Monday brought no shortage of clichés.
For Nebraska, coach Bo Pelini has no concerns about the possibility of his team overlooking Saturday’s game at Wyoming with a trip to Wisconsin looming.
For Wyoming, the Cornhuskers’ visit needs to be treated just like any other game, despite the fact that it is probably the most-hyped game in the history of War Memorial Stadium.
“It’s the next game on our schedule,” UW coach Dave Christensen said. “I’m not going to ride out on a horse in a knight-in-shining-armor deal and bite the head off a frog and throw it against the wall.
“It’s the biggest game on our schedule because it’s the next game. That’s the approach we take.”
It’s the approach they took before a trip to Texas and a home game against then-nonconference foe Boise State a year ago.
And it’s the same mentality that they had when a national title-contending Longhorns team came to Laramie in 2009.
“There’s not much difference,” UW senior linebacker Brian Hendricks said. “They’re a good team, but we prepare the same whether it’s a top-10 team or a Division II team.
“You just watch film, do the same old routine. I know I’m excited for the challenge. We all are.”
So are Wyoming fans.
For them, the game has been circled on the schedule since before the season began.
UW will bring in extra bleachers for a game that has long been sold out. Single-game tickets never even went on sale and the school sold nearly 11,000 season tickets, easily a record, in anticipation for Nebraska’s first trip to Laramie.
The players say none of that matters.
“The thing that I do is I tell myself, ‘It’s just about what happens on the field; it’s not about all the extra stuff around the game,’” UW senior offensive tackle Clayton Kirven said. “When it comes down to it, it’s how you play on the field and what happens there. Everything else is a bonus, but in the back of your mind you’ve got to push it away.”
The Cornhuskers have a similar task in front of them.
Nationally ranked and a preseason favorite to win the Big Ten in their first season in the league, they travel to Wisconsin next week in what figures to be a pivotal conference matchup.
First things first, Nebraska needs to survive its first road trip of the season.
“I don’t worry about our guys looking ahead,” Nebraska coach Bo Pelini said. “The one thing I think we do a good job around here is keeping our guys focused.”
Running back Rex Burkhead agreed that he and his teammates aren’t overlooking a 3-0 Wyoming team.
“They’re 3-0, so we definitely can’t look forward or it’s going to bite us in the butt,” he said.