Yes, the college football season is well over, but yesterday was a big day for Husker fans...for two reasons:
1) It was letter-of-intent signing day. The day when high school seniors and junior college transfers sign on the dotted line and say "yes, I am going to play (and hopefully attend classes occasionally) at such-and-such school." Nebraska ended up signing a class of 28 players, and despite losing 2 highly-touted recruits, it looks to be a solid group top to bottom, which ought to help fill in some big gaps. Especially on defense.
Just as importantly, 12 Nebraska high school kids agreed to come on the team as walk-ons. That means they're playing, but with no athletic scholarship. Nebraska's walk-on program has been an important part of Husker history, and it's good to see the in-state kids sticking around and wanting to contribute.
College football recruiting is an interesting art/science. It's like putting the pieces of a puzzle together, except both the pieces and the picture you're trying to create keep changing. It's almost an organic thing.
2) Yesterday was also the day tickets went on sale for April 14th's Red-White Spring game. It's basically a scrimmage between the top units, but they try to play it in as close to actual game conditions as possible. The players are split into two teams, they stand on separate sidelines, they keep score and they play 4 15-minute quarters, with referees and penalties and cheerleaders and a band and everything.
And, there's fans in the stands.
Oh boy are there fans in the stands. For many Husker fans who aren't able to see the Huskers play in person in the fall, this is their one chance to watch them up close and personal. Even for those who can, this is their first glimpse at what next year's team may look like. So you get a LOT of folks in the stands. 3 years ago, there were 61,000...2 years ago, 64,000...last year, due to construction in the North end zone there was only room for 57,000, but it was declared a sellout.
This year? Who knows? We can fit 83,000 on a gameday. Wouldn't surprise me in the least to see at least 70,000 Red Clad Loons watch a glorified practice.
They raised the price of tickets this year--it's up to $8 per person, with kids 6 and under admitted free (kids ages 7-12 can get in free if they take a "drug free pledge" on the field at halftime). But you'd better believe I'm gonna be there. And I think we'll take Kiddo along for his very first Husker football experience.
Wanna see what 64,000 people watching a practice looks like? This is an amateur panoramic picture from the Spring Game in 2005. The guy basically just took 3 pictures with his digital camera from where he was sitting and photoshopped them together when he got home. Pretty cool.
I can't wait!