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What Memorabilia Best Signifies 125 Seasons?
Photo Courtesy Kelly Mosier/NU Media Relations
Courtesy: NU Media Relations
06/10/2014
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Randy York’s N-Sider

mem·o·ra·bil·ia noun plural \ me-mə-rə-ˈbi-lē-ə, -ˈbē-lē-ə, -ˈbil-yə\: objects or materials that are collected because they are related to a particular event, person, etc.: things collected as souvenirs

South Dakota, the border state that gave us Tim Miles, is honoring its 125th anniversary of statehood this year.  Ironically, at the same time, Nebraska is celebrating our 125th season of football.  To understand how truly amazing 125 seasons of football really is, consider this: Nebraska’s first college football game was played on Thursday, Nov. 27, 1890, at the Omaha YMCA.  That inaugural game was played a year before James Naismith invented the game of basketball, and because that historic game was scheduled on Thanksgiving Day, it was also played two days before the first-ever Army-Navy football game.  Talk about rich, flourishing history.  Just the thought may seem light years from the magnitude of a major milestone, but we’re counting on Husker fans across the country and around the world to help us show off our incredibly storied past.

Huskers.com is asking the world’s greatest fans to think of memorabilia to help us connect with the history of Nebraska football in a way that will enable us to appreciate our unique history throughout the summer leading up to Season No. 125.  The goal is simple.  We want to raise the awareness of this historic football brand year and use our mutual engagement to share fan stories within the vast Husker universe.  We encourage fans everywhere to submit copies of your favorite memorabilia through digital outlets, including email and the two biggest staples of social media, Facebook and Twitter, or, for that matter, through any source that can connect with us, including gobigred@huskers.com.

The Four Chunks of Nebraska Football History

We will accept those submissions, discuss and analyze them and use what we consider the best and most interesting to create a 32 "team" bracket, seeded into what we've compressed into four distinct eras of Nebraska football history:

1) The Early Years dating to that inaugural game in 1890.

2) The Devaney Era that changed the paradigm of Nebraska football in the 1960s.

3) The Osborne Era, including the greatest five-year stretch in college football history.

4) The 21st Century Huskers, a cornerstone in a time-tunnel transport through history.

Nebraska's digital media team, headed by Kelly Mosier, turned this adventure into five rounds of voting. The opening round is a round-robin for each era that will determine their respective rank in the head-to-head rounds that will follow on Huskers.com.  "We'll go from 32 to 16 round-robin rounds with the top vote earners for each era advancing and seeded according to their vote totals," Mosier said.  "We will then go from our Sweet 16 to our Elite Eight, and then on to our Final Four, finishing with the Championship Round to determine what memorabilia best represents Nebraska's 125 seasons of college football."

Five Voting Rounds: 32 to 16, Then 8, 4, 2, 1

Today marks the official launch of a campaign we're calling 125 Seasons of Nebraska Football Memorabilia. That very word is defined at the top of this N-Sider, but can be expanded to represent things that are remarkable and worthy of remembrance…things that stir recollection or are valued or collected for their association with a particular time period.  Memorabilia can even include a Person of Interest, as long as there's a storyline attached to whatever memorabilia or mementos fans have in mind.  You know The N-Sider.  We worship ideas like this, especially when we can give Husker fans until Friday, June 13th, to respond – the official end of the memorabilia submission period.

The five voting periods include:

1) First-round voting June 20th to July 1st

2) Sweet 16 Voting July 7th to July 11th

3) Elite Eight Voting July 14th to July 18th

4) Final Four Voting July 21st to July 25th

5) Championship Voting July 28th to August 1st

Our goal is to capture and showcase our treasured football history before Nebraska begins its 2014 Fall Camp on Monday, August 4th.  Please help us commemorate and celebrate 125 Seasons of Football Memorabilia!

Celebration Pack to the Grand Prize Winner

Elite Eight Big Red summer contest submitters each will receive Huskers T-Shirt.  The Grand Prize Champion will receive the 125th Season Celebration Prize Pack that includes two corporate sideline tickets to Saturday's 8 p.m. Homecoming Game against Illinois on September 27th.  The winner also will receive a two-night stay at Lincoln's downtown Holiday Inn and a Misty's gift card.. 

As an inquiring mind, I want to know what others would consider to be blockbuster mementos to represent 125 Seasons of Nebraska Football Memorabilia.  I have a number of suggestions that would qualify as worthy candidates for this summertime celebration and will share them with N-Sider readers soon.  In the meantime, go back, back, back to the beginning.  Remember the Devaney Era and the Osborne Era, the greatest back-to-back coaching legends in college football history.

Don't forget the 21st Century contributors that include Kenny Bell, who keeps intimating that he's cut his "fro" in preparation of the 2014 season.  Some believe the hair-raising wide receiver shaved the half acre of hair on his head.  Others believe Kenny just pulled his hair back to get your attention on Twitter and Facebook.  Let's assume Kenny is being honest.  If so, perhaps he could submit the hairy evidence to our summer memorabilia contest with no chance of winning a prize.  Kenny is, after all, still a student-athlete.

Inaugural Season: Unbeaten, Unscored Upon

Let’s end with another important fact about how we started.  On that late November Thursday in 1890, Nebraska defeated the Omaha YMCA, 10-0.  NU’s only other game in that inaugural season (team photo above) was another road game, an 18-0 win over Doane College in Crete, Neb., on Saturday, Feb. 14, 1891.  What a way to launch a program – unbeaten and unscored upon seven decades before Blackshirts signified defensive excellence. Who could have guessed that a state long on land and short on people would go on to win five national championships and play in 50 bowl games? 

One hundred and twenty-five seasons represent a landmark worthy of a benchmark. As loyal, devout fans, help us embrace all aspects of our 125-year history. Become part of this summer’s celebration.  And remember this very important point – you don’t have to own memorabilia to talk about what would appeal most to you. 

Send a comment to ryork@huskers.com (Include city, state)

Follow Randy on Twitter at www.twitter.com/RandyYorkNsider

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