Now that Nebraska's officially in the Big Ten, thought I'd offer a fairly comprehensive guide to Nebraska football tradition, lore, and history all in one post. Sorry if it's a bit long, but at least you have it all in one place.
You can pretty much summarize Nebraska football and fans this way: Long term excellence, devotion to team, knowledge and respect for opponents and the game. We love smashmouth football on both sides of the ball, a pounding rushing attack and hard hitting defense.
On gameday, Memorial Stadium becomes the 3rd largest population in Nebraska.
Since November 1962, the Huskers have had 304 consecutive sellouts, easily an NCAA record. EVERYONE wears red, giving our fans and stadium the "Sea of Red" moniker You'll soon learn that we release red balloons after the first score and play "Hail Varsity" after every TD.
Our fans are also famous for traveling well, there's the famous picture of the 2000 NU-ND game that shows the Sea of Red taking over Notre Dame's stadium, of all places.
Jim Delaney mentioned Nebraska's sportsmanship during the presser on one of the intangibles Nebraska brought to the Big Ten. Applauding the opponent--win or lose--is an end of the game tradition in Lincoln.
That's why when you enter Memorial Stadium, over every entrance you'll read, "Through these gates pass the greatest fans in college football."
Nebraska doesn't have the "little copper spittoon" trophy type rivalries traditional in the Big Ten. Although many think of Oklahoma as our rival from the old Big 8 "Game of the Century" days, that ended with the BXII formed. Nebraska and Kansas, though not considered a big rivalry, have the nation's longest uninterrupted series west of the Mississippi, playing each other every year since 1906.
Most Husker fans agree with our legendary coach Bob Devaney, who said about rivalries: “We have no rival. We are Nebraska.”
Another example of Nebraskans passion and devotion to the Big Red is the Walk-On program. Many non-scholarship players native to Nebraska have become starters this way, even giving up scholarships from competing programs for the chance to play for their home team. Notre Dame only had one Rudy but Nebraska gets a new crop of Rudys every season.
Some statistics and facts:
Winningest college football program over the last 50 years, both by winning percentage (77.98%) and number of wins (468). 8th all time inning % and 4th in number of wins
Five National Championships, 43 conference championships, three Heisman Trophy winners, nine Outland Trophy winners, five Lombardi Award winners, 107 All-American selections and nation-leading 64 First-Team Academic All-American football selections.
1994 and 1995 national championships are the only consensus back-to-back titles by a Division 1-A school since Oklahoma in 1956-57.
Nebraska holds the record for longest streak of bowl game appearances at 35 straight (1968–2003). Nebraska's 40-year streak of winning seasons, started in 1961, ended 2002.
This was accomplished running a clean program with no significant NCAA violations and a relatively high graduation rate for a top tier football program.
We've benefitted from a very loyal and stabile coaching staff, including two of the top 5 all time modern college coaches.
Bob Devaney (1962-1972, 101-20-2, 82.9%, 2 NC's) Devaney played at Alma College in Michigan, coached at 4 Michigan high schools, and was an assistant with Duffy Daugherty at Michigan State. Known as "The Bobfather".
Tom Osborne (1973-1997, 255-49-3, 83.6%, 3 NC's) never won less than 9 games in a season.
Frank Solich (1998-2003, 58-19, 0.753), fired after a 9-3 2003 team by Athletic Director Steve Pederson, because he would not "let Nebraska gravitate into mediocrity" and then hired Bill Callahan to "turn around" the program. Does that sound familiar?
Although known officially as the Nebraska Cornhuskers, we also go by 'Huskers, Big Red, or just NU (with all due respect to our more senior BT brothers at Wisconsin and Northwestern). We were once known as the Bugeaters. Official colors are Scarlet and Cream, the team traditionally wears red jerseys/white pants at home and white/red on the road. Main mascot is Herbie Husker, a big blonde farmboy in bib overalls, wearing a cowboy hat and carrying some ears of corn.
I mentioned our love of defense. So sometimes The Sea of Red is sprinkled with fans in black, honoring "The Blackshirts" the name for our 1st string defense. This tradition developed when Bob Devaney wanted separate practice jerseys to offset the red jerseys worn by the offense. Eventually the coaches referred to the top defensive unit by this name. The Blackshirts also have a black circle on the back of their helmet (we don't do helmet stickers). These players will often cross their arms in an "X" across their chests, representing the skull and crossbones, a longtime logo for the Blackshirts. This is called "Throwing the Bones".
Best fan sites: HuskerMax.com, BigRedNetwork.com
Oh, and last but not least:
GO BIG RED!