game and she had never seen him so worried about a game in his life.

As I filled out my college bowl game contest in which I rank games from 1-35 as far as I believe who will win, I had the Nebraska game for 35 points. After wathing them get beaten badly by Wisconsin for the Big 10 championship and seeing their opponent Georgia barely lose to Alabama for the SEC title, my high point total is on them to lose. My lowest point game? Chick-Fil-A bowl.

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