By Randy York
Let's say you have a $10 bill in your wallet left over from the holidays, and let's assume you're thinking of using it to see a movie or grab a quick bite somewhere Friday night. Well, here's another idea: Take that 10-spot and invest it in something you've never experienced before, such as college wrestling, Big Ten Conference style. The Big Ten is, after all, a league in which all 12 of its members compete and six are ranked among the nation's top eight, according to the NWCA/USA Coaches Poll. Get this, Nebraska is No. 12 and would relish catapulting itself into the Top 10 and making it an even bigger Big Ten logjam with an upset win over No. 6 Ohio State Friday at 7 p.m. at the NU Coliseum. The N-Sider offers up 10 reasons why wrestling's worth $10:
1) Help launch Nebraska into its rugged new league with its first-ever Big Ten match at home
2) Once you watch, you'll understand why Bryan Snyder - Mark Manning's assistant coach, Nebraska's only four-time conference wrestling champion and NU's all-time leader in winning percentage gets so excited during a match. (That's Snyder in white shirt-and-tie above, helping 149-pound Husker Brandon Wilbourn take control against Wyoming).
3) Don't just look at Snyder. Look at the crowd. They're totally immersed in the action, just like you might be once you see what you've been missing.
4) Come at 5 p.m. and see Grand Island and Omaha Skutt, two of the state's best high school wrestling programs, compete in a rare dual match. Each $10 ticket covers both the top-tier prep match as well as the history-making Big Ten match. It's $10 for either match, so you might as well double your pleasure and double your fun and grab a Runza, a Val's or a Wimmer's hot dog in between.
5) Get a sneak preview of how the Huskers fit into their new league. The Big Ten features a more physical style of wrestling than the Big 12, and that's good news for Nebraska because two of the Huskers' greatest strengths are being well conditioned and being extremely physical, day by day, week by week, month by month, year by year.
6) Compete in a league with seven more schools involved in the sport than the conference in which you competed before, and you find yourself embracing the extra challenge, the tougher draws and the deeper lineups.
7) Get a birds-eye view of a grand experiment, putting prep matches and Big Ten matches on the same card, enabling younger athletes, their prep coaches and their fans to blaze new trails, develop new relationships and have more fun.
8) See how Nebraska Wrestling follows the lead of Big Red football and Husker volleyball in reaching out and connecting with prep athletes and their coaches.
9) See five Husker wrestlers do everything humanly possible to solidify and reinforce their Top Ten national rankings - No. 3 Robert Kokesh (165), No. 7 Jake Sueflohn, No. 7 Josh Ihnen (184), No. 10 James Green (157) and No. 10 Tucker Lane (heavyweight).
10) Who knows? Maybe a certain head coach that beat the Buckeyes in Nebraska's biggest football comeback in history might stop by and see his employer compete against his alma mater. It all depends on schedules, timing and ongoing recruiting.
Know this: That head coach will watch Nebraska wrestle every chance he can in this Big Ten inaugural season because 1) NU head coach Mark Manning is both a friend and a colleague and 2) he likes the speed and physicality of the sport every bit as much as the fans shown above.
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