Nebraska Football: Is Obligation All That’s Left?

I’m all out of faith, this is how I feel

I’m cold and I am shamed

Lying naked on the floor

Illusion never changed

Into something real

I’m wide awake and I can see the perfect sky is torn

“Torn,” Natalie Imbruglia

In a season-defining, career-defining, program-defining opening game, Nebraska lost to Northwestern 31-28. Nebraska lost despite holding an 11-point lead twice in the game. Nebraska had chance after chance as the game wound down to pull the game out, but fell short yet again.

Nebraska is now 5-21 in one score games under Frost, including 0-9 since 2021. Nebraska is now 15-30 overall, reaching the stage where they’ve lost two games for every one win.

We can dissect the details of the game, including the decision to try an onside kick (a reckless but aggressive one which, at the time, I was fine with).

But, really, this isn’t about Xs and Os anymore, is it? You know what it felt like, Husker Fan. The bad break that lead to a slide and the late-game collapse. Be honest, once Northwestern took the lead, did you think that Nebraska was going to win?

I didn’t. And it sure looked to me like no one wearing scarlet and cream did either.

Please hear me, I’m not calling the players quitters. But in the fourth quarter, it looked like those uniforms weighed a thousand pounds. That the players felt the weight of every close loss, every dashed hope, every suffering Saturday throughout the Nebraska fanbase. It’s quite a lot to ask college kids to bear that weight.

I honestly don’t know what to do now. I thought about waiting for a few days before writing anything, so I wasn’t writing something for public consumption while being so up in my feelings about this.

But maybe that’s a good thing. Maybe this is the honest part.

For the whole week before the game, my friends and family kept asking if I was excited for the game. And I kept saying no, and it was true. I wasn’t excited. I was dreading it.

Apparently, for good reason.

So now what? I know you’ve come here for years now to hear about how Nebraska football connects us to our history and how we can all stick together in all kinds of weather and all that rah-rah jazz.

Right now I’m just pretty numb inside. I am all out of faith.

I never thought I would look myself in the mirror and realize that I don’t want to go to Lincoln next week for the North Dakota game. I have consistently referred to Memorial Stadium as my favorite place on earth.

Now? The thought of being one of the greatest fans to pass through those gates just fills me with sadness.

I’ll will go, more than likely. The season tickets are my parents’ and having the opportunity to spend that day with my mom is a gift I would be a fool to turn down.

But Nebraska football isn’t fun anymore. It’s an obligation. It’s muscle memory on a Saturday afternoon.

I can hear myself saying to stay the course, to take in the pageantry, to live in the hope that something wonderful will happen.

So I will probably be there, performing the rituals I have since I was small. Chanting the chants and clapping slightly off-beat to the band. Hoping to find some solace in that familiarity.

But I’m out of faith in this program. Maybe it will come back. Maybe a win over Oklahoma will wash the taste of this Irish debacle out of my soul.

I’ll believe it when I see it.

GBR, baby.

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