HACKED! Never Trust a USC Fan to Feed Your Cats

The next time USC and the Huskers square off, you can make darn sure Husker Nation will get its revenge, both on the field and in the cyberspace.

Much like Pelini getting caught on tape not once but twice, we made a pair of fatal errors in the days leading up to the Holiday Bowl.

1. We entrusted our dear neighbor, who happens to be a longtime USC season ticket holder, with the care and feeding of our cats which means he had a key to our house.

2. The iPad we thought was in our carry-on bag was left behind on the dining room table and said iPad had no sort of security code enabled.

CONRAD BANE
Human pun machine, devious prankster. Our dear neighbor as Conrad Bane on Halloween.

Knowing  how our dear neighbor operates, he probably discovered that iPad was ripe for the pillaging on day one but like Lane Kiffin patiently awaiting his next firing, he laid like a Pete Carroll in the grass for the perfect time to strike.

Which for him, was the hours leading up to the Holiday Bowl.

Clearly, he didn’t remember the time we sat next to him at the Coliseum and acted as his rock and shoulder to cry on when Notre Dame dismantled and demoralized his sacred Trojans in 2012 during their run to BCS Championship Game.

Then again, maybe he remembered we still owe him for the ticket.

Then again, we still haven’t forgotten about the bushel of carrots and gallon of dip he ate when we had him over for the 2007 edition of USC vs Nebraska.

Here’s how it all went down…

Gotta give our dear neighbor credit. He nailed USC’s winning score on his opening tweet.

Let the record show, this is the first time in history the word fine has preceded the phrase Ohio tail.

We have no idea what the symbolism is supposed to be here.

 Worst part of getting an HJ from Rosie Perez? She’d still be able to talk.

While our dear neighbor claims to have never visited Nebraska, he clearly shows an intimate knowledge of East Campus Greek life.

But was $3 million enough to ensure victory for the Hanckensack Bulls of Los Angeles?

Hickory dickory dock, Shawn Eichorst was sucking Harvey Perlman’s…

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Holiday Bowl Recap: The Pelini Era Goes Down To The Wire

It was only fitting that the seven years of the Bo Pelini era at Nebraska remained a thrill ride down to the last damn second.

In a Holiday Bowl match up against USC that very few pundits gave the Huskers any chance of winning, the Big Red showed up ready to play and ready to honor their departed and beloved coach.

There would be no Hail Mary magic this time around but the stage was set for amazing irony when Holiday Bowl officials put a final second back on the clock after a review proved Kenny Bell scrambled out of bounds with a tick to spare on the penultimate play.

While the record books will say the Huskers came up three points short, those guys played their hearts out and Pelini’s remaining staff proved their mettle on the sidelines. Every single one of them gave a reason for Husker Nation to stay proud.

Nebraska USC Stat Line
Nebraska handled USC except for where it mattered the most.

The result of their efforts was arguably the most Pelini like game of the past seven years and it was the only one that had Bo watching from parts unknown.

Explosive plays, mind boggling miscues, clutch defensive stops, a momentary sideline meltdown thanks to Coach Kaz, and a never say die attitude- all the signature elements of a Pelini lead team were present and accounted for.

Kenny Bell Touchdown
Kenny Bell added one more touchdown reception to his record-setting Husker career.

Three out of the Huskers’ four losses this season ended with Nebraska still in position to win at the very end. While the near-miss 19 point 4th quarter rally against Michigan State will be hard to ever top, Nebraska didn’t flinch when down 45 – 27 with 2:24 left to play in the 3rd quarter.

Instead, the Red Storm responded with a big score of their own, a 65 yard #TommyBomb to Jordan Westerkamp barely a minute later. Offensive Coordinator Tim Beck never strayed from his playbook or his quarterback.

Tommy Armstrong vs Cody KesslerThanks unwavering confidence and the stone hands of the USC secondary, Tommy Armstrong ended the night with a better stat line than Cody Kessler. As Mike Purrriley pointed out, the Blackshirts held a 70% career passer to under 60%.

As the game transitioned from shoot out to  heavyweight slug fest in the 4th quarter, we did our best to just sit back and enjoy the final twists and turns of the Pelini roller coaster. The Huskers had nothing and everything at stake in their final 15 minutes of their season and, for some, their careers at Nebraska. Playing for just for the sake of playing is when any sport is at its most pure.

