Sunday Afternoon Hot Takes: Wisconsin Edition

Before kickoff yesterday, we shared some new and bizarre ways for Wisconsin to beat the Huskers to add a little spice to the boring predictability of blowout losses. One way we didn’t suggest was a last second Badger field goal because that just seemed to a little too trite.

We all know how that worked out.

Rafael Gaglianone
How it feels when coach says he’s taking you to Olive Garden to celebrate.

How Much Stress Can One Blogger Take: Yesterday was the first Husker game I watched at home in three years. With kickoff at 12:30 and the first pitch of the Dodger game at six, I chose to stay home and increase my odds of getting to see the end of the game and make it to Chavez Ravine in time.

For the record, it is exactly 7.6 miles from our driveway to Dodger Stadium.

Thanks to an Obamajam and USA playing Mexico at the Rose Bowl, LA traffic was promised to be extra crazy so we planned to leave at four.

The clock struck the fateful hour with about five minutes or so left in the game. The only perk of staying home was being able to sync up the Huskers app and watch the game with the ESPN choads on mute. Up until that second, everything worked like a charm until my lovely wife said, “You can listen to it in the car.”

15 minutes later she was dragging me out of the house by my ear without granting even a second to mourn what had happened to the Huskers yet again.

We listened to the post game press conference en route and her thoughts on Mike were that “he sounds like a nice guy and maybe a little sad.

No kidding.

Luckily, the Dodger game made for a nice, relaxing Saturday evening of October baseball. It wasn’t at all the craziest game I’ve ever attended thanks to Chase Utley‘s fateful, game tying double play break up. While social media was imploding with outrage, the feeling in the stands was completely different. The Mets fans surrounding us thought what happened was an acceptable baseball play and were more upset about getting hosed on getting an out at second. Once it was revealed that Tejada suffered a broken leg, the mood for both sides definitely turned somber. Before you rail on Utley, think how you’d feel if it were Alex Gordon breaking up a double play or remember how you felt when Kenny Bell laid down his soul crushing block.

Leave it to a Giant’s blogger to have probably the most rational take on what happened. And for good measure, here are some previous thoughts from Mets manager Terry Collins about the need to be tough when breaking up double plays.

Mike Riley’s Balloon Watch: Last week’s pile of poo is now on fire.

Mike Riley Flaming Pile of Poo

Our Score Prediction:

Pretty far off-base on the score but it’s all there was to work with. The magic score prediction hat is still MIA and may or may not have gone missing after seeing Van Halen at the Hollywood Bowl last Friday night.

Best Shade of the Day:

DPE: Remember when DPE broke his foot but the silver lining was that if everything went OK he’d be back in time to run wild against Wisconsin? DPE had a pair of receptions for 31 yards. Since his return at Illinois, he’s been a complete non-factor.

Running Back by Committee: Can this please stop? Last week it was Imani Cross who was absent from the backfield. He returned this week with Ozigbo taking his place in parts unknown on the Husker sideline. And does Mikale Wilbon need to get his picture put on a milk carton or what?

Jordan Stevenson: His redshirt was burned for 14 kick return yards, a couple touchbacks, and the honor of becoming running back number five.

Andy Janvovich: This is the perfect summation of his 55 yard touchdown run.

That Bankshirt Defense Tho: When Wisconsin got the ball back with 63 seconds to play, you just knew it was going to be curtains for the Huskers. It was inevitable that Joel Stave was going to find a way to shred the Huskers’ secondary like cheddar and he did just that, taking the Badgers from their own 30 to the Huskers’ 28 in only three plays. Not to beat the dead horse of bringing up the old regime but chances are they would have rolled the dice and dialed up a blitz on one of those plays. Getting Stave to the turf just once would have chewed up some major clock for Wisconsin.

Dirk Chatelain and Hip Hop: As someone who professes his love of The Boss in his twitter bio, it shouldn’t be surprising that Dirk may not be the most well versed when it comes to that hippity hop but this passage in his otherwise on-point column is a real head scratcher-

…the speakers blasted “Let Me Clear My Throat,” an old-school hip-hop song that, when it comes on the radio, prompts your father to turn the station.

