Tackling the NU-NU dilemma (once only)

Ever since the Big Ten expanded in June, I've received numerous emails asking how I'll approach the designation dilemma with Nebraska and Northwestern.

Both teams are often labeled as NU. We've seen other abbreviations as well -- NEB, UNL, UN for Nebraska; NW, N'Western for Northwestern -- but NU appears to be the preferred label for both fan bases.

Now I'll admit I've avoided this issue in favor of more pressing topics. But it's mid-February, news is slow and Nebraska is now part of the Big Ten blog. It's time to address how we'll proceed.

Ultimately, this is your blog. Your continued interest and participation make it such a popular destination on the Web. And when it comes to sensitive matters like how teams should be designated, you should make the call.

The NU-NU situation isn't the first of its kind in the Big Ten. We have two U of Is (Illinois and Iowa) and two U of Ms (Minnesota and Michigan). If you google "U of M," the first three entries are for Minnesota and the next two are for Michigan.

Amazingly, we survive with minimal confusion.

So Northwestern fans and Nebraska fans, tell me how you want your team to be labeled.

Having covered Northwestern in some form for more than a decade, I'm 99.9 percent sure Wildcats fans want to be called NU. Although ESPN television and other outlets use NW as a designation, most fans hate it because, among other reasons, it makes no grammatical sense (Northwestern is one word). If Northwestern fans want to be called NU, I'll grant their wishes.

Most Nebraska fans I've heard from also call their team NU. Although the school's official title is University of Nebraska-Lincoln, pretty much everyone uses the NU label. There are sections on the University of Nebraska system Web page called "About NU" and "NU success stories."

I respect that. I don't need a lengthy explanation on how the NU label originated. If Nebraska fans want it, they'll get it.

Bottom line: I'm completely fine with referring to both Northwestern and Nebraska as NU. If you see "NU" in a blog post headline and get confused, simply scroll down and you'll soon figure out which team I'm writing about. It's really not that difficult.

Again, this is your call. Let's play the name game once and for all.