Published Friday, July 29, 2011 AT 7:41 AM / Updated at 5:01 PM
Big Ten Media Days: Dirk’s Brunch Bites 7/29
Dirk Chatelain Omaha World-Herald

Nebraska couldn’t exactly say no to Iowa or to the Big Ten.

But the idea of declaring a rival before Big Ten play ever begins is unnatural to everyone affiliated with Husker football.

Will Nebraska and Iowa produce intense football games? Yes. Will they dislike each other? Probably. But mark my words: Unless Iowa is winning nine or 10 games a year, Nebraska will barely notice the Hawkeyes.

Is that a snobbish way to see the new world? Perhaps. But it’s true.

Nebraska will always care most about the Big Ten program atop the standings, not the one closest to its campus. So if Michigan or Ohio State or Wisconsin is winning Big Ten titles, that’s the program Nebraskans will consider a “rival.”

In other words, it probably won’t be Iowa. (My bet is Michigan, because of the divisional alignment).

Tom Osborne knows it. That’s why he constantly talks about rivalries “developing” through time.

Why did Nebraska care so much about Oklahoma? Because OU won a ton of conference championships. Why did Texas stir such hatred in Husker hearts? Because Nebraska couldn’t beat Texas.

Kansas was a few miles down the road and the Jayhawks and Huskers had been meeting since the 1800s didn’t mean a darn thing. Did Nebraska care about Kansas? Nope.

Every year, Wisconsin celebrates a win over Minnesota as if it’s the Big Ten championship. Can you imagine Nebraska fans celebrating any win over a mediocre foe? Nope.

So Iowa better keep winning. Otherwise, Nebraska is going to care about this new Heroes trophy about as much as they cared about the Missouri bell.

* * *

Had dinner last night with members of the Nebraska media contingent, hosted by the Big Ten Network. My table included Dave Revsine, BTN studio host.

I’m a newcomer to the BTN, so I’m still learning about the league’s programming. But he told me about an Emmy-nominated show called “The Journey,” a 30-minute show tailored each week to a Big Ten player or team. Camera crews had access to locker rooms before and after games, and followed players a little bit outside the gym, too.

Sounded pretty cool.

Someday I’d like to see the league go one step further. Find a football program willing to open its doors during fall camp. Give us a “Hard Knocks”-style show (perhaps a bit more tame).

Would a college football head coach ever give up control and sign off on it? That’s the hard part.

* * *

There are plenty of great takes around the Web this summer about paying athletes. While I think something more must be done — an Olympic-style model would be the best idea — SI columnist extraordinaire Joe Posnanski makes some interesting points saying it’s a bad idea. Read it and tell me what you think.

About Dirk Chatelain

Dirk Chatelain is a staff writer for The Omaha World-Herald and covers Nebraska football and general assignments. You can follow Dirk on Twitter (@dirkchatelain) or email him at


  1. JD says:

    Wow this very pretenious by a program that has not been to a BCS game in over a decade, has not a top ten finish in over a decade, and basically has been a middle of the road Big 12 Team. Lets see Iowa 4 top ten finshes in the last decade and 2 BCS bowls, 1 Orange bowl victory, 2 Big Ten Titles. I think this might be the case Nebraska needs to catch up with Iowa. This is not the 90′s anymore Dirk and Nebraska doesn’t get to feast on KSU, KU, Colorado, and Iowa State anymore. This is a big boy conference Nebraska will drop 4 conference games this year.

    1. JG says:

      wait a min 4 losses? if thats the case then iowa will have many more than us.

    2. kevin says:

      JD we have played for nine national titles since 1970, winning 5, Don’t have time to count the # of consective nine win seasons, bowl appearances, and consective winning seasons.Look don’t take it out on us cause you grew up on the wrong side of the River…..Nebraska is a national power, Iowa is a local favorite. Your right we won’t have KSU,KU,and ISU anymore, but we will have Indiana, Purdue, and Iowa…….

  2. Marv says:

    Even in the worst years (under Calahan) Nebraska could care less about KU and CU. Dirks point is well made. It doesn’t matter at what level NU is playing, fans will still only care about the top dogs (OSU, Mich).

  3. Things Bother Me says:

    Checked out a few episodes of “The Journey” last week. Very well done!! Excited to see our basketball team showcased all season long!!