While the 4th and 3 that came up short and effectively ended the Huskers’ chances at winning will go down as one final boneheaded move by Tim Beck in the eyes of many arm chair coordinators, we have to say the call was sound, if not for the logic but for the symbolism.

With USC no doubt keying in on Abdullah (save for that defender locked in on DPE like a heat seeking missile), giving the ball to anyone but Ameer wasn’t bad entirely bad thinking. Instead of being furious that Ameer was lead blocker on the play, think of it as a Husker legend paving the way for a future Husker legend.

And if it makes you feel any better, USC did the same thing in the 2006 BCS Championship against Texas. Facing a critical 4th and 2 with 1:49 remaining, temporary Heisman winner Reggie Bush stood on the sidelines as LenDale White (who fumbled on the previous play) was stuffed by the Longhorn defense.

The Huskers may have closed out the Pelini era with a loss but the future is bright.

Just wait ’til next year.

Go Big Red.

NOTES:

Like everyone else, we were pretty far off base with our prediction.

“Honestly, this game could go either way with a blowout for either team being the most likely outcome. It’s hard to imagine the Holiday Bowl going down to the wire so we’re gonna stick with our way early prediction of a 38 – 17 Husker victory.

We are so dumb.

Apparently Mike Riley left after the third quarter with a tuckered out grandson on his shoulder. Even by flaky Dodger fan standards, that’s leaving awfully early.

Someone please tell him that in Nebraska it’s still socially acceptable to leave your grandchild locked in the car as long as you leave the radio on and crack the window.

If the 2 point conversion to Kenny Bell looked familiar, it’s because you saw Nebraska win at Michigan State in 2012 with the exact same play.

Finally, does anyone know this guy?

Drunk Nebraska Fan

Kudos to him for keeping it classy and making sure Nebraska stays relevant to Deadspin now that Pelini is gone.

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Song Girls vs Scarlets: Your Holiday Bowl Preview

It’s fitting that the epilogue to the crashed and burned Bo Pelini era at Nebraska will be written on the same field as his career’s finest moment- the 2009 Holiday Bowl.

Pacific+Life+Holiday+Bowl+Nebraska+v+Arizona+Bo+Pelinil
Things would only be downhill from here for Bo Pelini.

What followed that 33 – 0 victory over the Arizona Wildcats was the most hopeful time of Pelini’s seven seasons at Nebraska. It was the perfect salve to the one more second debacle against Texas and had Husker fans licking their chops at a run for a National Championship in 2010.

That season began with the Huskers ranked #8 in the polls and unknown redshirt freshman Taylor Martinez lined up in the shotgun at quarterback. His jaw dropping speed lead the Huskers to a 5 and 0 start and a national coming out party for Martinez in a Thursday night match up against Kansas State on ESPN.

Nine days later, the wheels would fall off the Big Red Express when the unranked and hated Texas Longhorns  came to Lincoln and left with a 20 – 13 victory. In that game, the Huskers’ offense was absolutely stuffed with the lone touchdown coming off a 95 yard return of a pooch punt late in the game by Eric Haag. Martinez was benched as senior and 2009 starter Zac Lee entered the game for a rare appearance.

In retrospect, all the the negative aspects that would be a hallmark of Pelini’s tenure bloomed on that day.
Texas Commentary
(Screengrab via Huskermax.)

A month later, Pelini’s temper would take the national stage as he gave Martinez the ass-reaming of his life against Texas A&M. By Sunday night Martinez was already enrolled at UCLA (if message boards were to be believed).

A month after that, Martinez and the Huskers limped through a 19 – 7 loss against Washington in the Holiday Bowl- the same Huskies team that Nebraska destroyed 56 – 21 back in September.

Fast forward four years. Taylor Martinez is a mobile game developer and budding real estate agent (thanks for the hook up, Uncle Warren) and Bo Pelini has packed up for the gloomy pastures of his native Youngstown, Ohio.

