Don’t let the football hype die next season

By Jacob Onak

It’s been a great couple seasons to be a football fan at NIU.

The MAC Championships, MAC West titles and even a BCS berth have seen the Huskie community come together, but it could all change.

Come next season, the Jordan Lynch talk will have ended, the Jimmie Ward big hits will be missing and football will have a challenging non-conference schedule that could hurt more than help.

I will be the first to admit I don’t have school spirit, but next season will separate the real fans from the bandwagon riders. And to be honest, I think the stellar attendance we have seen this year will drop. There may be less buzz around the team, and you will see more fans in the bars by halftime.

I’m not trying to knock the football team, as the last couple seasons have been a big deal and have helped put NIU on the map. I just don’t see it continuing.

I think the departure of Lynch will have a huge impact on the campus. How many times have we heard his name? For the past two seasons he has been the face of our school and has done an absolutely wonderful job.

His hardworking, blue collar attitude, ability to stay out of trouble and humbleness have made an impact on this community. Oh, and the kid can play.

But he’s gone. Who will be the player to take the reins, accept the pressure and step into those huge, fast-moving shoes? I don’t see anyone taking over, but to be fair, after Chandler Harnish left people weren’t sure if Lynch had the stuff to do it.

So to the backup QB’s, Matt McIntosh and Drew Hare, know I don’t envy either of you, but you can have that impact. And who knows? Maybe you will be doing it together as we really haven’t seen a true No. 2 this season.

But football is a team game, and the Huskies live and die together. It’s a good thing “the hard way” is their slogan because next season they are going to have to prove they can win without Lynch.

It won’t be impossible; if you’ve paid attention to the group this year, there will be a lot of returning talent.

So I have a message to the student body: Keep on supporting football because it’s going to translate in ways that go above even Athletics.

That support can change the reputation of the supposedly crime-filled DeKalb area, showing the town is a proud red and black, Huskie-loving community.

I hope most of you bandwagon fans stay on. I was never able to find a seat, and it’s a ride that deserves a chance.