The Book on Nebraska
College expansion has come to an end with nothing more than a whimper, far from anything we were all expecting. The Big Ten (or Twelve maybe?) added a major piece by inviting the University of Nebraska. Now that all the hubbub has died down, let’s take a look at the conference’s newest member.
Nebraska was founded in 1869 in Lincoln. It was started as a land-grant college, just like Penn State. They have been one of the most respected institutions since the turn of the 20th Century. In fact, they were the first university in the American West to hand out a doctoral degree.
Today, the university stands pat with around 24,000 students and is a member of the American Association of Universities. One very interesting fact about the university is that they have the second-largest university printing press in the nation, and is among the world’s leading printing presses. Some notable alumni of UNL are Johnny Carson and Warren Buffett.
But on to the more important stuff, SPORTS!! The Cornhuskers are known for their football team, especially around these parts. They play in Memorial Stadium, which holds around 81,000 people. For big games, they call on the Sea of Red to make opponents tremble as they walk out of the tunnel. When you talk about loyal fans, they rank right up there with dear old State. They hold the record for consectutive home sellouts with every seat in Memorial being filled since 1962.
They have won five national championships, none more controversial than the 1994 championship that awarded Nebraska the nation’s top honor over an undefeated Penn State team led by Kerry Collins. It may have been retribution from the 1982 decision that went the other way. Read about it here if you don’t know the history.
They also have a fantastic men’s gymnastics team that has captured eight national championships. The women’s basketball program is also very good, actually going undefeated heading into the Tournament this year. But, maybe the most exciting new rivalry to come out of Big Ten expansion will be between the women’s volleyball teams. None of our readers need to be reminded of our Lady Lions’ accomplishments. But, Nebraska has an even longer history of greatness.
Since its inception in 1975, the women’s volleyball program, known as the Lady Huskers, have won 1086 matches, three national titles, been national runner-up three times and have made 11 Final Four appearances. One of the Final Fours was in 2008 when they had the Lady Lions on the ropes, down 0-2 in the national semifinals before giving up the final three sets and allowing PSU to grab their 2nd straight national championship.
Nebraska is a great fit for the Big Ten academically and will create even more excitement than there already is in the athletics realm. I’m already excited for my first road trip to Lincoln!