Student ticket sales are down around the Big Ten, but even the football-crazy kids in Nebraska are finding reasons not to attend Huskers games at Memorial Stadium.
According to an Associated Press report, nearly an eighth of student tickets — or 1,000 of the total 8,500 — remain unsold.
The reasons are likely various. Many fans still expect the Huskers to be a national powerhouse, and that hasn't been the case recently, despite six straight nine-plus-win seasons under Bo Pelini. Even with those winning teams, those seasons — none of which ended in prestigious bowl appearances — were considered disappointments by many.
But the Big Ten itself might be to blame for this. Nebraska's home schedule is light on intriguing opponents. Non-conference contests against Florida Atlantic and McNeese State figure to be snoozers. And the conference slate brings Illinois, Rutgers, Purdue and Minnesota to Lincoln. The Illini and Boilermakers combined for one Big Ten win a season ago. Rutgers is in its inaugural Big Ten season and is expected to struggle, while Minnesota, despite its great success last season, was just 4-4 in conference play.
The Huskers play an overall competitive schedule, with conference games against Michigan State, Northwestern, Wisconsin and Iowa. But all four of those games come on the road.
The lone interesting matchup at Memorial Stadium is a visit from Miami. But even hype surrounding that game could be an all-too-appropriate metaphor for programs still expecting the same amount success they experienced decades ago.