Basketball coach Tom Izzo last week called out Michigan State students for not filling their section at Spartan Stadium for a football game against Nebraska.
And, yes, the empty seats were noticeable. Almost alarming. It’s not the only Big Ten school where we’ve seen students not fill their seats, either.
I’d hate to include Nebraska on that list. Not fair, because the students are generally supportive.
I was, however, perplexed by the sparsely populated upper section Saturday in the southeast corner of Memorial Stadium. It sticks out more so in a stadium that prides itself on an NCAA-record sellout streak.
Given the combination of what's at stake for Nebraska, a warm autumn day and a worthy Big Ten foe, I thought there would be more student interest.
So rather than offer a scolding, I simply posed this sincere question on Twitter during the game:
Do the empty seats in the student section bother anyone?
I appreciated the variety of responses of 140 characters or fewer:
— as a student. yes. It's a pathetic embarrassment
— Empty seats are everywhere, every game. It is more noticeable in the stud section b/c everyone moves down when people leave.
— open day deer season in Nebraska.....
— got half a row empty in front of me in south. Weird.
— No, the students don't sit in their assigned seats, they cram in closer to the field. Not out if (sic) the ordinary
— Fickle college students? Not a huge deal. If they were in North stadium, I'd be more concerned.
— I would happily drive 2000 miles for a seat
— No, but that's why they don't need anymore seats than what they have.
I know of one fan who wasn’t about to take his seat for granted. That’s 94-year-old Ed Guthrie of Omaha, who watched Saturday’s pregame ceremonies from the sideline and was among several military members honored for Veteran’s Day.
Guthrie, who served in the Navy, was aboard the USS Whitney on Dec. 7, 1941, and is one of Nebraska’s last living survivors of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.
He and his wife, Janet, were on the field along with two of their great-grandchildren.
“I’ve never been on the field,” Guthrie said. “All the times I’ve been here, I’ve never been on the field. It’s quite an honor to be here.”
It’s more of an honor to have him here, and to have the chance to meet him. Thank you to Ed, and to all of the men and women in our military who’ve served, and continue to serve, our country.
* I particularly liked the command a state patrolman gave his police dog in the elevator Saturday morning: “Chill.” The dog sat.
* I’m guessing the Big Ten office let out a sigh of relief with this score: Wisconsin 62, Indiana 14.
* So, Kansas State will be ranked No. 1 in football. Anybody else still wonder about that Mayan calendar thing?