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The Nebraska Cornhuskers represent the University of Nebraska–Lincoln in college football. The program has established itself as a traditional powerhouse, and has the fourth most all-time victories of any NCAA FBS team and is one of only eleven football programs in NCAA Division I history to win 800 or more games. The Cornhuskers have the most wins and the highest winning percentage of any college football program over the last 50 years. On June 11, 2010, Nebraska ended the university's affiliation with the Big 12 Conference and joined the Big Ten Conference beginning in the 2011 season.
Nebraska has claimed 46 conference championships and part or all of five national championships: 1970, 1971, 1994, 1995, and 1997. The titles in the 1990s marked the first time since Notre Dame in 1946–49 when a team won three national championships in four seasons. The 2011-2012 Alabama Crimson Tide, the 1994-1995 Nebraska Cornhuskers, and the 1956-1957 Oklahoma Sooners have the only consensus back-to-back national titles by Division 1-A schools.
The Nebraska Cornhuskers also have five undefeated seasons when they were not the national champions; 1902, 1903, 1913, 1914, and 1915. Between 1912 and 1916, a 34-game unbeaten streak was recorded by then head coach Ewald O. Stiehm.
Famous former Huskers include Heisman Trophy winners Johnny Rodgers, Mike Rozier, and Eric Crouch. Rodgers was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame and for the new millennium he was voted the team's "Player of the Century"; his Cornhusker jersey (No. 20) was retired. Rozier was likewise inducted into the hall in 2006. Other Husker players and coaches who are members of the College Football Hall of Fame include: Forrest Behm, Bob Brown, Guy Chamberlin, Sam Francis, Tommie Frazier, Rich Glover, Wayne Meylan, Bobby Reynolds, Dave Rimington, George Sauer, Will Shields, Clarence Swanson, Ed Weir, Grant Wistrom, and coaches Gomer Jones, Pete Elliott, Francis Schmidt, Dana X. Bible, Bob Devaney, Biff Jones, Tom Osborne, Eddie "Robbie" Robinson, and Fielding H. Yost.
Nebraska's football team began its history as the "Old Gold Knights", and was also sometimes known as the "Nebraska Bugeaters," "Tree Planters", "The Rattlesnake Boys", "Antelopes" or "Hawkeyes" in their early years.
Nebraska football began play in 1890 with a 10–0 victory over the Omaha YMCA on Thanksgiving Day, November 27.
The football program started strong and experienced success from the very beginning, going twenty-eight years straight with only a single losing season. Until the 1-7-1 losing season in 1899 in coach A. Edwin Branch's only year at the helm, Nebraska had compiled a 40-18-3 (0.680) record.
George Flippin was the first African-American athlete at Nebraska and only the fifth black athlete at a predominantly white university. Because of Flippin's presence on the roster, Missouri refused to play a scheduled game with Nebraska at Omaha in 1892. The result was a 1-0 forfeit.
Nebraska's 4th coach, Frank Crawford (1893–94, 9-4-1, 0.679) was the first paid head football coach at Nebraska. Eddie "Robbie" Robinson (1896–1897, 11-4-1, 0.719) and Fielding H. Yost (1898, 8-3-0, 0.727), the sixth and seventh head coaches, were the earliest Nebraska coaches to eventually be inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame. Walter C. Booth (1900–05, 46-8-1, 0.845) was the program's 9th leader, and had the second-best career record spanning more than a year during this era. His 1902 team went undefeated, untied and unscored upon. Booth's teams produced a 24-game winning streak and was still bested by Ewald O. Stiehm (1911–15, 35-2-3, 0.913), who won the conference title in all five of his seasons and had a school-record 34-game unbeaten streak. His winning percentage as Nebraska's 12th head coach remains an all-time program best. The Cornhuskers were considered to play in the Rose Bowl game after the 1915 season, but the university's athletic board voted to turn down any such invitation. Stiehm left NU after the 1915 season because the university turned down his demand that he be paid an annual salary of $4,250 to serve as football coach, basketball coach and athletic director.