INDIANAPOLIS -- If the Big Ten office ever wanted to seek some fan input after staging two conference championship football games, it might want to consult Bob Floth and Matt Titkemeier.
The friends and former college roommates, both Nebraska fans, have attended 15 consecutive conference championship games -- beginning in 1998, with the final 13 championships of the Big 12 Conference, and now with the first two in the Big Ten.
Never mind that Nebraska has appeared in only five of those games.
“I would say the concept of going to each and every one kind of evolved,” said Titkemeier, a Broken Bow native who lives in Omaha. “We might have decided then, ‘Hey, let’s do this again next year,’ and once we got the ball rolling, it was, ‘We’re going now.’”
Floth and Titkemeier have been to seven different venues -- in St. Louis; Kansas City; San Antonio; Houston; Irving and Arlington, Texas; and Indianapolis.
Their favorite spot?
“Indianapolis has the best fan experience because of Fan Fest,” Floth said, referring to a large, indoor festival of games, pep rallies, TVs and mingling former Heisman Trophy winners at a convention center nearby Lucas Oil Stadium.
No, there’s not the aroma of burgers and brats you'll enjoy at Arrowhead Stadium, the crown jewel of tailgating.
“However, there’s so much to do here,” said Floth, a Sterling native who lives in Lincoln. “Everything’s downtown, everything’s right here. That’s what makes what the Big Ten does in Indianapolis great.”
The streak started when Floth and Titkemeier had planned on seeing Nebraska in the 1998 game, but decided on going, even though the Huskers weren't, because Floth knew friends in the St. Louis area who would lodge a couple of kids straight out of college.
“It was close, it was cheap," Floth said, "and we thought no matter what, we wanted to go watch a good game."
Over the years, Floth and Titkemeier discovered Oklahoma fans were the friendliest and most fun. The buddies scored early brownie points, though, by bringing a “NEBRASKANS FOR OKLAHOMA” sign to the ESPN "College GameDay" telecast prior to the 2000 game against Kansas State at Arrowhead Stadium.
“K-State fans booed,” Floth said, “but the Oklahoma fans waved us to the front of the line.”
Other friends (and sometimes spouses) have come along to some games; their buddy Chris Kramer has been to the last 13 games and intends on keeping his streak alive.
Of course, so do Floth and Titkemeier.
“Absolutely,” Floth said. “Even though we were switching (conferences), there was no way we were going to stop going.
“The only way I’ll stop is for births or deaths."