Nebraska may be 60-1 at the Las Vegas Hilton, but the Huskers are even money with the crowd at Skinny Dugans.
"We draw some several hundred Nebraska people a game," said Bob Keck, who with co-owner and brother Fred has gladly turned over his popular pub on West Charleston and Arville to the Cornhuskers crowd for the past seven years.
The Kecks are from New York, so naturally Dugans has been a home for both the New York Giants and Jets. So how does Nebraska fit in with a pair of New Yorkers?
"I like Nebraska because of the fans," Bob said. "They are either from Nebraska or had gone to the university. We host the Nebraska club meetings and I would say about 500 members take part."
This is a transition year for the Huskers, removing Frank Solich in favor of former Oakland Raiders coach Bill Callahan. That means the end of the antiquated option run and the introduction of the West Coast offense to Lincoln despite a 10-3 record that included an Alamo Bowl win over Michigan State.
"Some of the fans were unhappy with the Solich firing, but others think we have a more competitive coach who will have us better prepared to play with Texas and Oklahoma," Keck said. "I know most of the execs are happy, and they’re the ones you want to please because they are active at the university."
For the eighth season, Dugans is ably equipped with an arsenal of TVs to be a perfect second home for Big Red fans.
"We sell Huskers hats and shirts, with the money going back to support the university and any other school in Nebraska," Keck said.
But there is no other school in Nebraska. In fact, there’s no other sports team in Nebraska.
"That’s true, everyone who likes Nebraska comes from there," Keck said. "The whole state stops when Nebraska plays football. And, that’s what their crowd brings to our place. We enjoy having them over each week. I think it’s going to be a big year."