Wow, the Huskers are delusional...
*For weeks, the sign outside the popular Mexican eatery on Fifth Street had a message taking BP to task about the oil spill.
But by Thursday morning, Dustin Hogzett, a Nebraska grad living in Austin, Texas, noticed that El Arroyo Restaurant was now aiming its displeasure at a new target.
The sign had new words, and it wasn’t exactly an advertisement for a burrito special.
A sign outside El Arroyo, a well-known restaurant in Austin, Texas, on Thursday.
Someone was testy. Apparently that someone wasn’t Courtney, the manager of El Arroyo.
“It wasn’t my joke,” she said. “I didn’t even know what it meant.”
Hey, some breakups come with a little vitriol.
With Internet anonymity emboldening some, there’s been a share of acrimony passing between some Nebraska and Texas fans in recent weeks as the conference realignment talk has heated up.
If Nebraska’s potential move to the Big Ten and Texas’ threat to head to the Pac-10 with five other league teams has seemed like a staredown between the two schools, it’s certainly kept the conversation lively for two fan bases that have never been cozy to begin with.
Just ask Jack Kubicek, another Husker fan living in Austin. A 1968 Nebraska graduate, Kubicek is president of the Capital of Texas Nebraskans, which consists of about 500 families.
As might be imagined, it’s interesting being a Husker in Horn country right now.
“It’s the only area that is translating that Nebraska’s at fault,” Kubicek said. “Everybody else around the country kind of blames a little bit on Nebraska, a little bit on Texas. But down here, Texas blames Nebraska. And it’s kind of funny because Texas was looking at both those conferences (the Big Ten and Pac-10) before, and now they suddenly find a scapegoat they can blame their breakup on.”
Hogzett, a 2004 Nebraska graduate, has listened to much of the talk on Austin sports radio.
“They’ve been going nuts, thinking there’s no way Nebraska’s going to be leaving,” Hogzett said. “They think they control all the cards. They didn’t see this coming at all. Right now they just feel like they got coldcocked.”
Jon Madani has a much different take. A program director for Austin’s 1300 AM “The Zone,” he’s also a co-host of a morning sports show “Wake-Up Call.”
Conference realignment talk has dominated most of his recent shows.
As for how his callers are viewing Nebraska right now?
“I don’t think there’s any animosity,” he said. “I don’t think there’s any hard feelings. I don’t think Texas fans are going to lament this that long at all.”
Madani said Nebraska actually comes up very little on his shows.
“For the most part, most people don’t get torn up about it because the history’s not there,” he said. “I could be wrong on the stats, but I think the last nine times they have played, Texas has won eight of them. And I don’t mean that to be disrespectful. But there’s just not a whole lot to get torn up about.”
Apparently, it just depends on perspective — or whether you prefer scarlet to burnt orange. Hogzett said he’s sensed a lot of “doom and gloom” around Austin since news hit that Nebraska was likely leaving the Big 12 in favor of the Big Ten.
He said he’s heard a lot of people “dogging” on the Big Ten and Nebraska.
“But they have no facts so they’re not coming at me with anything good,” he said.
Nebraska and Texas fans may take part in some back-and-forth on the issue. But Husker athletic director Tom Osborne made it clear earlier this week that any conference affiliation decision for NU isn’t being made because of animosity toward anybody.
“This is not a case where we’re somehow reacting to any one school, particularly to Texas,” Osborne said during an interview on the Husker Sports Network.
Still, combine all the factors and there’s no doubt that Oct. 16 game at Memorial Stadium will be one of the hottest tickets in a long time. That’s the day Texas comes to town.
The breakup may have happened, but with Big 12 play possibly lasting into 2011, each side will probably still have to go to the other’s house at least once more.
Jill Simpson, president of the 1,400-person North Texas Nebraskans group, said she’s already had numerous calls about that Texas game: Can we get tickets? Can we get tickets?
“I think the mantra is we don’t need an extra second to win the game,” Simpson said. “That’s been said more than once.”
Reach Brian Christopherson at [email protected]