Commentary: There’s no reason to miss the football game

By Chris Dertz

Tonight’s game against Toledo is not the biggest football game in the NIU football program’s history.

It’s not even close to being the biggest game in the last 10 years.

None of that is relevant, though, because it is the biggest game NIU has been involved in since I came onto campus in 2007.

I’m guessing that most of the student fan base is in the same boat. This is the first time that NIU’s record and schedule down the stretch gives them a legitimate shot at a MAC Championship berth.

Toledo, with its also-unblemished conference record, is the only thing standing in the Huskies’ way.

I want to issue a challenge to the NIU student body; I challenge you all to fill up Huskie Stadium tonight.

This isn’t because I want to see the football team have a huge home-field advantage, and it’s not because I want to advance the university’s interests by packing the stadium full.

It’s not because I want the program to look good on national television.

It’s because NIU students should not be allowed to call themselves sports fans if they don’t go to this game.

If you elect to go out, do your homework, play video games or just go to tailgate, you’re not a sports fan.

A real sports fan would be able to recognize this as one of the biggest possible moments they could experience as a fan of a mid-major university.

Oh yeah, they could experience it for free, too. The ticket office is on the south side of the tailgating field and will be open before the game.

The Huskies win this game, and the entire season’s landscape could change. NIU downs Toledo, and its path to Detroit for the MAC Championship game is set.

NIU downs Toledo, and the Huskies are suddenly sniffing the Top 25.

This is all without even mentioning that, on every NIU student’s admissions application, there is a box to check whether or not you hate Toledo football.

So go to the football game, for the love of everything. You don’t owe it to the football team, and you don’t owe it to the university.

You owe it to yourself.