DJ Kool dropped Let Me Clear My Throat in 1996. While Pearl Jam is starting to show up on classic rock radio from time to time, mid 90s hip hop is a little too new to ever be considered old school. And then, there’s the issue of Let Me Clear My Throat even appearing on radio outside of a specialty station such as 93.5 KDAY. So with that in mind, for “dad” to even have a chance to hear DJ Kool, he would already be listening to a hip hop oriented station and would probably turn up the radio, not change the station.

Or, maybe “dad” is riding shotgun and your car and if that’s the case he should be respectful of the universal “my car, my rules” policy.


1: The number of times a Husker running back has rushed for over 100 yards in a single game this season. (Newby hit 198 against South Alabama.)

394: Sam THUNDERLEG Foltz‘s yardage on nine punts. The Husker offense racked up 325 total yards.

3: Total carries for last week’s running back of the future Devine Ozigbo.

39.28: Tommy Armstrong‘s completion percentage. He was 11 – 28 on the day. He’s currently at 52.4 percent on the year which is almost a full tick below last year’s 53.3%.

36: The total margin by which the 2 and 4 Huskers have outscored their opponents this year.

17: Jordan Westerkamp‘s total receiving yardage the past two games.

17, 715: The turnout for #7 Youngstown State‘s rumble with #4 Illinois State. The Cardinals flew away with 31 – 29 victory after the Penguins’ 2 point conversion and ensuing onsides kick failed.


5 New and Bizarre Ways the Huskers Can Lose To Wisconsin

With this year’s installment of Nebraska vs Wisconsin being the first match up since 1901 to have both the Huskers and the Badgers unranked, the hype for this game has all but been replaced by a feeling of dread for either side.

With the Huskers flailing to a 2 – 3 record and the Badgers at 3 – 2 thanks to a beat down against Alabama and an ugly 10 – 6 loss against Iowa, today’s contest doesn’t exactly set the table with blowout potential.

Which is good because frankly, watching the Huskers get blown out by the Badgers is getting old.  The Huskers need to find a new way to lose.

Look at this repetitive mess:

2011: 48 – 17 Nebraska fans are introduced to Russell Wilson.

2012: (round 2) 70 – 31 some kid named Melvin Gordon scampers for 216 yards on 9 carries.

2014:  59 – 24 Melvin Gordon runs wild for an NCAA record 408 yards. At least this time he needed to tote the ball 25 times in order to run almost a quarter mile. If you’re too lazy to do the math, his day worked out to a paltry 16.32 yards-per-carry.

In effort to spice up the bitter stew of defeat, here are just a few new and exciting ways the Huskers can lose to the Badgers today that are guaranteed to keep the water cooler conversation buzzing all week long.

5. Ryker Fyfe whiffs a tackle allowing Wisconsin running back Taiwan Deal score the winning touchdown in an otherwise close game. (It’s a long, arduous story but Ryker ends up filling it at linebacker after an already depleted corps is diminished even further as Coach Riley had ordered the back ups back ups to spend their game day slathering the new Riley homestead in allergen-free paint.

4. Alex Lewis blows kisses to the West Stadium crowd as the Huskers head back to the locker room at halftime. Wisconsin ends up winning by forfeit before halftime ends following the breakout of what will go down in history as the Great Blue Hair Riot.

3. The clock strikes 00:00 before Drew Brown gets a chance to chip in the game winner as Coach Riley forgets to call a time out in a scenario eerily similar to what happened to his Beavers in the 2012 Alamo Bowl.

2. The operator of Der Viener Schlinger blows a gasket and mows down the officiating crew following a botched call. The carnage caused by seasoned entrails makes everyone realize there is more to life than football and the game is suspended.

1. Rich Kaczynski‘s  halftime text messages to “his” players offers differing advice than that of the current coaching staff causing the Husker sideline to erupt into a full blown melee not seen since that time The Warriors were wrongly accused of shooting Cyrus. And just like that, the Husker football program spirals into new and even more unfathomable depths of dysfunction.

Or, the Huskers can somehow remember they are the daggum’ed Nebraska Cornhuskers and run a train on Bucky Badger and remind the college football world that the Big Red ain’t dead yet.

Positive thoughts, Husker Nation. Positive thoughts.


