Even though the Nebraska Cornhuskers are scheduled to play the Wyoming Cowboys this coming weekend, the school’s athletic director (AD) Tom Osborne already seems to have bigger things on his mind.
In a letter sent out recently to fans that purchased their tickets to the school’s first-ever Big Ten Conference game, Osborne urged them to change things up for the Huskers’ coming match-up versus the Wisconsin Badgers.
What does he want to see at that outing? All black everything.
In the letter, Osborne requested that fans pass on the school’s traditional red colors to wear black instead. Obviously, the reason that the AD is calling for this is because he doesn’t want any Nebraska fans getting intermixed with the Wisconsin fans who will also be wearing red at Camp Randall Stadium on October 1.
"We love our tradition of a Husker Sea of Red wherever we go, but in order for us to stand out amongst the Badgers and be visible to our team, I ask that you join me in celebrating our Blackshirts' tradition by wearing black to the game," Osborne wrote.
"I look forward to seeing you in black in Madison!"
The “Pack the Black” campaign has been floating around since July, however, it wasn’t made official until Nebraska’s recent Alumni Association newsletter. Conceptually, the black attire is based on the defense’s nickname – which in turn originated because of black pullover jerseys worn by players in practice under Bob Devaney. And, of course, while the defense has unexpectedly been struggling as of late, they are still the most distinguishable and recognizable group in Huskers modern history.
Not everyone is excited about the move, though. Many Nebraska loyalists don’t understand the need for a complete alteration in tradition for this single game. Furthermore, on a more common sense-related note, the idea of wearing black at a night game -- which this showdown is -- seems a bit ridiculous.
Nevertheless, despite the objections of some, Husker faithful tend to stick by their program through rain and shine and, as such, you can expect to see them adhere to Osborne’s request. In fact, Jon Johnston conducted a poll on his site gauging public interest on the matter and an overwhelming majority seemed to support the notion of switching things up against the Badgers.
Regardless of where you come down on the topic, the far more substantive matter at hand is how the players will look in that game against Wisconsin, not the fans. Through three games, the Huskers have struggled in spurts only to seemingly make the right plays at the right times when the situations called for it. To date, they still haven’t lost a single game by less than 13 points, however, that hasn’t stopped some from stressing over the lack of dominance against subpar opponents.
Similarly, while everyone appears more or less impressed by the offense’s output thus far, the lack of defensive efficiency from a unit renowned for their excellence has been a cause of concern for everyone except Bo Pelini, it appears.
Nebraska will look to right the ship and impose a little more dominance on their opponents starting with the Wyoming game this Saturday – one that some have already dubbed an embarrassment before it even gets under way.