The Knights travel to visit the heartland-iest of our heartland brethren, the Nebraska Cornhuskers. So what can Scarlet Nation expect as they head to Lincoln? We asked our SB Nation colleagues Husker Mike and Brian Towle of Corn Nation for some insights to being a visiting team fan in Husker land.
What's the best thing about Lincoln as a college town?
Brian: Best thing? There's a plethora of bars on the main drag (O Street) in Lincoln. You can literally spend your entire evening going bar to bar to just get one drink. Then again, that could take a long time cause during the school year, there's a crowd everywhere. Students and locals aren't too bad, and if they are jackasses to the out of towners, most of the time you'll get people calming down the knuckleheads. The Railyard near the Haymarket (and our shiny new Basketball/Hockey someday Pinnacle Bank Arena) can do also in an evening's time. But to get the full undergrad experience, hit O Street, start on 17th and head West til you get to the bridge.
What makes the fanbase in Lincoln so good?
Brian: Well, to be honest, there's not a lot around to really do. Lincoln has a fairly okay independent Baseball team that keeps the grass used when the Nebraska Baseball team isn't in play, and a United States Hockey League team that helps pass the weekend when #Nebrasketball isn't in town or the Football team is dormant on a Friday. Otherwise, the Huskers are the main attraction in the city. Omaha folks have Creighton at times, as well as the UNO Mavs and another USHL team to pass the time, with the triple A home of the KC Royals. But in Lincoln, most folks are either Chiefs, Broncos, Bears or Vikings fans, while being Royals and/or Cubs fans. So, when those seasons are dormant, there's not a whole lot to do in the winter except talk about Basketball season and what is happening before the bowl game.
What should Rutgers fans expect when they arrive in town and at the stadium?
Brian: Well, Nebraska folks are kind folks. They'll tell you welcome so much it may nauseate someone, and while you walk about in the tailgating scene, you're gonna be welcome to a beer, turkey leg, plate of wings, or whatever you can find free of charge. And, after the game, you'll be applauded and wished a safe trip home. Some say that's a fault of the fanbase, in that they don't make a "hostile environment" for the opposing team. I say that's hogwash. Just cause we want Nebraska to win and you want Rutgers to win doesn't mean you have to treat someone like a horses ass for it. KSU fans were known for slashing tires during games. Colorado students can launch stuff at players and other fans when getting embarrassed at home on Senior Day. You do not have to be that guy.
There's been a lot on the blogs about RU and UMd joining the B1G. What's the true feeling among Nebraska fans about Rutgers? And I guess not being the new guys any more impacts that thinking, yes?
Husker Mike: I'll be blunt. Like many Big Ten fans, most Husker fans don't understand the Rutgers addition. It's not so much that we lament no longer being the "new guys", but rather that Husker fans would have preferred a bigger football tradition, if the Big Ten was going to expand further. Jim Delany's strategy of expansion into East Coast metropolitan areas hasn't been particularly well understood.
Brian: I get the Rutgers addition more than I get the Maryland addition. The East Coast TV sets and NYC, fine whatevs. I personally wanted Louisville but that's me being selfish. At least you're not on the BTN Welfare plan as you come into town.
Food and drink: Any great craft breweries worth checking out in the area? Sports bars to watch and share CFB or get some good local brews?
Brian: There is a brewery/eatery in the Haymarket called Lazlo's. In this restaurant, you'll encounter Emperyean Ales. Not only can you get a steak with fries and their amazing garlic dipping sauce, you can partake in 1 or 2 pints of a locally made brew and, by gosh, take a growler back to the hotel to partake in for the rest of the weekend. The selection is nothing to take lightly. And Cobby has his own credit account there, so if you buddy up to him, you're swinging brew free all weekend.
Rutgers has the grease trucks; where in Lincoln can you go to get a heart attack-inducing meal?
Husker Mike: Not quite sure about a "heart attack-inducing meal", but I'd suggest starting with Misty's on Friday evening. OK, prime rib isn't exactly grease-bomb material, but it isn't exactly health food either. And Misty's is a Lincoln tradition for the night before a home game. You'll probably find the network broadcasters there, and the pep band will show up for a pep rally. And at some point, you'll want to try a Runza. It's kind of like a Hot Pocket, except it's stuffed with ground beef and cabbage. They sell ‘em at the stadium, but if you go to the restauarants, you can get them with cheese, which gets you closer to the "heart attack" level. (Many members of our staff insist that Runza's incite pains a little lower, suggesting that the name reflects the after-effects.)
Brian: Well, you do have Culvers in Lincoln, and if a Butterburger with some Ice Cream isn't making your aorta hesitate, may I suggest the Taco Johns chain? It's a mostly Nebraska Mexican food chain that originated in Wyoming. If you're needing the urge to feed the monster, get the Six Pack & a Pound. That's 6 tacos with a pound of Potato Ole's, which are basically tots that have been salted enough that folks in Salt Lake City get jealous.
What other great attractions are there in and around UNL?
Brian: Well, you can check out Pioneers Park. Not a real big attraction, but when you're not used to the prairie being so abundant, it's nice to get out and stretch your legs a little bit. There's also Lincoln Stars Hockey that, if they are in town when you're in town, is a cheap and nice night out. Zoo Bar is a pretty good place to catch some music, as well as Single Barrel where the Sidetrack Band plays before games. Omaha has a few things to check out too, and is not too far up the road on I-80.
What should Rutgers fans watch out for or be aware of in Lincoln? And they're fans and are excited about football. But how should they act/behave around Husker fans?
Brian: Act like you're the new guy and don't want to piss off folks. Like I said above, Nebraska fans are pretty nice for the most part, and we're a small tight knit fanbase. We bitch and moan about each other, sure, but families fight with each other but can treat guests like they should. However, one thing to watch for is ticket purchasing, if you have not bought any yet. Lincoln is a free market and if you haven't got your tickets in hand, you can freely get them on any street corner before the game. Some guys just want to turn tickets, but others see the R on your hat/shirt and mark up the price, no matter what the going rate on the street is. Getting tickets on the street is a nice thing though, in that there are usually enough to go around. Just don't be a jerk to folks, and they won't be one to you. It can't get easier than that.
Mike and Brian, thanks for helping us out and welcoming us to the B1G. Enjoy the game.
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