Breaking Badgers with Cousin Ben

Since the Huskers joined the Big Ten, their battles with the Badgers have become an extra special time among my family, the vast majority of whom hail from the Land of Cheese and Swill Beer.

With my brother and I being the oddballs who grew up in Nebraska and raised as proper Husker fans from birth, a familial friction has sparked every time the Huskers and Badgers throw down. Mostly, it’s Badger backing cousins who take a jab or two before crawling back into the safety of their dens until the Badgers have jet sweeped their way to victory. Then the smack talk claws come out in full force.

The best of the worst in my family is my cousin Ben. He’s a 15-year-old three sport juggernaut and is an absolutely rabid fan of the Badgers and the Packers (you can see Lambeau Field from the end of his street). Ben knows more about sports than most people at ESPN and wields emojis like a master assassin. In other words, he’s a full-on honey badger when it comes to heckling the Huskers when they’re down.

Ben was gracious enough to take a break from his homework to give a glimpse into the world of Wisconsin athletics and what Husker fans can expect to see on Saturday.

Just so our readers get a sense of who they’re dealing with, tell us a little bit about your level of fandom for the Badgers. And this can be the all-encompassing Badgers, football, basketball, etc.

Well I live about two and a half hours away from Madison but I don’t think I’ve missed watching a Badger basketball or football game in about four or five years. I’ve gotten to see some amazing games like Melvin Gordon’s 408 yard game and that 70-31 slaughtering in the Big Ten Championship (okay, now I’m just teasing you) but it’s been an absolutely crazy ride. Being a Badger fan has brought me to Texas, LA, Indy and of course more times than I can remember, the best college town in America, Madison.

What are your favorite moments as a Badger fan? Best game you’ve been to?

My best moments as a Badger fan have probably been the three straight Rose Bowls and the two Final Fours. The fact that Wisconsin won three Big Ten titles with basically one QB that could throw the ball (sorry, Scott Tolzein) is pretty crazy. The best game I’ve been too would have to be is when Wisconsin beat #1 Ohio State back in 2010. I was just walking in when David Gilreath took back the opening kick and the Badgers dominated when I was in my seat as well. That’s the only game I’ve had the pleasure of storming the field for.

Does your mom ever get upset with how you and your dad disappear for most of March to chase the Badgers around the NCCA Tournament?

My mom just pretty much stays out of the way during March and early April because I think she just knows we could be gone. She did come to the Final Four last year so I think she was especially happy about that.

As a whole, Nebraska fans tend to be more than a little terrified of the Badgers, especially after the last couple times they’ve played. What do Nebraska fans have to scared about this year?

The Badgers always seem to have two things on their team: a great line, and a top back. This year, we thought we had the great back but (Corey) Clement has been out since the Bama game so that’s gone. Stave will be back to his ways where he can’t complete a pass if it’s not 25 yards down the field. The only real thing that will have Nebraska fans shaking their heads this year is going to be the defense. The line is solid, and maybe two of the best OLB in the country in Joe Schobert and Vince Biegal will have the lineman picking up Armstrong all game. The secondary is solid led by safetys Michael Caputo and the QB… I mean receiver…. no stick to safety Tanner McEvoy. (Editor’s note: Tanner changes positions more often than the Huskers change running backs.)

Will Joel Stave ever graduate? The dude has to be like 25 by now.

I sure hope he does soon.. They have a Sophomore QB named DJ Gillians that is a stud. Stave just isn’t very good against good teams. (Editor’s note: I think this may be a burn towards the Huskers.)

Do you think Barry Alvarez somehow find a way to get rid of Paul Chryst so he can coach another bowl game?

Haha. Barry is getting up there and Chryst is a Wisconsin boy so I think getting rid of him will be tough for about 3 years.

And on that note, how happy are you that Bret Bielema is Arkansas’ problem?

Goodness. That’s about the best thing the Badgers have going for them is watching Bielema choke. When they played Texas A&M, he called two pass plays on 3 and 4, and 4 and 4. If that would’ve happened in Madison, he probably wouldn’t have been picking up any sloozy college girls after the game.

What’s your prediction for the final score? I know you texted me but my phone is across the room and I’m too lazy to get up and look.

31-17 Badgers. I figure if it’s closer than that, Stave can throw up a prayer and the defense will either back away or push the receiver.