At the helm for the Huskers in Saturday’s Holiday Bowl is the much maligned Barney Cotton. After the game, he’ll leave the Huskers (for a second time) for his new gig as UNLV’s Offensive Coordinator. With the exception of John Garrison and Charlton Warren, the futures for the rest of Pelini’s staff are up in air. The seniors have one final game together and the underclassmen will likely finish their careers as Mike Riley’s players.

About the only thing left for the Huskers to play for is pride. Pride for their team. Pride for their teammates. Pride for their coaches who deemed them worthy of playing for Nebraska.

Pride can be a dangerous weapon, especially with a healthy Husker squad and an offensive coordinator off his leash.

Scouting Report: USC started the 2014 season with a 52 – 13 win over Fresno State. Two weeks later, the Huskers muzzled the Bulldogs 55 – 19 while USC lost on the road to Boston College 37 – 31. The Trojans’ three other losses came at the hand of Arizona State, Utah, and UCLA. Their crosstown showdown was the only game the Trojans lost by more than a touchdown, falling to the Bruins 38 – 20, a game in which the USC defense got flustered and all but gave up in the second half.

The Trojans’ most notable wins of the season came against Stanford, Arizona on the road, and a 49 – 14 punch out of the Fighting Irish at home. In case you’re wondering, they did beat Mike Riley’s Beavers 35 – 10 in LA. Like the Huskers, the Trojans have the potential to run with anyone- if they can harness it.

The Trojan offense is lead by junior Quarterback Cody Kessler. He can sling the ball but he isn’t exactly fleet of foot having “rushed” 52 times for -149 yards. On the season, he’s been sacked 30 times.

An immobile quarterback has to have Defensive Coordinator John Papuchis licking his chops, right?

John Papuchis
Confidence is high for Papuchis.

USC may have the better team on paper but the reality is there is truly only one edge the Trojans have on the Huskers heading into the Holiday Bowl.

Song Girls vs Scarlets
Sorry, Scarletts. All the glitter in the world is no match for the simple white sweaters that are a trademark of the USC Song Girls.

And that’s about all the “serious” preview you’ll get from us.

In our defense,  we did reach out to our friend Mick, an LAPD Sergeant and quite possibly the Trojans biggest fan. Seriously, he’s “The Dude” of USC football right down to his tattoo of Tommy Trojan holding the severed head of Notre Dame’s mascot whilst standing on the beaten pulp of UCLA’s Bruin.

This is the entire transcript of our chat.

Hey Mick-

What is your prediction for the Holiday Bowl and who are the USC players the Huskers need to watch out for?

Let me know and I’ll quote you in my preview for my site www.bigredfury.com

Mick- We ARE.. SC! Beat the Huskers!

Before we even had a chance to even think of being offended by such an epic brush off, we realized Mick had to already be in San Diego making his tailgate preparations and had no such time for silly questions. We’ve been his guest at USC games a few times over the years and aren’t kidding when we say he’ll show up at 6am to stake out his tailgate spot for a game that doesn’t start until 7pm.

MICK_TODD
Mick and your humble author at the 2006 edition of USC vs Nebraska.

Ideal Scenario: The Huskers close out the Bo Pelini era with a bold exclamation point with a fun and dominating performances on both sides of the ball reminiscent of the 2000 Alamo Bowl- arguably the Big Red’s most fun bowl game of the 21st century. A Kenny Bell to Ameer Abdullah touchdown pass would be absolute gravy.

Look for Tim Beck to empty his playbook with enough #TommyBombs to reenact Operation Linebacker I and II. That is of course when Ameer isn’t running wild on the Trojan defense.

On the other side of the ball, Randy Gregory and Jack “The Beastmaster” Gangwish will pin their ears back and give Cody Kessler a late Christmas gift of a world of pain. USC may get a couple of deep balls early but don’t be surprised when Papuchis stays calm under pressure and readjusts once he realizes no one is going to scream at him on the sideline.

Honestly, this game could go either way with a blowout for either team being the most likely outcome. It’s hard to imagine the Holiday Bowl going down to the wire so we’re gonna stick with our way early prediction of a 38 – 17 Husker victory.

Over/Under on Angry Bo Close Ups: 3 — ESPN will surely start the game with a montage of Bo’s “finest” moments.

