This season marks the last time Husker football fans will visit Big 12 destinations or get visitors from those cities. So through the rest of football season, we're looking at the things we'll miss about these Midwestern towns.
This week, the Huskers are taking on Oklahoma State, so here's ...
What We'll Miss About Stillwater:
-- Eskimo Joe's. The Big 12's best-known and arguably best sports bar has great food (get the cheese fries), lots of TVs, live music, and the beer flows freely. It calls itself "Stillwater's Jumpin' Little Juke Joint," is ranked as the best college post-game hangout by the Sporting News and is No. 3 on Sports Illustrated's perfect college sports bar list. And it's just one block from the Oklahoma State campus. It's always worth a stop, even if there's no game going on.
-- Gallagher-Iba Arena. OK, it's football season, but Gallagher-Iba Arena is one of the Big 12's great basketball/wrestling arenas, very likely topping the latter list and second only to Kansas' Allen Fieldhouse for hoops. The place, once called the "Madison Square Garden of the Plains," opened in 1938 and held a then-huge 6,000-plus. It was doubled in size in the 1990s but retained all its original features, including the maple floor, the oldest in use in college basketball.
-- Red Dirt Country. As the name implies, Stillwater is epicenter of the burgeoning Red Dirt country movement, a rockin' scruffy alternative brand that's popular in these parts as well. Bob Childers kicked off the Stillwater sound in the '80s. Among its best known practitioners: Cross Canadian Ragweed, The Great Divide and Jason Boland and the Stragglers. All got their start in Stillwater.
What We Won't Miss About Stillwater:
-- Getting there. There's no easy way to fly to Stillwater, and it's a seven-hour drive through Kansas and northern Oklahoma, the last two of which seem interminable. That means either a plane-switching airport nightmare followed by a rental car drive from Oklahoma City, or a two- or three-day trip. Get used to it. That's going to be the Big 10 norm.