What are the Badgers’ chances for making it back to the Final Four this season? How will they ever replace Frank the Tank?

Not great but I think it’s better than what other people think. They have the best PG in the Big Ten (might be a bit biased there considering my dog is named after him) and a top 20 pick in next year’s draft that will anchor the team. I’m at least expecting a sweet sixteen run and since it’s Bo’s “last year” (Tony Bennett or Bo only) you never know what he can get the boys to do.

Are the Packers going to the Super Bowl or will they find a new and clever way to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory? That was so brutal how they lost last year.

I have no doubt in my mind right now that the Packers are the best team in the NFL right now. Last year I probably would have said that but I’m a lot more confident this year. Plus, the hands team is 2/2 this year I believe so that’s a good start towards not choking in the same way.

How does it feel knowing that after all the great running backs that Wisconsin has produced, the best running back in the entire history of the Green Bay Packers is Ahman Green who just happens to be from Nebraska?

The only thing I remember well about Amahn in his prime was he came to my school after a domestic abuse charge I believe and I told him not to beat his wife. True story.

Like I said, he’s a master assassin of talking trash.


Why Husker Fans Need the Dodgers to Win the World Series

With the Major League Baseball postseason starting today, it’s time to blow the lid off the missing link to the Huskers getting back in the National Championship hunt and maybe even winning a trophy or three.

The Los Angeles Dodgers need to win the World Series.

Feel free to pshaw and call this idea cockamamie all you want, but if you do the research, you’ll see I’m not yanking your chain. Every time the Huskers have played in a title game or made a National Championship run, the Dodgers preceded those appearances with a World Series victory.

No other team in baseball matches up to the Huskers’ championship aspirations the way the Dodgers do.

Before diving in, I should add a disclaimer:  the mind-blowing argument I’m about to present is grounded solely in hard data and logic. The fact that my lovely wife and I are Dodger season ticket holders (I made it out to a personal best 35 games this year) has not been factored-in in any way, shape, or form.

Here’s how it breaks down:

1965: The Dodgers win the World Series.
1970: The Huskers win their first National Championship.
1971: The Huskers tack on one more for good measure.

1981: The Dodgers beat the Yankees to capture the World Series crown, avenging losses to the Bronx Bombers in 1977 and ’78.
1982: The Huskers come up short against Clemson.
1983: Miami can suck it.

1988: The Dodgers are World Series champs once again and provide one of the most dramatic moments in the history of sport.
1994: The Huskers vanquish Miami to win a long-awaited third National Championship.
1995: The Huskers double down and Tommie Frazier makes one of the most incredible runs in college football history.
1997: Ain’t nothing wrong with going 3 for 4.

Boom. There you have it. Undeniable proof that a World Series victory by the Dodgers means the Huskers will follow up with an appearance and/or a victory in a game with the National Championship on the line within six years. (A wholly reasonable time frame for a new coach to build a dynasty.)  No matter which way you slice it, there’s no denying the cold, hard truth. For the Huskers to win it all, the Dodgers need to do the same.

Now that you’ve suddenly disavowed whatever baseball team that has tickled your fancy for however many years, here are a few nuggets to help you realize that the combo of Scarlet and Cream and Dodger Blue is a match made in sports heaven.

Odd Names in the Early Years: Old Gold Knights, Rattlesnake Boys, Bugeaters? The Dodgers used to be called the Bridegrooms, Superbas, and Robins. Plus, they’re right up there with the Bugeaters when it comes to having a nickname derived from a derogatory term.

Legendary Announcers: While I’m too young to know Lyle Bremser, a chill still runs down my spine any time I think of Kent Pavelka exclaiming “Touchdown, touchdown, touchdown!” The same holds true for Vin Scully saying “It’s time for Dodger baseball!” In case you missed the news, Vin is coming back next year for an unprecedented 67th season behind the mic for the Dodgers. If you’ve never had the pleasure, you need to hear him call a game. The only way I can begin to describe it is that it’s like the coolest guy in the room, who just happens to be a living, breathing baseball encyclopedia, has invited you to sit with him at his private table for a few hours.

Did I ever tell you about the time Jackie and I raced each other on ice skates?

Extremely Knowledgeable and Loyal Fans
This kid knew exactly what he was doing.