Question That Needs an Answer: Will Barney Cotton finish his Cornhusker head coaching career undefeated?

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EXCLUSIVE: USC Staffer Hopes Trojans Beat Huskers

Greetings from the Waffle House clogged bowels of SEC country!

While we’re traveling cross-country on Christmas Eve, we stumbled across an incredible scoop. A scoop that none of the mainstream media was even close to sniffing out because: A) it was 8am and B) none of them were posted up at LAX.

Are you ready for it? Make sure you’re sitting down before you read any further because this scoop is bulldozer sized:

On our flight from LAX –> ATL were staff members from USC and Alabama.

Here’s how it played out in real-time two days ago:

In LA, you’d never see anyone dressed head to toe in team gear all the way down to embroidered roller bags unless they were affiliated with said team. Gotta give ‘Bama guy bonus points for going Southern Preppy with a cardigan over this Crimson Tide t-shirt. Outside of the South, Southern Preppy = metro sexual and is a bold choice.

Neither our pals Dirk or Sean offered any tips.

Here’s Tee and Marques along with a stonewashed Peyton Manning.
Peyton Manning Tee Martin Marques Tuiasasopo
If you recall, both Tee and Marques know what it’s like to get shellacked by the Cornhuskers.

Note how intently USC guy is reading his new Sports Illustrated with cover boy Marcus Mariota.

Here’s the transcript of our chat:
BRF: You guys feeling good about the Holiday Bowl?
USC GUY: Yeah.
BRF: Think you can beat Nebraska?
USC GUY: Hope so!
BRF: Good luck!

Also, it’s cute that USC guy and ‘Bama guy got to sit together. While it may seem odd, if you’ve ever seen college coaches in airports, they tend to roam in packs.

Be sure to follow us on Twitter for more exclusives and other semi-witty banter and observations.

RANDOM CHRISTMAS DINNER OBSERVATIONS: With in-laws from Tennessee, Alabama, and Georgia at the dinner table, the consensus was that Nebraska was crazy to a consistent nine win coach even with his history of “transgressions.”

On the flip side, they all thought it was hilarious that Barney Cotton was given the reins for the Holiday Bowl. Of course the hilariousness only kicked in after we explained Barney’s status among the Husker fan base.

They really got a kick out of this video:

We hope you all had a wonderful holiday.

RANDY GREGORY'S CHRISTMAS CARD
Randy Gregory’s Christmas card.

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CONTEST: Mike Check – Is It Mike Hill or Mike Riley?

Imagine this very real scenario:

You are strolling a public area in Lincoln or Omaha, say the Haymarket or the Old Market when you notice a slim and fit man with steely eyes and nicely trimmed side hair framing a gloriously reflective chrome dome.

People wave to him, and say, “Hey Mike, how ya doing?”

He replies, “Just fine. Thanks for asking.”

Somebody else shouts, “You ever gonna pick out the rest of your assistant coaches?”

That question only gets a funny stare in return. Then, finally, an answer.  “I think you’ve mistaken me for Mike Riley. I’m Mike Hill.”

Who’s that, you ask?

Before the new “Most Important Man in Nebraska” ever set foot in our great state, his doppelgänger (and first-name-ganger, and birth-year ganger — both men are 61-years-old) Mike Hill was cranking out Oscar-worthy editing jobs for Ron Howard. The two have been working together since the cult classic Night Shift. Classics such as Splash, Cocoon, Parenthood, Backdraft, and The Da Vinci Code  all came together under Hill’s expert sensibility. A Beautiful Mind, Cinderella Man, and Frost/Nixon all garnered Oscar nominations. In 1996, he earned his field’s highest honor when he took home Academy Award for his work on Apollo 13.

For those of you whose eyes are now glazed over from having read an entire paragraph without mention of Husker football, here is a gridiron analogy for you. So accomplished is Mike Hill in his chosen profession that, if he were a college football coach, his team would have played in the BCS Championship in 2002, 2006 and 2009 and would have won a pre-BCS era National Title in 1996.

Not too shabby eh? It’s too bad that Mike Hill is not the current coach of the Nebraska Cornhuskers.

Or is he?

You be the judge. We’ve assembled a gallery of photos. Some are of Mike Riley. Others are of Mike Hill. Your job is to pick out which Mike is which.

