I wondered this early in the second quarter of Saturday’s game:
Should Nebraska offer Idaho State another $600,000 to end this thing at halftime?
That’s how much the Bengals earned for being part of the biggest mismatch this stadium has seen in nearly two decades.
And for young Idaho State athletic director Jeff Tingey, it was worth almost every penny.
Not just for the biggest, obvious reason — helping balance his program’s overall $12 million budget.
Tingey also used this trip to see how the big boys do it, hoping to pick up some pointers along the way.
“I think I just have my eyes wide-open and my thinking cap on,” said Tingey, a Pocatello, Idaho, native who’d never before been to Nebraska.
“We brought a lot of staff to this as well — our scholarship foundation president, director of academics, major gifts fundraiser, extra equipment people — just to see how it’s done at the highest level. There’s a lot to learn by that.”
As for the football game, Tingey said earlier this week he wasn’t worried what a lopsided result might do to the Bengals’ morale. In fact, he told of how his football coach, Mike Kramer, wanted to come to Lincoln, bypassing a chance for what may have been a more competitive game (and lesser paycheck) at Colorado State.
Tingey said he asked Kramer again, “Are you sure?”
“There’s no other school like Nebraska,” Kramer said. “I’ve been to almost every college football stadium that I could get into, and there is no place like Memorial Stadium.
“You can’t say Texas, Ohio State, Clemson — any of those places are like Nebraska. It’s unique. It’s not a football stadium. It’s not a normal college football game. It’s Yellowstone Park, it’s Mount Rushmore, it’s all the great venues as a tourist that you want to go to, and the fact that we get to go there on gameday and be part of a gameday is exquisite, and an extreme honor for my staff and our coaches and players.”
Never in my life have I been so entertained by the wave at Memorial Stadium — and with 10 minutes to go in the second quarter, no less.
The slow-motion wave. The hurry-up wave. The colliding waves.
Well done. I never thought Nebraska fans would have that in them.
* You know you’re getting old when you interview athletic directors who are younger than you.
* The face value of a game ticket to Saturday’s game is nearly equal to that of a season ticket for Idaho State football — $70.
* Biggest cheer of the game? Probably when the referee announced, “That’s the end of the first half.”
* Text of the game? It came from a fellow Hastings College alum: If Nebraska wants to pay for a mismatch, at least keep the money in state and play Hastings.
* Might I suggest a more competitive paycheck opponent for Idaho State next season? Say, Iowa.