David Schatz will settle into the couch for a bowl game on New Year’s Day, but won’t be watching his Huskers.
Nebraska didn’t make the cut for a bowl, but he’s excited about the next best thing: watching Scott Frost coach UCF in the Peach Bowl in Atlanta.
Schatz and other fans are making the 10th-ranked Knights’ matchup with No. 7 Auburn their bowl, giving them a chance to root for Nebraska’s new coach and get a look at the offense he’ll bring to Lincoln next season.
“That’s been like our adoptive bowl,” said Schatz, who lives in Omaha.
And some Husker fans who live in or around Georgia will attend the game. So don’t be surprised to see Husker red in the stands.
It’s unusual for Nebraska to miss a bowl game. Counting this year, NU has played in a bowl in all but three seasons since 1969, setting an NCAA record of 35 straight bowl appearances through 2003. There had been seasons when fans would plan on the Huskers not just landing a premier bowl, but playing for a national championship.
So to face the holidays without a bowl at all feels like the Grinch snatched a gift fans had come to expect at the end of every season. But a chance to watch Frost coach in the Peach Bowl provides at least a good stocking stuffer.
As fan Michael Fitzpatrick of Omaha put it: “The Huskers aren’t there, but a Husker is there.”
Troy Campbell is even planning a Peach Bowl watch party at his Omaha home.
He’ll be serving chicken wings, meatball subs and cheering on Frost and the Knights.
Fans won’t just be watching at home.
Omaha-area sports bars are expecting a good turnout for the Peach Bowl.
“They are excited to watch Scott Frost do his thing,” said Krystal Warren, a manager at Jerzes Sports Bar in Papillion.
Fans have had plenty of reasons to get excited about Frost. UCF’s 12-0 season helped make him one of the hottest coaching prospects in the country.
After weeks of hope and speculation among Husker fans, he was announced as NU’s new coach Dec. 2. Fans consider Frost, a Nebraska native and former Husker quarterback, a tough, hard-working coach who knows how to win. They like his roots in the state and say he understands the “Nebraska way.”
Campbell said that to him the Nebraska way means family, and unity.
He said he has no doubt that when Frost wraps up the Peach Bowl, one of his biggest goals will be pulling fans and his Husker players together.