Please write your answers in the comment box below. All who guess correctly will be entered to win the Grand Prize of…
Sacred Husker Nacho PlateThe Sacred Husker Nacho Plate

This rare, handcrafted gem is a true Big Red Fury heirloom. Our dear mother would kill us if she knew it was up for grabs. The Sacred Husker Nacho Plate is in absolutely pristine condition and would be a marvelous addition to any Husker fan’s collection.

Good luck.

Hill or Riley Round 1 Round 2 Round 3THE FINE PRINT: The winner will be drawn at random among all eligible entries on 12/31/14, unless of course the Holiday Bowl is such a debacle we end up getting blackout drunk and do some very bad things that lead to our incarceration. If that is the case, winner will be drawn upon elease and/or making bail.

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Guest Post: Nick Allen’s Husker Coaching Staff Wish List

Here’s our first ever guest post courtesy of Omaha based stand up comic and huge Husker fan Nick Allen. If you’re in the Big O over the holidays, you can catch Nick at The Funny Bone December 26th – 28th.

Take it away Nick Allen…

As Nebraska Cornhuskers coach Mike Riley puts his staff together, here’s a breakdown where we’re at so far and what we’d like to see. And by we, I mean me, because this is my coaching dream team.

We’ll begin with the confirmed hires:

Defensive Assistant Mark Banker
Has never surrendered 56 unanswered points to Wisconsin.
Trusted confidant of new Head Coach Mike Riley (just typing Mike Riley again to get used to it).
Has never given up 70 points to Wisconsin.
Mark Banker
Editor’s note:  Let’s not forget he held Wisconsin to 35 yards rushing in 2012. And that wasn’t just on a single play but the ENTIRE game.
Editor’s note: Dude looks like Mark Harmon!
Editor’s note: Never forget that Mark Harmon beat the Huskers.

LB Coach Trent Bray
Tough to take a guy named Trent seriously but let’s give Riley the benefit of the doubt.
Probably got laid pretty easily in Corvallis (OSU hero), but left that behind for the uncharted waters of Lincoln.
Has never been a golf coach.
Trent Bray

OL Coach Mike Cavanaugh
Gnarly old/slightly overweight white dude.
More rock of the earth than salt of the earth.
Swears repeatedly on OSU promoted coaching clip.

QB Whisperer Mike Riley
Track record of sending QB’s that no one can name to the NFL.
An actual QB coach.
An actual QB coach.
Mike Riley

Secondary Coach Charlton Warren
Only confirmed retention of Pelini’s staff.
Good recruiter.
Hated Pelini’s fake cat.
Could probably land the team jet in case the crew gets sick from the in-flight meal.
Captain Charlton Warren

Special Teams Coordinator Bruce Reed
Currently building his own office.
Already has a huge man crush on De’Mornay Pierson-El.
Hopefully has the stones to block a kick or two.
BRUCEREAD-OSU

Filling out the rest of the staff:

Athletic Director Shawn Eichorst says resources are not an issue. This list assumes that is true.

Defensive Coordinator Mike Ditka
Leader of the 1985 Chicago Bears.
Politics aren’t as bad as Ron Brown‘s
Proves that while you may need a pill to get your dick up, if you have a legit mustache you’re never a pussy.
Mike Ditka

Defensive Line Coach Ndamukong Suh
Single-handedly cost Colt McCoy the Heisman Trophy.

Stomped on the opposing coach’s kid while rumbling for a touchdown.

The Blackshirts need an attitude.
He’s a free agent at the end of the season.

Offensive Coordinator Bill Callahan
Head Coach of a Super Bowl team. Granted, it was a game mired in controversy but you live and learn, right?
Called Oklahoma fans “fucking hillbillies.”
Message boards would explode.
Bill Callahan

Wide Receivers Coach Terrell Owens (T.O. 2.0)
Great receiver.
Needs the money.
Makes Mike Riley less boring.
Could probably still play the college level.
Terrell Owens

Running Backs Coach Christian Okoye
The Nigerian Nightmare looks good in red.
Won a collegiate hammer throwing title.
Brings serious Tecmo Bowl clout.

