The Cornhuskers' first-year head coach addresses the Iowa rivalry and how to make Big Red great again. Chad Leistikow, Hawk Central
Who knew that rooting for Scott Frost would involve something this cold?
But that's where fans of the 0-4 Nebraska football team find themselves in the Husker alumus' first season in charge.
One Iowa bar owner just across the Cornhusker State's eastern border is doing his best to (eventually) ease the pain.
Matt Johnson, a Hawkeyes fan and the proprietor of Barley's Bar in Council Bluffs, has stocked up a fridge full of Budweiser to give away to hardy Nebraska supporters who are sticking through the oh-so-rough times and to celebrate the ... well, you'd have to call it a momentous occasion now.
Nebraska lost its final four games in 2017, too (one of those was a 56-14 Iowa bashing in Lincoln last November). That eight-game skid overall is good for the second-longest slide in the country, behind just Texas-El Paso's 17-game run of futility.
When even your Big Ten Conference rival fans think you need a free beverage, that's when you know things are bad.
“As most great ideas come, they come after a few beers,” Johnson told the Omaha World-Herald. “A bunch of Iowa fans were talking about how fun it would be to do a Cleveland Browns style cooler.”
He's talking about the NFL team, of course, which broke a string of 18 winless games (there was a tie in there) two weeks ago with a 21-17 win over the New York Jets. Anheuser-Busch had dispatched fridges of free beer to disperse to the victory-starved Ohio masses that unlocked with that elusive win.
Johnson and his employees added their own nice touches. A "Forever Red" reminder adorns the backlit upper marquee of the fridge, and there's a greeting along its side:
In the spirit of being Iowa Nice, Barley’s is offering a gift to our neighbor who is hurting. Their once proud program can’t seem to win a game. When the Big Red ends the 2nd longest losing streak in the nation, enjoy some ‘Frosty’ cold beverages on us. #GBR #IowaNice
Johnson told the World-Herald he'd find a similar gesture sent in Iowa's direction funny, so he's hopeful Cornhusker fans are in the mood for a little gallows humor.
“It’s just fun banter back and forth,” he told the World-Herald. “We don’t get very many chances like this.”
They're likely in the mood for that win, though, more than the free drink. When will it come?
You certainly can't count on it this week against the Wisconsin Badgers, although Iowa fans rooting for a berth in the Big Ten title game would be all aboard for that development. Chances against Northwestern and Minnesota the following two weeks are possible, but certainly no guarantee.
The ultimate gimme game should come Oct. 27 in Lincoln against FCS opponent Bethun-Cookman. That's a makeup from the season-opening storms that canceled a game against Akron that also derailed Iowa State's first game of the year.
If not there, then who knows? If Nebraska is 0-11 come this Black Friday against the Hawkeyes, hell may have indeed frozen over.