I'm of the opinion that game notes are some of the best reading one can find ahead of a football game. The packets produced each week by schools' sports information departments are literally jammed with information. Almost every inch of the 20 or 30 pages (typically) is used to dump stats, facts and superlatives.
And it's great.
Read one team's game notes over the course of a season and you can get used to simply finding what's new each week. Read the opposing team's game notes, however, and each week it's an adventure, a journey of learning. And if you like obscure little football facts, as I do, this is the place to come.
It's particularly valuable this week with Nebraska hosting Bethune-Cookman, a team it has never played and one that probably falls outside the circle of normal college football news you might consume.
Bethune-Cookman's game notes, for example, are where I learned this will be the Wildcats' first game against a Big Ten opponent in school history. It has been playing football since 1925. I would've guessed there would've been at least one such game in there at some point.
But college football is still an intensely regional sport. That's one of the things I love about it. It can be easy to forget that at Nebraska, which is always viewed as a "national program." The Huskers have to recruit nationally and, in the modern era at least, they schedule nationally. FCS/DI-AA has only been an official designation since 1978 so what follows doesn't include anything prior to that, but Nebraska has played more FCS opponents from Tennessee and Louisiana than it has from surrounding states such as Iowa, South Dakota and North Dakota.
And the Huskers have never faced one from Florida. So Saturday marks a first for both teams (and both teams are giving up their bye weeks to do it). Mike Babcock will have more on Nebraska's history against FCS opponents on Thursday.
As for the Wildcats, they're 2-9 all-time against FBS opponents "with both wins coming against FIU, respectfully," the game notes read.
Respectfully? Do I detect a little bit of shade there? This is why you always read the game notes.
A few other fun facts I picked up from Bethune-Cookman's game notes:
- A group of wildcats is called a destruction, hence B-CU's all-sports hashtag #OneDestruction
- If you want to know a little about how Bethune-Cookman hopes to play, there are two specific team goals mentioned in the notes. 1) The offense is after "Lightning Strikes," scoring drives that consume less than 3 minutes of game clock. 2) The defense hopes to have 30 sacks and 30 takeaways this season. The Wildcats have 14 sacks and 14 takeaways through eight games.
- B-CU is 1-1 in white helmets, 1-2 in black, 0-1 in gold and 2-0 in maroon this season. Love a good uniform tracker.
The Grab Bag
- Bill Connelly of SB Nation looks at Nebraska's better-than-it-looks profile through seven games.
- A few new defenders earned Blackshirts this week, but the defense is still working to put together a "complete game."
- Greg Smith caught up with one of the Huskers' latest offers, tight end Jonathan Odom.
- Lauren West looks at the intense schedule of a volleyball player in-season in this week's Lo-Down.
Today's Song of Today
Brandon is the Managing Editor for Hail Varsity and has covered Nebraska athletics for the magazine and web since 2012, Hail Varsity’s first season on the scene. His sports writing has also been featured by Fox Sports, The Guardian and CBS Sports.