Say what you will about the stereotypical Dodger fan arriving late and leaving early but the truth is getting to the stadium for a weeknight game requires as much planning as the Invasion of Normandy. And the exodus you see in the 7th? That’s everyone running to get one last beer before the taps get shut off.

Just like the average East Stadium blue hair could give a master class on the intricacies of the triple option, I’d be willing to wager that the little Thai lady who sits in front of us could manage a game as well as Don MattinglyAnd that’s no disrespect to Donnie Baseball. She’s just that baseball savvy.

Husker Fans and Dodger Fans
While the Dodgers will never give the Huskers’ sellout streak any competition, they have topped Major League Baseball in attendance the past three seasons. Since 2001, the Dodgers have finished in the top 5 all but twice, coming in at #8 in ’01 and at #11 in 2011, which not coincidentally was the absolute rock bottom of the Frank McCourt era, aka the Dodgers’ Bill Callahan years.

During this same period, all you plucky Kansas City fans, managed to get the Royals out of the bottom 5 exactly twice, #22 in 2003 and all the way up to #10 this year. Gee, bandwagon much?

Zack Greinke
Zack Greinke

If you’re a Royals fan and suddenly butt hurt by the last comment, just simmer down and remind yourself how badly you wanted to see Zack win a ring.

Carl Crawford
Carl Crawford
How can you not cheer for a former Husker quarterback recruit who actually made it to the bigs in a timely manner unlike that Bubba kid.

Tom and Tom Tom Lasorda and Tom Osborne
Mr. Lasorda, Meet Mr. Osborne. While Tommy only ran the show for 20 years to Dr. Tom’s 25, Lasorda and his predecessor Walter Alston managed the Dodgers for a combined 43 years compared to Bob and Tom roaming the Memorial Stadium sidelines for 35.

T-Magic and Yasiel Puig Are Brothers From Another Mother
Taylor Martinez Yasiel Puig

Both came out of nowhere with otherworldly talent and a penchant for making some of the most brilliant and boneheaded plays their respective sports have ever seen. Puig is currently going through his T-Magic senior year, having missed most of the season with hamstring injuries (the Dodgers’ version of the good ol’ groin pull). He miraculously recovered in time for the final days of the regular season but it wouldn’t be a surprise if he were left off the postseason roster.

Milton Bradley
Milton Bradley

The Dodgers’ version of Lawrence Phillips is currently serving 32 months in jail for domestic abuse. In 2004, he famously ended his stint as a Dodger when he tried going into the stands to fight everyone after he was showered with boos (and assorted debris) after botching a routine pop up with the bases loaded. I was at this game and the response from the crowd will never be forgotten, especially the cholos, vatos, and homies, who tried climbing over the outfield wall World War Z style to kick his ass.

If Alex Lewis ever tried blowing kisses to the Dodger Stadium crowd following an epically stupid loss, there’s no way he’d make it out of Chavez Ravine alive.

Dodger Fans Know the Sting of Losing to an Arch Rival: Think Oklahoma, Texas, Miami, Florida State and Wisconsin have the Huskers’ number? Try losing to the Yankees in the World Series EIGHT times. After six tries, the Dodgers finally took them down for the first time in 1955.

To the Dodgers, Reggie Jackson is Melvin Gordon, Brian Bosworth, and Jamaal Charles combined.

The run to the Husker’s next National Championship starts at 6:45pm this Friday night.

Let’s go Dodgers.

It goes so well with Go Big Red, doesn’t it?


Monday Rage: Who Woke Up Still Mad About Illinois?

Happy Monday everyone!

Here’s a quick rundown of selected rage tweets and other delights from Husker fans who woke up still feeling a little raw about what happened at Illinois on Saturday.

Wait… this really happened? Maybe in an alternate universe.

Sam Foltz Special Teams Player of the Week
While typo police are usually more annoying than gluten-free people, this is a great find. Could it have been a subtle dig at the short bus crowd with a little stutter built-in to special teams? More than likely it was just the work of someone who had five minutes to put a graphic together while dealing with their typical Monday madness. We say they d-d-deserve a b-b-break.

Well, this is certainly a loaded statement.

But it reading about it after the fact always hurts so good.

Wait… you can’t just get press credentials for everyone in your party?

