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By Randy York
Here's the N-Sider Tip of the Week: Whatever you have on your calendar Friday night, think about canceling or postponing. Circle the date and get a date. Whether you're parents with kids, grandparents with grandkids or boyfriends with girlfriends, don't pass on this deal. Be prepared to try something different. Change things up and head straight to the NU Coliseum as fast and furiously as you can for Pepsi Pack the House Night and Senior Night rolled into one. It's No. 7 Nebraska hosting No. 2 Penn State in a wrestling battle royal that has conference pride in every weight class and national prominence at stake for both teams.
That makes it fairly easy to come up with 10 reasons why you should be one of 4,000 fans to purchase tickets at Huskers.com or call 1-800-8BIGRED to order tickets for this one:
10) Every man, woman and child can walk into the Coliseum with a ticket that costs just a dollar.
9) Once inside, buy a 24-ounce Pepsi product for just another buck, so come early, be bold and start the night with a Mountain Dew, giving you an excuse to be a little louder and a bit rowdier.
8) Check out the team in blue. The Nittany Lions are defending NCAA wrestling champions, not to mention the 2011 Big Ten Team of the Year for all sports.
7) Zero in on Cael Sanderson, Penn State's head coach. He's a Jordan Burroughs-like athlete trying to become a John Wooden-like coach. An Olympic gold medalist, he's the only undefeated four-time national champion in NCAA history.
6) Identify with the heartbreak of former conference member Iowa State. Sanderson broke Cyclone hearts when he bolted Ames and the Big 12 for State College and the Big Ten.
5) Help Nebraska break Penn State's hearts. Mark Manning's Huskers (14-1 overall and 5-1 in the league) are tied with Penn State (9-1 and 5-1) for second in the Big Ten standings.
4) Sense history. If the Huskers upset the Nittany Lions Friday night and then shock league leader Minnesota (9-3, 6-1) Sunday in Minneapolis, guess who wins the Big Ten championship?
3) Pat yourself on the back if you said Nebraska, which would climb to the top of the Big Ten ladder above Penn State and Minnesota, plus stay ahead of Illinois (13-2, 5-2) and Iowa (10-3, 5-2).
2) Take advantage of the Pepsi promotion, especially when the stakes are so high. At the same time, don't forget that Friday night's spotlight will focus on the only two senior Nebraska wrestlers this season. James Nakashima, NU's 197-pound junior college transfer from Dwight, Ill., has won three of four overtime matches in his last five outings. If his teammates can reach down like he has here lately, watch out. The Huskers could be spoilers.
1) Stand up and cheer for Tucker Lane, the Husker heavyweight from Redvale, Colo. He writes a new chapter in Nebraska's history book every week, and as a near 4.0 graduate student in Communications, he's on the verge of repeating his status as an Academic All-American. He deserves a curtain call, win or lose.
Now that you know why Friday night needs your attention, commitment and support, we recommend you circle that date on your calendar ... now!
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