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In Bashing Pelini On Class, Omaha World-Herald Shows None

Dear Omaha World-Herald:

You got the exclusive, you got your story. It’s over. Stop beating the dead horse. Stop dancing on the grave. For your own good and your remaining credibility, drop the mic and walk away.

Or, you could fire off the same tweets over and over and over again.

Since unveiling the actual audio recording last night, this is what your twitter feed has looked like.

All “rules” about Twitter both written and unspoken have apparently been thrown out the window.

Look at your time stamps, three tweets in three minutes?

Three ICYMI tweets in the span of four hours?

Do y’all need a social media coach?  Believe it or not, that has become a very real profession and it looks like you could stand to use a lot of help.

For the love of Bob Devaney, just let it go, Omaha World-Herald.

It was painful but even Rose was able to let Jack’s corpse fall to the bottom of the Atlantic.

Titanic Jack And RoseJust let it go, Omaha World-Herald. Just let it go.

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Vaya con dios, Bo Pelini. Shine On You Crazy Diamond.

To the surprise of everyone and no one, Bo Pelini planted one last parting gift during his final meeting with his former Husker team.

While his final soliloquy reads like a scorched earth rant rivaling the final shoot out in the Wild Bunch, the actual recording (listen here) reveals a surprisingly measured and rational Pelini who almost sounds Osborne-like, except for the unfortunate c-word dropping instead of a folksy dag-nab-it.

It was no doubt a calculated and deliberate move by the Omaha World-Herald to release the recording hours after the transcript, which allowed plenty of time for pitchforks to be sharpened and tar to be warmed and don’t-let-the-door-hit-you-on-the-way-out columns to be written.

Granted, there’s always the chance it took the World-Herald a solid eight hours to figure out a way to upload audio onto their site as they have a history of not being the most technically capable crew.

If you don’t think what they did was intentional, notice how Omaha World-Herald staff writer Dirk Chatelain stayed up past midnight (the time stamps on his tweets are PT) to defend his work to those important enough to warrant a response.

Omaha World-Herald staff writer Dirk Chatelain doesn’t like it when national writers with 10x the audience poo-poo his exclusives.

According to the logic of Omaha World-Herald staff writer Dirk Chatelain, Bo was still an employee of a state university despite being fired and if the meeting was held at a private school, nothing would have been revealed.

Former kicker Pat Smith (thanks again for winning the Penn State game!)  feels the same way.

OK, let’s get back to Bo.

Could he have taken the the proverbial high road and kept things classy during his final meeting? Yes.

But is Bo a guy a who has proven himself to be a classy (in the buttoned up Nebraska way) kind of guy? Not exactly.

He’s always struck me as the sort who’d go play pinball just to get pissed off. (Even if you get on a roll, you never leave a pinball table a winner.)

Pelini’s hair trigger temper and fiery demeanor, while out of place in Nebraska, is borderline normal behavior in certain parts of the country. Get stuck in an elevator for 10 minutes with someone from Pittsburgh, Boston, or Providence and you’ll learn 38 new swear words by the time the doors open.

In his mind, his exit speech was A-OK. And you gotta give the guy some kudos for having the stones to say what he really had on his mind and strutting across a burning bridge with a take this job and shove it attitude. For many people in stuck in miserable jobs, a move like that was a fantasy come to life.

Pelini’s time in the Cornhusker State has always reminded me of The Experts, a movie that was the absolute rock bottom of John Travolta’s career, Wild Hogs included.  The premise is that two hip New Yorkers go to Nebraska to help open a night club. Turns out Travolta and his buddy were roofied and whisked to communist Russia where a secret Mayberry-like town that grooms spies is in need of an update with 1990 fast approaching.

If there’s one thing that stupid movie got right about “Nebraska,” it’s the way the locals closely watch an outsider’s every move. (Yes, that is a broad, generalizing stereotype but there is some decent truth to it- especially if you’ve ever been chased out of a neighboring town. Looking at you, Hastings.)

With Pelini on his way back to his people, it’s time to bring his story to a close and move on for good. He got his final shot, Dirk got his and we innocent bystanders got one hell of a show.

Bo Pelini Holding a Baby
No matter what, we’ll always have the good times.

