Turns out, if you talk smack about a Division I football team on national television, that team hears about it eventually. As it turns out, it doesn’t like it too much.
The 1-minute long segment of the ESPN College GameDay panel of analysts laughing at the idea of Nebraska being in the Top 10 made its way through Twitter and to Bloomington, Ind., on Saturday morning.
A good chunk of Nebraska players watched it. Nobody was happy about it.
“Oh yeah,” junior safety Kieron Williams said after the Huskers 27-22 win over Indiana on Saturday, “they laughed at us for five minutes. They couldn’t even get through the segment because it was so funny that we’re not a serious team.”
Kirk Herbstreit, who has called out Nebraska openly and its fans once already this season, was laughing as he argued Nebraska was back, while fellow analysts Desmond Howard and David Pollack questioned who Nebraska has played and why it would even be considered as one of the best teams in the country.
“I took that as disrespect to me and that was disrespect to this team and this coaching staff, to joke about us on national TV,” junior corner Chris Jones said after the game. “This win just shows, we’re not a team to play with this year.”
Nebraska is 6-0 for the first time since 2001. It’s the only remaining undefeated team in the Big Ten West and was one of just 11 teams in college football to enter Saturday undefeated.
The comments from GameDay bugged the team, clearly, and the main reason it got under some players’ skin might be because they don’t think their goals for this season are a joke.
“We’re not working our tails off to be in the Top 10,” senior quarterback Tommy Armstrong said. “We’re not working our tails off just to get to a point where we won more games than last year. We want to win every game. Every game is important to us.”
Ask every guy in the locker room, Armstrong said, and they’ll say the same thing. Their goals this season are simple: go undefeated, and win a national championship. And that’s not funny to them.
“It’s out there for us,” Armstrong said. “We gotta work for it.”
Armstrong has received a lot of heat as the quarterback during his four years in Lincoln, so he’s accustomed to the criticism. The main way he fights it? Winning.
“They can say what they want to say, 6-0 record don’t lie,” Armstrong said. “And if we keep going forward and keep winning, then what else can they say?”
The plan, Williams said, is to focus on Purdue with the best game plan they can, and win, and then go down the schedule and prove everyone wrong.
“Great teams win games,” Armstrong said. “That’s all I got to say.”