The dark clouds of the college football apocalypse have settled in hard over Nebraska this week thanks to the Huskers getting taken behind the woodshed by the Wisconsin Badgers.
In just 42 brutal (and record setting) minutes of football at Camp Randall Stadium, all the anxiety, anguish, and rage that had been (mostly) contained by a (mostly) solid season finally breached the dam, causing all hell to finally break loose among Husker Nation.
Days later, the body blows and nut shots keep coming at Bo Pelini and the team. On Tuesday Omaha World Herald staff writer Dirk Chatelain administered an atomic purple nurple of his own by illustrating how Pelini’s D can be just as horrid as the unspeakable Kevin Cosgrove’s.
But the question we have is this: Would Husker Nation really have been any happier with a win at Wisconsin?
While the obvious, no duh answer is a resounding YES, there’s more to it than that.
Let’s take a journey to an alternate dimension where the Huskers came away with a victory over the Badgers.
In this wholly hypothetical game, we’ll pretend the Huskers won 31 – 17 with all the elements of a solid Husker victory being present and accounted for-
Tommy went 15/25 and 200 yards and 2TDs.
Ameer ran for 120 and a score of his own.
The Blackshirts added a TD off a scoop and score fumble recovery. AND held Melvin Gordon to under 300 yards rushing.
Drew Brown eased doubts with a 45 yard field goal right down Broadway.
A wave of jubilation immediately follows the game as two years of Badger induced shame and misery is released by the Husker faithful. It is a wholly cathartic moment. Tim Beck is a genius! We never doubted Bo Pelini’s system! The ink is barely dry on the requisite “The Skies the Limit for the Huskers” columns before the first seeds of doubt are planted.
It starts with a contrarian tweet here. A piss in your Cheerios Facebook post there.
Big deal. The Huskers beat a team that lost to Northwestern.
The Badgers scored 17. Plan on Ohio State doubling that- if we can get past Minnesota and Iowa.
Wake me when the Huskers’ biggest win isn’t against a barely ranked team with two bad losses.
We’re still not going to make the playoff.
Our win would have looked so much better if Miami could have held off Florida State.
A few hours later, a snarky column by a certain Omaha World Herald staff writer is published that pinpoints a dire Husker week spot- 2rd down inefficiency on running plays to the short side of the field with less than a minute remaining when going into the wind during the second quarter. It’s such a bizarre nit to pick that fans rally to the defense of the team and coaching staff, righting the good ship Husker Optimism.
And then the College Football Playoff rankings are released.
Even with a convincing victory and a strong Miami effort against Florida State, the Huskers are the lowest ranked one loss team hovering just outside the top 10 and well out of playoff range.
Those same fans who weren’t impressed with the win in the first place are suddenly full of rage at the level of disrespect shown to the Huskers and Big Ten. Angry emails are sent. Calls are made to sports talk shows. An old-timer writes his Congressperson demanding an investigation. Family vacations to Disney World are canceled in a vain effort to keep money out of SEC territory.
Even if the Huskers won out and finished the regular season 12 – 1, there’s a better chance a one loss TCU team (that doesn’t even have to play a conference championship game) would snag the final playoff spot leaving the Big Red out in the cold and f-ed in the drive-thru by Texas and the Big XII yet again. In the inaugural year of the College Football Playoff, Husker Nation would have set a high bar for what it means to be a butt hurt fan base.
On the flip side, there’s still a chance the Huskers could lose out and finish the year 8 – 5, snapping that streak of 9 win seasons that didn’t mean much anyway. Just imagine if that happened. That’s six or seven SOLID weeks of justified complaining. Without a September loss or leaked tape this season, that would really make up for lost time on the bitching front.
Long story short, if there’s one thing Husker fans love as much as finger banging their egos with a winning football team, it’s getting to piss and moan about a losing one.
As hard as it can be, just sit back and try to enjoy the ride.
It will be over before you know it.