Best of luck, Bo. We sincerely mean that. Come hell or high water, you are man who sticks to what you believe in and stay loyal till the end. Those are two traits that are hard to hate on.

Here’s hoping Jim Tressel gives you plenty of hugs and invites you to lunch on the reg. And may your loving wife find it in her heart to un-cockblock you before this decade is over.

The c-word.

Really?

You had to go there?

One final note: can the secret recordings please come to an end under Mike Riley? That is a spineless and dickless move. If you’ve got a secret to tell the world, take the advice of this semi-anonymous blog and man up and share it yourself.

Or better yet, have the integrity to recognize that if you’re trusted with a secret, honor that trust and don’t tell it.

In the immortal words of the Wu-Tang Clan, word is bond.

And snitches get stitches.

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Bo Pelini Pulls a Kenny Powers, Returns Home to Youngstown

It’s official. Bo Pelini is relocating his beloved Panty Dropper from Holmes Lake to the smooth currents of the Mahoning River.

Bo Pelini Panty Dropper
Coach Pelini pauses during one last spin around Holmes Lake to contemplate where it all went wrong.

In a move that went from flatly denied rumor to stone cold reality in the span of a week, Bo Pelini has been confirmed as the next head coach of the Youngstown State Penguins.

Pelini Youngstown State
Even we could have figured out how Photoshop the N from Pelini’s hat. It might have taken a YouTube tutorial or five but we would have found a way.

If you paid at least 10 minutes worth of attention to Husker football over the past seven years, then it’s been beaten into your skull that Pelini is a native son of Youngstown, Ohio.

Since he graduated from The Ohio State University back in 1990, the population of Youngstown has plummeted by over 30,000 leaving this rust belt hamlet a battered shadow of its former self. With just over 65,000 residents today, Youngstown is little more than half the size it was when Pelini spent his summers painting houses with the Stoops brothers. And that’s a gig most likely in very low demand as Youngstown boasts a vacant housing rate over 20 times higher than the national average.

For more on the history of the Steel City, we turn to Bruce Springsteen, who, as you know, played a sold-out show at Youngstown’s Stambaugh Auditorium back in 1996.

While on the surface, it looks like Pelini decided that slumming it down in the FCS was as good a ticket as any to get the hell out of Lincoln, we’re genuinely excited for the guy, his new team, and his hometown because this whole scenario is the perfect set up for a goddamn Disney movie.

Then again, we are talking about Bo so Kenny Powers might be the better parallel.

BPKP GYM CLASS

Watch this video and think Bo Pelini every time Kenny Powers refers to himself in the third person and the move to Youngstown will all make sense.

Is Bo Pelini a champion or a has-been who was lucky to wash up back home coaching a glorified intramurals team with a guy in a sweater vest watching his every move?
Cutler and Jim Tressel
Powers had Terrance Culter as his boss. Pelini will have Jim Tressel. 

We’ll find out next September when Pelini’s Penguins head down I-76 to take on Steve Pedersen’s Pitt Panthers.

It will be a game that should have even his biggest haters pulling for him.

Best of luck, Coach Pelini. We’ll be looking forward to seeing you and the Penguins playing on the OCHO.

One final note: If you’re like us and felt compelled to shop for Youngstown State gear, you have to click View all 500+ NCAA teams on Fanatics.com.

Screen Shot 2014-12-16 at 11.21.25 PM

Then, to save you the hassle of scrolling through all 500+ teams, just go directly to the end of the list. Youngstown State is the very last team.

Fanatics 1

But as of yesterday, they’re suddenly a sentimental number two in our hearts.

 

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As Christmas Approaches, are Husker Fans Seeing Ghosts of Seasons Past?

If you’ve had a nagging sense of deja vu over the last few weeks, our friend, Tony, has a theory as to why.

Consider the following uncanny similarities between the end of the season in 2003 and the end of 2014:

On November 30th, Nebraska fires a coach that just finished a 9-3 season, dividing Husker fan loyalties. (At least until a secret recording was made public.) The head coach of Arkansas obfuscates the coaching search for personal gain. A coach from the West Coast with a good recruiting acumen and an NFL pedigree is hired and many wonder if he’s good enough for Nebraska. The former coach returns to his home state of Ohio to coach a lesser conference/division school.

