How does Nebraska respond to the thorough beatdown at the hands of the Buckeyes? The Huskers no longer control their own fate, making pride the primary motivator. Will that be enough? Can Nebraska prevent a late-season skid with a win over 7-2 Minnesota?
Those are all mostly fake talking points unless you want to be really dramatic. The Husker should be fine because there are 21 games under Mike Riley that demonstrate they are a resilient bunch and maybe one game — the last one — that gives people pause. But if that’s still not enough to assuage the “response” fears, there’s also this: Nebraska’s best rivalry-trophy game is this week.
Yes, we’re talking about the Broken Chair, formerly known as the Bits of Broken Chair, though maybe that’s not totally accurate. “Formerly known as” feels a little formal for a trophy that has never been formally recognized, but, as the folks at The Daily Gopher point out, it’s time for that to happen:
While the story of the Broken Chair was an internet sensation (of sorts) during the fall of 2014, its fate as a trophy embraced by both schools and their fans remained in doubt. Being “internet popular” doesn’t mean something is actually well known or liked, and no one was even sure what had happened to the Broken Chair Trophy after the game.
Slowly but surely though, there were signs that the Broken Chair might endure. It was added to Wikipedia, which as we all know is an immediate and enduring source of legitimacy. Goldy brought it to a couple of public events where the Jug and Floyd were also on display. But none of this was official.
Head over to The Daily Gopher for the full blow-by-blow of the history of this trophy. After you’ve done that, do what you can to keep it alive by talking about it. Clearly this trophy needs to live. Unlike the Huskers’ other rivalry trophies, this one feels organic. It wasn’t workshopped or audience tested, it just appeared.
And, yes, it appeared as a result of an internet meme, still the biggest hurdle to the Broken Chair’s legitimacy, but remove the means of communication (Twitter, Reddit), and this trophy actually shares a lot with some of the classic totems that have been adopted as meaningful around the country.
That’s the key — adopted. Old jugs and spittoons and barrels don’t have any value on their own until teams start exchanging them after wins and losses. Then they mean everything.
The Broken Chair has that potential.
All Aboard the Roby Train
Nebraska romped to an exhibition-game win over bitter in-state rival Chadron State last night, but that wasn’t the story. The story was freshman forward Isaiah Roby who led all scorers in his Husker debut.
Coach Tim Miles didn’t hold back when it came time to talk about Roby after the game:
Staff writer Jacob Padilla, who knows his hoops, has been on Team Roby for a while:
The Grab Bag
- The Big Ten should have passed on Friday night games writes Teddy Greenstein of the Chicago Tribune.
- Ralph Russo with an interesting story on the average age of college football head coaches. They’re getting younger.
- For the analytics fans out there, a deep dive on tempo in today’s college football.
- Alabama has taken to using former players on its practice squad — Trent Richardson imitated Leonard Fournette last week — and that’s apparently within the rules.
- A group of Wisconsin athletes has voiced concerns about racial inequality after the fan incident captured on camera during the Nebraska game at Camp Randall.
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.