Nice article in the Steamboat Pilot & Today.
I emerged from the bowels of Memorial Stadium a lone Buffalo on the Great Plains.
In the weeks leading up to my trip, I had thought nothing of flaunting my Colorado Buffaloes gear in enemy territory, but my pre-game confidence quickly gave way to the realization that I was outnumbered ó 85,181 to one. Me. Alone. And yes, even a little bit scared.
Of course, I would soon discover I had nothing to fear, and that upset me even more. It was as if the Big Red Nation wanted to prove it was better than me ó us.
They did, and it wasnít hard.
As I walked along the chain-link fence that separated the University of Nebraska players from the fans who idolize them, I felt a little like one of those poor Louisiana Tech players on the visitorís sideline ó outnumbered, undersized and pretty sure that at some point of the day I would be humiliated. (They were, by a score of 49-10. And so was I, but CUís opening-game loss to Division I-AA Montana State wasnít announced until most of the crowd had left the stadium.)
As a proud CU alum, there was nothing about the University of Nebraska that I could even pretend to like. The Cornhuskers are the Giants to my Dodgers, the Raiders to my Broncos.
But that was before my visit to Lincoln, Neb.
Donít get me wrong ó I never have been nor ever will be a Cornhuskers fan. But I just canít conjure up the hate like I used to, and itís because the University of Nebraska is what my beloved CU will never be: a college football paradise.
It was instantly apparent how much better of a college football atmosphere thrives in Lincoln than ever will in Boulder. Itís like comparing apples to oranges, or Champs Sport Bowls to Orange Bowls.
n The student section was standing-room only 45 minutes before kick off; CU students often donít file in to Folsom Field until the second quarter, if they bother to show up at all.
n Nebraskaís marching band actually takes the time to learn each opponentís fight song ó and plays it before the game as a sign of respect. At Folsom Field, visiting players (and their fans) are greeted with hurled oranges, marshmallows and language that would make Andrew Dice Clay blush.
n Pouring rain had zero ó ZERO ó effect on attendance at Memorial Stadium last weekend. In Boulder, a light drizzle provides many ďfansĒ with an excuse to not go to the game.
n Cornhuskers fans know every team cheer, chant and song. The best-known cheer at CU is an eight-word diddy that includes two f-bombs.
I had always joked that Nebraskans so love their football team because their geographic misfortune leaves them little else to do. And that still may be the case, but I have a new respect for the greatest fans in college football. And in case they should forget, there are signs over every stadium entrance (ďThrough these gates pass the Greatest Fans in college football) reminding them of their place in our football-crazed country.
I wouldnít have believed it if I hadnít seen it with my own eyes. And if Iím lucky, Iíll get to see it again.