Spooky, isn’t it?

But what does it mean? Is Husker Nation trapped inside of some kind of time loop with the only way out being our ability to repeat our actions in an exact synchronized ballet?

If we fail to break the cycle, does that mean Mike Riley is the second coming of — DEAR GOD! BILL CALLAHAN?!?!?!

Page_1

We sincerely hope not.

Before we all throw the panic switch, we should also acknowledge the many differences so far displayed between the events of 2003 and 2014.

First and foremost, the number of days Shawn Eichorst spent searching for the new “most important man in Nebraska” was FIVE.

The number of days it took Steve Pederson to pin down Bill Callahan was FORTY ONE.

Eichorst clearly had a contingency for replacing a relatively successful, if frustratingly plateaued, head coach. Pederson, not so much.

NCAA head coaching experience.

While both Riley and Callahan had brief stints as NFL head coaches, only Riley has had extensive time coaching a Division 1 football team before landing at Nebraska. Riley clearly knows what it takes to run a college program and he will not try to force an NFL template over it — as Callahan did. Respect for long-held traditions such as the vaunted walk-on system should stay intact under Riley. Whereas under Callahan, the walk-ons were encouraged to keep on walking, right out of the program.

No square pegs for round holes.

Does anybody remember October 9, 2004? If that date doesn’t jog your memory, maybe it’s because you, as a Husker fan, have repressed that date as a natural defense trigger. There’s nothing wrong if you do. That’s just the PTSD doing its thing.

October 9, 2004 happens to be the day that the Bill Callahan era of Husker football made its conference road trip debut. In Lubbock, Texas.

Ringing a bell now? Yep, this was the 10 – 70  loss to the Red Raiders that started those first few whispers in Lincoln. The same voices that would grow into a cacophony of discontent by mid-season 2007. The voices saying:

“What the fuck have we gotten ourselves into!”

But, while that embarrassing score looks horrific on paper (it’s still the largest margin of loss in the post Osborne era, despite so many other blowout debacles), what some people forget is that this game was far from looking like a blow out mid-way through the third quarter.

Trailing 21-3 at half time, Nebraska opened the third quarter with a 74-yard touchdown pass from Joe Dailey to Mark LeFlore. Down by less than two touchdowns, Nebraska’s defense gave the Huskers a chance to get back into the game by holding Tech scoreless on their next two possessions.

Everything looked in place for a respectable performance (if not a win) against a formidable conference opponent at their house.

So what happened? How did the following 19 minutes produce a 60-point final deficit? Callahan pulled Joe Dailey from the game as punishment for not being able to master his West Coast offense in half a season. Dailey was 14 of 34 in passing for 187 yards with one interception. Not bad for a kid who’d been recruited to run the option. But not good enough for Callahan.

Wise old Bill took out Joe and put in Beau Davis, a freshman who knew even less about running the West Coast offense than Daily. Davis finished the game with four completions. Three of which went to Red Raiders.

With three consecutive picks setting up three easy touchdowns, the Husker defense folded and let Tech (now up 42-10 going into the fourth) pound in four more touchdowns in the final period.

If Bill Callahan had not tried to force an option team to learn his uber-complicated West Coast Offense right out of the gate, the 5-6 2004 Huskers probably would have finished with a respectable eight or nine win season. The schedule that year was certainly no beast (Oklahoma was the only ranked team they faced). Callahan could have eased those players into his system while recruiting specifically to foster his chosen style. But, instead, he wailed a square peg through a round hole, causing the first Husker squad in forty years to sit home for the bowl season. The shame of it left a few seniors crying after the final loss — in Lincoln vs. Colorado — with one player wishing that fans would just forget about the 2004 team.

Already, Mike Riley has said things which should allay fears that this kind of bullshit will never happen again. He will customize his strategies around the strength of the team. Always. Hallelujah!

So, for those of you with an itchy sense that history is repeating itself, just relax. This bout of deja vu is but an undigested bit of beef, a blot of mustard, a crumb of cheese, a fragment of an underdone potato. The specter of Bill Callahan is no more real than a ghost of seasons past. Try not to think about it, otherwise…

nightmares

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