By Brian McKim
In a not-so-surprising turn of events, the Nebraska Cornhuskers lost for the third straight game and the fifth time in six contests. The Big Red are currently 1-5 in the Big Ten and just 3-6 overall. Nebraska will have to win out against Ohio St., Wisconsin, and Iowa to become bowl eligible.
What is the answer? Is it time to consider firing Coach Frost? Is it time to bench Adrian Martinez (14/39 passing and four INTs)? Is it time for Nebraska to exercise its demons and get rid of the curse of Frank Solich?
Everyone has superstitions, but none are more prevalent than in the sports world. Some baseball players wear the same socks during a hot stretch, some football players wear the same shirt under their shoulder pads each week. Teams rub horseshoes for good luck as they exit the locker rooms.
What about curses? Are they real? In the sports world, they sure seem to have belief. Some people may recall the so-called curse of the Great Bambino, Babe Ruth. When Ruth was sold to the Yankees, Boston failed to win a World Series from 1919-2004. Meanwhile, during that time, New York won 27 World Series titles.
This brings me to what I refer to as the curse of Frank Solich. Coach Solich was at Nebraska from 1979 to 2003. He was part of three national championships and 11 conference crowns with Coach Tom Osborne. After the Husker’s last national title in 1997, Coach Osborne retired, turning over the program’s reigns to Solich.
Coach Solich guided the Big Red to six straight bowl games and a national title game against Miami in 2001. His Husker teams finished in the top-ten three times in six years and Solich was 58-19 at the time of his firing. Solich was named the 1999 Big 12 Coach of the Year when Nebraska won the Big 12 Championship.
2002 came along and Nebraska finished 7-7 (we’d kill for that about now). Solich won more games in the first six years (58) than Bob Devaney (53) or Osborne (55). After finishing the season with a 9-3 mark, Athletic Director Steve Pederson fired Solich, setting forth the next 19 years of mediocrity. Coach Solich went on to the Univerity of Ohio, where he was 115-82.
At Nebraska, Solich was 9-4, 12-1, 10-2, 11-2, 7-7 and 9-3. Hardly firable numbers by today’s standards.
The curse of Frank Solich is real. Nebraska had made a bowl appearance just 11 times since he was fired. Before that, the Big Red had been to 39 straight bowl games.
Bring Coach Solich back. Roll out the red carpet for him. Honor him at halftime. Let the crowd give him a standing ovation and let him wave back. Have a dinner the night before with old coaches and players. Recognize his accomplishments and thank him for all that he did for the program. Give him the going away party he deserved and still deserves.
Then and only then will the curse of Frank Solich be lifted. Then and only then can the Big Red return to the prominence it once had. Then and only then will the football gods be happy and all will be well again at Memorial Stadium.
What can it hurt?
Go Big Red.