  4. Banshee says:


    Most Nebraska fans would consider the decade of the 2000′s Nebraska football’s worst decade since the 1950s. I’m not sure how most Iowa fans would rank the 2000′s, but by your account it was one of the team’s most successful decades. Even in a down decade, Nebraska still finished in the AP top 10 twice, compared to Iowa’s four top ten rankings. Both teams never finished higher than 8th. The most telling stat is that in their worst decade in 50 years Nebraska still had a better record than Iowa at 94-48 compared to 88-50 for Iowa.

  5. Bill says:

    Well, I like this idea (Iowa vs. UNL)–I think it will grow into a nice rivalry. And, most importantly, the significance of this trophy lies with the players. I find it interesting that Iowa will bring the trophy with them in November and, as a consequence, have a sense of ownership going into the game. Also, fans can have a connection with this in a most direct way in the selection of the heroes each year and celebration of their achievement in front of thousands of Iowans and Nebraskans. What the heck is wrong with that?

    Now, what I would like to see is a Stanley Cup persona (you know what I mean)–I would love to see the trophy show up in a bar in Lincoln or Bridgeport with a few tents in it. Won’t happen, but I can dream.

  6. Davenport Husker Bill says:

    Living back in Iowa and formerly from Lincon (8 years there), I can see that the expectations are obviously high for The Huskers to romp this year. JD (previous comments) has something about jumping to conclusions. This is the B1G now and the teams like Iowa State, Kansas, and Baylor are long gone. I am afraid of a relapse of freshman mistakes coming up to haunt my beloved Huskers. (like what happened last year with Taylor) Lots and lots of talent for the Big Red, but they are human and they are young. I admire the way that Bo spoke yesterday at the B1G conference. Lots of respect for the league and the traditions. He even wore a tie! After living back in Davenport now for 4 years and trying to get excited all over again for watching Hawkeye football, it is difficult as I see mediocre performace mixed with some sparks of excellence. I see college kids drunk out of their minds before the games start and carrying open beer in the streets. I lived in Linclon during the haydays of 1987 and know great football when I see it. I saw great family traditions in Lincoln where they celebrated being there as a family sport affair. Yes, there were people getting drunk there as well. I am starting to see that championship excellence again in Bo’s teams. Iowa is a proud state of their team and rightfully so, but not up to the level that NU will be bringing this year. Recruiting, coaching, fan base, facilities, even the colorful environment goes to the Huskers. (not Iowa’s fault about the colors, but red is so much more fun to see on the field instead of dismal black)…… By the way, do you really thnk that painting the visitor’s locker room pink will slow down the Husker’s next year? It used to be that you roooted for the “home team” as many of the state’s best players went to school there and even from your high school. Like Kirk said yesterday, it used to be that 1/3 of the western part of Iowa was even cheering for the Huskers because they saw good ball being played there and the Nebraska program was so easy to cheer for, especially with TO as coach. When I look at the “need” for the Huskers in the B1G, I remind myself that the league already has a team that dresses in the same colors (Badgers) and has a record of excellence as well so maybe the league doesn’t even know what the Huskers will be bringing with them. The key to Nebraska’s coming is the National attention of a huge fan base along with a top university acedemically. You will learn to hate playing the Huskers (Iowa fans), but the games will be so entertaining to watch, you will look forward to seeing it every year, win or lose. Huskers mean great football….again. Can’t wait! Got my tickets ready for the Lincoln game. GBR!

  7. Mike says:

    As i assured Tom Shatel when he tried to compare Iowa fans and rivalries to Nebraska. We don’t care About Iowa, and probably never will. I have much more of the ideology that its the big fish that count. Unfortunately Iowa doesn’t classify as “big fish “. But they will beat us on occasion to make their season. Great point Dirk. Are you listening Tom?

  8. Johnny Vegas says:

    Just the TRUTH IOWA fans !!!! IOWA LOST TO MINNESOTA last yr…….. USD beat MINNESOTA…… Enough said….. move along

  9. TxCornhead says:

    Dirk, ESPN did a Hard Knocks style show on Alabama either last year or the year before. Very interesting and worth finding online if you can.

  10. keo says:

    Yawn. Typical.