On a big Saturday on the Great Plains, this city's population swells from 258,000 to nearly 400,000. Life is college football and college football is life. Lincoln, Nebraska, ranks 27th on our Top 100 College Football Towns of America countdown.
To celebrate 100 days until the start of the college football season, HERO Sports is counting down the Top 100 FBS College Football Towns in America. Each day, through Aug. 24, a new city will be revealed. We will analyze the city, the program, the good and bad of the city as well as the bottom line. If you got a problem, @me on Twitter.
27. Lincoln, Nebraska- Nebraska
[credit]A new era begins in Lincoln. Will it return Nebraska's old glory? (AP Photo/Nati Harnik)[/credit]
To say Nebraska is a premier college football program is an understatement. From 1970–the year of the Cornhusker's first of five national championships–until 2002, Nebraska never went an entire year without being ranked in the AP Top Ten.
The program was so good and expectations were so high once Tom Osborne left in 1997, with a .836 winning percentage and three national championships, Nebraska fired two head coaches with a combined record of 125-36.
Enter Scott Frost. The former Nebraska player was the last starting quarterback to bring a title to Lincoln and optimism is high that he'll be able to return Big Red to glory. Frost, however, feels there's a lot to tackle in Lincoln.
"We've gotta fix everything," Frost said. "We've gotta fix the talent, we've gotta fix the depth, keep adding to what we have."
Despite being the state capital, Lincoln has nothing unique or extraordinary separating it from the rest of the Great Plains–except on fall weekends. The normally quiet, humble, American town is transformed into a buzzing energy unparalleled. The streets are drowned in a sea of red even Moses and God themselves could not part.
This is Cornhusker country.
The pride for Big Red runs deep, and its international. On Saturdays, Memorial Stadium becomes the third-largest population in the state. A stadium that has produced a sellout for 361 consecutive games. This love for Nebraska football is something Frost reveres.
"Nebraska's best asset is its people. They're hard-working, blue-collar people that depend on each other. That's the way that we're going to build it to try to make it have sustained success."
The McRib was invented here. Talk show hosts Dick Cavett and Johnny Carson are from here. Without Lincoln, is there an America?
Pick the right time to visit is like playing Russian Roulette. The summers and early fall is a trip into the belly of Satan's esophagus. It's hot and humid and you have to bring extra pairs of clothes just to walk from your house to your car.
Go too late in the football season and you're walking through a winter wasteland of deadness. Choose to forgo a nightly bath in Vaseline could cause your skin to crumble like a stale graham cracker.
Sometimes you get it all on the same day.
Nebraska is truly one of the pillars of college football. Should Frost be able to get them back to peak form, and combined with the civic pride that oozes out of every pore in every animate and inanimate object throughout the state, and it is hard to imagine being anywhere else in autumn.