Our World-Herald team talked about it yesterday at practice. ESPN.com Big Ten blogger Adam Rittenberg called Bo Pelini “Bo Buzzkill.” Kevin Kugler and Mike’l Severe asked me about it on Unsportsmanlike Conduct.
Do you wish Bo Pelini would acknowledge the history, if not the hype, surrounding Nebraska-Wisconsin?
Why, yes I do. And thanks for asking.
Pelini squashes every attempt to reach out to the boundaries of a football game. The color. The history. The legacy of it all. The fun. Fun? It’s just another game. Over and over.
And yet, if we see a radical new look on defense or offense for NU on Saturday night, is it really just another game?
That’s coachspeak. I get that. But sometimes I wish we’d get more.
Would it hurt anyone to acknowledge the game the way Wisconsin’s Bret Bielema did on Monday? Coach Biels is as intense as they come. Passionate, too. Yet he said he was talking to his players about the history and meaning of the game and Nebraska football. He talked about Barry Alarez, and his history at Nebraska, and with that, it was a tip of the hat to Bob Devaney.
Wouldn’t it be great if Bo Pelini, a Big Ten kid, told his team about the history of the Big Ten and what they were getting into?
Oh, you say, maybe he did? Possibly. But the players we talked to this week have said the coaches are treating it like any other game. So maybe they are, or maybe they’re just saying that.
The point here is, wouldn’t you, Husker Fan, like to hear more of this from your coach? Wouldn’t you like to know that your coach is as into this historic game as you are?
I’ll read the comments below. But I’m sure the majority of Husker fans will say they just want to win, and want their coach to focus on winning. I get that, too.
My guess is that most of the fans who say that secretly wish their coach would get into this aspect of the game. Acknowledge the big picture of it all.
Then again, what else is new? We’ve seen this before haven’t we?
Tom Osborne never acknowledged anything about a game’s importance other than it was the next game on the schedule and one he wanted to win. If Tom had been at the press conference this week, I can imagine him saying, “I’m sure the fans are excited about this game, but to us, it’s just another game.”
Tom said that a lot in 25 years. At least 255 times. The mega-big Oklahoma games and Orange Bowls spoke for themselves.
Frank Solich was a man of few syllables himself. He wouldn’t have painted the scene for us.
Bill Callahan? I have no idea what he would have said. In fact, I can’t remember a thing he said.
This is the way of Nebraska. The Big Ten scribes might find it unusual. But buzzkill is kind of what Husker coaches do. The swarm of Nebraska media are in charge of the hype. We do that well.
In fact, if we do our jobs this week, and Pelini does his, the weekend should be a hoot.