Despite my best efforts, I can't be everywhere. But dry your tears, Big 12 fans, because you can be. Not any specific individual, of course, but as a collective. Anyway, I (rather idiotically) digress.
I made my rounds during the season, and named my top five atmospheres of the season.
Then, I asked you. What'd I miss? Who needs to remember a game you won't forget? We got some good responses, but here are a few of the best.
Brian in Lincoln writes: Love the blog. One of the best "in game atmosphere" was at Ames, Iowa for the Iowa St/Nebraska game. As a husker fan, there were more ups and downs than any other game. And the Cyclone fans were amped in hope of a major upset. It was crazy. When Hagg broke up the 2 pt try in overtime, it was absolutely silent. From the cyclone fans at least...
My take: I imagine that's a very different, but equally charged-up feeling, to have a crowd be going absolutely insane on the biggest play of the game and then just go silent like they disappeared. You hear it the best, outside of some groans, on long interception returns from road teams, and maybe not so much on game-winning plays like Eric Hagg had. It would have been pretty cool to be at Jack Trice Stadium for that one, though.
mhb in Kansas City, Mo., writes: MU vs Illinois is like a pre-season Bowl game. The crowd is split 50/50 on the 50 yd lines. There are Spirit Rallies on the Fri. before as well as the tailgate parties downtown across the street from the Edwards Dome..The Tigers won every one of the games. Some were close; some not. But each year featured a Tiger's coming out party. Someone unexpected had an awesome game..Too bad the Illini canceled the series.
My take: That's definitely true. I've been to the Arch Rivalry (as I've said before, best rivalry name in college football, played in the shadow of the Arch in St. Louis) a couple times, and it's an incredibly underrated atmosphere. Especially since it's the season opener and it's been awhile since you've seen college football, it's always a little disarming when it gets really loud in the pregame, which it always does, and again on the first big play. Illinois generally being an underwhelming team under Ron Zook kind of saps a lot of the respect out of the rivalry, but there have been some great games in that rivalry in the past few years.
Hunter in College Station, TX writes: A&M vs Oklahoma had almost as great of an atmosphere as the Nebraska game
My take: I heard that, actually. What say you, Aggies? That was the first time the fans revived the "Wrec-king Crew!" chant this season, wasn't it?
Kolton (On the road) writes: Best game day atmosphere was in Lawrence at the K-State @ ku game. It was a blast to hear all the K-State fans in Memorial Stadium cheering, chanting and singing along with the K-State marching band after the ku fans fled the building. It was magical... too bad history is still waiting, beakers!
My take: Ha, maybe so, Kolton. But from my living room, that Thursday nighter almost put me to sleep. Two less-than-riveting styles from the middle of the Big 12 North, playing to a 59-7 final? No, thanks.
Dan Huston in Lincoln, Neb., writes: I can tell you the worst atmosphere by far was Kansas @ Nebraska. The croud was as flat as I've ever seen it. Nebraska got up early and it was obvious very early in the game KU had no chance of moving the ball on the blackshirts. This was the first "cold" game of the year and husker fans were looking ahead to the A&M game, and still disappointed from the Texas loss, it was a very eerie feeling. Pelini even called out the fans in the media and expressed how disappointed he was in the croud. Or maybe this was all out of respect for Turner? Hhmmmmm???
My take: Yeah, I kind of felt for both sides of that whole situation. For one, it had to be at least a little awkward for Nebraska fans. I imagine they weren't exactly fired up about cheering against Turner Gill. On the other hand, there are only seven days out of 365 on the calendar that Huskers fans can convene at Memorial Stadium. I don't blame Pelini for being disappointed in the crowd and calling them out after the game. That said, from what I saw of the game, it looked like the most nap-inducing game plan of the year, so really everyone was set up to be a little unhappy afterward: Pelini, Nebraska fans and Turner Gill. At least we won't be playing that one again any time soon.