Northwestern coach Pat Fitzgerald calls it "the only lingering negative in our program."
And not that he has a complex about it, but he told media members that NU's nine-game bowl losing streak is something "you guys just love to talk about."
And: "We'll play a great team, and you guys aren't going to give us a chance and we're kinda cool with that."
Yup, the unpleasant topic brings out the "you guys" in Fitzgerald, who pitched his Wildcats to bowl officials Saturday after they improved to 9-3 by dismantling Illinois: "In my opinion, we made a very bold statement of a resume-building win for our postseason. We're a very hot football team right now and we very easily could be undefeated.
"Whatever destination we get, we'll be very thankful and privileged. Whoever makes the choice to bring the Wildcats down to their home will get a very hungry football team and a fan base that will support the community and spend a lot of money. That's my infomercial."
So where are the Wildcats headed?
Here are two scenarios:
If Nebraska beats Wisconsin in Saturday's Big Ten title game ...
Jan. 1 Rose Bowl (Pasadena): Nebraska (opponent: UCLA or Stanford).
Jan. 1 Capital One Bowl (Orlando): Michigan or Northwestern (probable opponent: Texas A&M, LSU, Georgia or South Carolina).
Michigan is the national brand, beat the Wildcats in overtime to go 6-2 in the Big Ten and have by far the highest-profile player on either team in Denard Robinson. But some committee members will push for Northwestern, citing NU's overall record (9-3 vs. 8-4), a solid ranking (22 in AP, 20 in coaches poll) and the fact that the Wildcats are coming off a dominant victory, while Michigan closed with a loss to rival Ohio State.
This bowl, formerly the Citrus, remembers how well Northwestern traveled to the 1997 game, bringing 21,000 fans. A 16-year gap indicates that NU fans again would flock to Orlando. Michigan fans have great memories of their last trip here, though: Lloyd Carr stunned Urban Meyer's Florida Gators in his Wolverines finale, on Jan. 1, 2008.
Jan. 1 Outback Bowl (Tampa): Michigan or Northwestern (probable opponent: Texas A&M, LSU, Georgia or South Carolina).
If Wisconsin beats Nebraska in Saturday's Big Ten title game ...
Rose Bowl: Wisconsin.
Capital One Bowl: Nebraska, Michigan or Northwestern.
Huskers fans would travel to Pluto to watch 7-on-7 drills, but the Capital One would be wary of inviting Nebraska after what would be a downer of a loss in Indianapolis. And would they travel to Orlando, where their team got shelled last year, losing 30-13 to South Carolina? Michigan or Northwestern would be the likely choice.
Outback Bowl: Nebraska, Michigan or Northwestern.
If Northwestern goes to Orlando, Nebraska (10-3) would get the call over Michigan (8-4) because of the Big Ten's one-win rule, which governs the Capital One and Outback. If Michigan heads to Orlando, the Outback would figure to take Nebraska, which beat Northwestern by one point and has never bowled in Tampa.
Gator Bowl: Nebraska, Michigan, Northwestern or Michigan State (likely opponent: Mississippi State).
Gator officials dig big-name schools, so they could take 6-6 Michigan State over Northwestern, probably leaving NU athletic director Jim Phillips with steam rising from his forehead. That would send the Wildcats to the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl in Tempe, Ariz., a Dec. 29 game.