Big 12 fans target Huskers during last go-round

The Nebraska Cornhuskers shouldn’t expect a fond farewell from
fans when they go on the road this fall.

Century-old relationships will end when Nebraska leaves the Big
12 for the Big Ten in 2011, meaning this season’s visits to places
like Kansas State and Iowa State could be it.

Folks in those old Big Eight haunts already are planning raucous

The message from Iowa State fan Adam Gray: ”Don’t let the door
hit you on the way out.”

Kansas State fan Tyler Fike said, ”There is some resentment,
but I don’t think it will come to riots.”

That’s good to know, but Nebraska coach Bo Pelini wasn’t
expecting problems anyway.

”You go through the conference, and the fans and institutions
in the Big 12 are highly respected,” he said. ”Very classy
programs, very classy fans.”

That said, the Huskers should expect to see plenty of rather
chilly signs, T-shirts and chants.

Some fans feel as if the Huskers are scoundrels for abandoning
longtime conference partners for greener – meaning richer –
pastures. Others understand why Nebraska jumped at the chance to
increase its revenue, broaden its exposure and enjoy the stability
of the tradition-rich Big Ten.

”I’m sure if K-State were in a situation like Nebraska, we
would jump on it, too,” said Brad Gober, a Kansas State senior
majoring in secondary education.

Nebraska dominated series against the likes of Kansas State,
Iowa State and Kansas, yet fans of those schools say they’ll miss
getting to see one of the nation’s top programs in their backyards
every other season.

”You look at the records, and you would be a fool if you’re a
Jayhawk fan not to be delighted to get rid of them because we’ve
won only about one out of every six games,” said David Lawrence, a
KU offensive lineman in the late 1970s who now is a radio
commentator on the Jayhawk network. ”But it’s like losing a

The final installment of the venerable Kansas-Nebraska series
will be Nov. 13 in Lincoln. It will mark the 105th straight year
the teams have met.

The Huskers also play at home against Missouri, a continuous
series since 1922; Colorado, 1948; and Texas, a team they’ve met
only 13 times but a bitter rival of late.

Nebraska’s first Big 12 road game is Oct. 7 at Kansas State, a
team the Huskers have played 94 times since 1911 and every year
since 1923.

Gober said K-Staters were agitated for a few days in June after
Nebraska athletic director Tom Osborne announced the school’s
intent to go to the Big Ten and the future of the Big 12 was in

Before the Big 12 found a way to stay together, without Nebraska
and Pac 10-bound Colorado, there was speculation that K-State, Iowa
State and even basketball juggernaut Kansas would be without a BCS
conference affiliation.

”It was looking like we were going to be hung out to dry,”
Gober said. ”At first there were a lot of people really, really
angry at Tom Osborne. Nebraska was pretty close to destroying the
Big 12.”

Nebraska goes to Oklahoma State on Oct. 23. The Huskers and
Cowboys don’t have as lengthy a history, though they met every year
from 1960-95. Their annual games ended when the Big 12 assigned
them to separate divisions.

Iowa State, which has played the Huskers 104 times since 1896
and every year since 1926, is lying in wait Nov. 6.

It’s always a special occasion when the Huskers visit Ames, and
it’s an even bigger deal this year, said Chris Williams, who runs
the website

”Iowa State has had it out for Nebraska for decades,” Williams
said. ”The realignment thing comes up and, right or wrong,
Nebraska gets painted as the bad guy, and a lot of fans are upset
about that. It’s always hot when Nebraska comes to Ames. It’s going
to be a lot worse this year.”

Williams said he expects ISU fans to come up with some creative
ways to bid adieu to the Huskers.

”Nebraska fans don’t realize what Iowa State fans were going
through in June,” Williams said. ”They were talking about wiping
Iowa State off the planet as far as big-time BCS college athletics
go. A lot of people think Nebraska and Tom Osborne are the villain

Nebraska might catch a break Nov. 20 at Texas A&M. Kyle
Field can’t get much louder than it always is, and the Huskers and
Aggies have only played 13 times.

No matter where the Huskers travel the next nine months,
regardless of the sport, they can be sure that hecklers will not
let them forget where they’ve been and where they’re going.

”People see it as a last shot to beat Nebraska,” said Gray,
the Iowa State fan. ”Whenever you have a chance to beat Nebraska
going out, it’s something the fans are going to want.”