“Wha!?!”, you say. “What about 1994, Osborne’s first national title? 1995 was the most dominant team ever! 1997 was memorable because it was T.O.’s last! Heck, if you’re going to pick something from the ’80’s, then it has to be 1983, right?”
Nope. I’m sticking with 1982. Sure they didn’t win the national title, but they should have had it not been for crooked officiating at Penn State. It’s easy to say any of the title teams is your favorite because they went all the way, but my choice of the ’82 Huskers is due in large part because of timing. As a sixth grader, football players were still larger than life heroes. They all could achieve superhuman feats on the field and they were all upstanding members of society off of it. A kid literally looked up to a Husker.
Now that same could hold true in 1983, but there was something more about the ’82 team. While in ’83 there was an aura of invincibility, 1982’s Huskers still had (thanks to the loss) that element of human frailty. The challenge was also more daunting for the ’82 Cornhuskers. Can you imagine today playing a non-conference schedule that featured Iowa, at Penn State and at Auburn? And in 1982, Oklahoma was a mountain to climb. The 1983 Sooners, while they put up a good fight, only won 7 games.
That season also featured one of the great individual performances in Nebraska history as Mike Rozier fought through a hip pointer to rush for 139 yards against a tough Missouri team. That game was also noted for Randy Jostes’s cheap-shot that knocked Turner Gill out of the contest. And I was there!
When you look at the roster, the stars from ’83 were all in place in 1982, plus you had arguably the greatest center in college football history, Dave Rimington. The defense was more stout. And the Huskers place kicker, Kevin Seibel, still kicked it old school, straight-on style. Now THAT’S football!
So color me unusual, but if asked to pick a favorite Husker team, I’ll take the 1982 vintage. A fine red wine indeed!
Now enjoy their season opener against the Iowa Hawkeyes on this edition of “Cornhusker Classics”