When Mel Tucker took over as Colorado’s football coach, he didn’t think Nebraska would be a topic of conversation. In fact, the red capital of the world has been a rather sore subject for the SEC transplant over the past seven months.
“There are in-state kids here who don’t care a thing about CU, so it’s a sell job,” Tucker recently told The Denver Post. “It’s like, you’ve got to win games before they’ll even consider you. I’ve been through that before; that’s just how it is. There are kids right now that you (ask), ‘Well, who are your top (teams)?’ And they’ll say, ‘Nebraska.’
“And you look and say, ‘Well, what has Nebraska done?’ But in their mind, that’s like way, way better than CU.”
This is an added spark to the renewed rivalry between the Buffs and Huskers, who square off on Sept. 7 for Nebraska’s first trip to Boulder in a decade. It marks the second of four meetings scheduled to run through 2024.
Colorado stormed out of Lincoln with a 33-28 win last season, spoiling Scott Frost’s long anticipated homecoming. Some in Nebraska say victory was due in large part to Colorado linebacker Jacob Callier injuring Huskers quarterback Adrian Martinez late in the fourth quarter, but nonetheless the scoreboard never lies. (Also Callier played through the whistle, not after it.)
Beyond last year, Tucker is right. What has Nebraska done lately? Colorado recruits give a lot of love to a program with one fewer win than CU since 2015. They have a staggering 23-27 record for during that time. So, what sets Nebraska apart from Colorado? Besides the flatirons being more majestic than the plains, that’s the question Tucker wants to know.
Most people in Colorado would agree the best travel brochure for Nebraska still wouldn’t convince them to visit outside of a CU/NU game. Here’s a sampling of the highlights offered by the mid-western oasis.
What’s not to like about Lake Mac? Well, except for the rattlesnake infestation... It’s the best Colorado has to offer in Nebraska. Hell, a majority of people who keep the largest lake in the region in business are Coloradans. It was named as one the Top 100 Family Places to Fish and Boat in the U.S., according to Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation. There’s no shortage of activities to enjoy. You’re welcome.
Yes, for those who didn’t know the coolest [sic] creation to ever come from Nebraska is Kool-Aid. An invention by the late Edwin Perkins, the nearly century-old product originated in Hastings about 100 miles to the west of Lincoln, presumably invented out of boredom. Nebraska’s seventh-most populated city — with a massive 24,991 people — hosts Kool-Aid Days in the month of August. It is a convenient time to celebrate the watered-down, sugared-up, food coloring dust mixture that helps prevents heat stroke, but not type 2 diabetes.
The celebration of “Nebraska’s official soft drink” pays homage to the Kool-Aid Man, an anthropomorphic red smiley faced pitcher known for busting through walls shouting the signature catchphrase “Oh Yeah” as he chases away your thirst. Not to be confused with Grammy award-winning artist Lil Jon who notoriously says “Yeah.” Nebraska’s mascot should really be the Kool-Aid Man— OH YEAH!
Larry the Cable Guy
A friend of ours better know as Dan the Comedian hails as the most recognizable Huskers fan from Pawnee City. You might remember him from such underrated comedy specials as “Git-R-Done” and “The best of Larry the Cable Guy,” along with lending his voice to “Mater,” a half-witted tow truck in Disney Pixar’s ‘Cars’ franchise. Nobody supports Nebraska like Larry does.
Honorable mention: Warren Buffett, violent tornadoes, College World Series, Union Pacific Railroad and the expedition of Lewis and Clark.
“I don’t know (why), because I can’t get into it with them like that; I don’t know what they’re thinking,” Tucker said about recruits who favor Nebraska. “I don’t negative recruit, so I never talk about another school to a kid. But there’s a perception here, obviously, that they have a more relevant program… but you know, winning solves all that.”
In the words of Bill McCartney, “I’d rather be dead than red.”