Remember when Parks and Rec decided to randomly change course before the final season and start a drawn-out, poorly explained feud between its two main characters? That was weird. It was also a departure from anything the show had done until that point. Like, piss-a-lot-of-people-off weird.
Scott Frost pulled a Parks and Rec during Nebraska’s Spring Game last Saturday. The music for the Tunnel Walk changed, seemingly without any notice, and there’s a pretty decent pocket of people that are all in their feels about it.
So, naturally, I think there should be arguments for and arguments against moving away from Alan Parsons Project’s “Sirius” as the walk-out, hype-up music. First, we’ll make an argument in favor of changing the song, and Thursday we’ll make an argument for keeping it.
Any conversation about changing a 30-year-old tradition right away is going to inherently involve larger philosophical discussions about what Scott Frost, Nebraska Head Coach, is going to look like. Should probably start there.
When Frost got to Central Florida, he immediately revamped the brand. There’s a short mini-doc floating around in which Frost talks about calling up his good buddy Phil Knight — you know, the Nike guy — and basically saying, “We look like we’re still playing with NCAA 14 jerseys before the uniform update. Help.” Central Florida got cleaner fast with a modernized and streamlined look.
There’s also that web series the Knights started as a way for Frost to circumvent traditional media practices and get his message out there, an idea that has made its way to Lincoln now too. Then there’s the new-school offense, the death of the fullback (RIP) and a host of other changes.
In this particular case, the song might be more of a gateway. Frost stepping in and having no qualms about immediately changing things at Nebraska is a bat signal that other things are in for a tweaking as well. At the Hail Varsity offices, we’ve spent plenty of time kicking around ideas for slight uniform tweaks that could modernize an otherwise untouched look (or, at the very least, adding a regular alternate).
Maybe Frost doesn’t go all the way into the deep end, but a facelift to the overall Nebraska football experience — one that better complements the high-end facilities that have changed so much since Frost was last in town — might be a better sales pitch to a new generation of kids, a better way to reel them in before hitting them with the “yeah, our practices are going to suck” line.
But all of that is good. There are only a handful of schools that have refused to touch their look or feel. Alabama comes to mind but I imagine trying to talk to Nick Saban about a uniform would be about as painful as taking a quantum physics exam while simultaneously undergoing a root canal. Ohio State hasn’t changed much but the Buckeyes have embraced seasonal alternates that don’t involve giant logos in the middle of a player’s chest (for anyone wondering, that’s a not-so-good idea).
Back to the song. Nebraska needs an update. A fresh feel. “Sirius” has been associated with about 10 years of winning everything and then about 20 years of winning nothing. The group that equates the song with Nebraska football is not the group that Frost needs to appease. Kids — we’re talking about kids a little younger than my age so, hey, cool insight — either associate “Sirius” with Michael Jordan or they don’t know what it is.
Maybe Gary Clark Jr.’s “Come Together” cover on steroids isn’t the way to go (Nebraska has also used it for both men’s and women’s basketball and it was dope) but that’s a discussion for down the line.
And no, '80s metal probably isn’t the way to go either. Have you been around practice lately? There isn’t much Guns N' Roses playing through those loudspeakers. Some version of a Kendrick Lamar banger or DMX’s “X Gon’ Give It To Ya” would be much more with the times.
After all, music for the players is what the original intent was about. Fans don’t need help getting hype; half the stadium is going to be wearing “Frost Advisory” T-shirts on Sept. 1 and fangirling so hard when he comes out of the tunnel they won’t even be focused on the music.
I imagine Lil Uzi Vert’s “Do What I Want” playing on a loop in Frost’s office. At the end of the day, if he wants to change things they’re going to get changed.
Derek is a newbie on the Hail Varsity staff covering Husker athletics. In college, he was best known as ‘that guy from Twitter.’ He has covered a Sugar Bowl, a tennis national championship and almost everything in between (except an NCAA men’s basketball tournament game… *tears*). In his spare time, he can be found arguing with literally anyone about sports.