Can someone please check Alex Lewis’ check-ins on Swarm?

This is a depressing statistic.

Hey man, Danny Glover tried his best to carry Arnold’s mantle in Predator 2.



Sunday Morning Hot Takes: Illinois Edition

If Miami and BYU were gut punches, the Huskers’ game against Illinois was two days of brutal torture condensed into 55 seconds of game play plus some time allowed for a couple of BS pass interference calls.

In other words, it was this…

With Illinois not necessarily being a marquee match up (on paper at least), the vibe at our Californians for Nebraska watch site had the all the excitement and energy of a Catholic mass at 6pm on a Sunday. Yes, us faithful Husker fans were there but it felt like it is was more out of obligation (and a collective lack of the Big Ten Network among those in attendance).

By the end though, we were certainly into the game and when the final whistle blew, about 40 or so people were doing this in unison…

Let’s just say it was a good thing the TVs at the Happy Ending are securely bolted to the walls.

No matter who called it, just how bad was the decision to pass the ball on that fateful third down? I won’t name any names or anything but there was a person at our watch site who took until the second quarter to notice that the art work on the 50-yard-line was an outline of the state of Illinois.

Now that the table is properly set, even they were screaming “Whatever you do, don’t pass!” when the Huskers lined up for that fateful third down play.

Look, a “rebuilding” season is fine but there is absolutely no excuse for the coaching staff to completely forget how to coach a game. If Frank Solich played checkers to Tom Osborne’s chess, Mike Riley and company are playing Go Fish right now. It just doesn’t make any sense to the point that even this site wholeheartedly agrees with Dirk Chatelain.

Hope you’re happy with what you did Mike Riley!

Alex LewisIf he even makes it to Senior Day, he might be the first starting captain to get less applause than a mystery walk-on lineman.

The Downside of Your Husker Watch Site Also Being an Ohio State Backer Bar: Your friends from Ohio will mercilessly mock you on that Chat Snap.


Mike Riley’s Balloon Watch: Coach Riley’s balloon just didn’t deflate, it went full Pile of Poo emoji.

Mike Riley Poop Balloon

Our Score Prediction: Would have nailed it if only the Huskers’ numbers weren’t reversed.
Huskers Illinois

Larry The Cable Guy: Could really use a hug, or some whiskey (at 8:13am on a Sunday morning.) Be sure to read the rest of his rant on Twitter. Dude makes some very legitimate points.


32: Was Imani Cross even on the travel roster? Dude didn’t even see the field.

32.25: Tommy Amstrong‘s completion percentage on 10 – 31 passing with one arm punt interception

46.9: Sam THUNDERLEG Foltz‘s average punt distance. Dude had the biggest yardage of either team by a wide margin netting 422 yards on nine punts.

4:55: Illinois’ time-of-possession in a 4th quarter in which they scored all 14 of their points. 51 of those last 55  seconds really mattered didn’t they?

6: The number of tries it took Illinois to score their game winning touchdown when they started with a 1st and goal from the 7 yard line.

10: Devine Ozibo‘s average yards per carry on 7 rushes for 70 yards. Meanwhile, Terrell Newby maintained a solid 3.0 for a total of 15 yards on the day.

31 – 3: The final score of Youngstown State’s victory over the South Dakota Coyotes.


Four Random Things Before the Huskers Beat Illinois

1) Dry erase marker is no match for the power of Eddie Van Halen. If you can’t decipher it, our score prediction has the Huskers handling Illinois 31 – 14. Who cares what Vegas and the pundits think? Clearly they have overlooked the fact that a highly capable fullback has been found in hiding in a dark, dusty corner of the Huskers’ offensive quiver. With the weather report calling for heavy gusts of wind and other misery, today is the perfect crappy day to finally get the ground game sorted out.

2) Oh, and rumor has it this guy is back. If that’s true, why is Illinois even bothering to take the field?

3) The Westerkamps are in Champaign right now and drinking all the beer.

4) Bo Pelini is six miles from the Nebraska border this very instant as his Youngstown State Penguins are set for a rumble with the South Dakota Coyotes under the roof of the DakotaDome. Please pay no attention to the fact that we jumped to the conclusion that it was impossible for South Dakota to boast not one but TWO colleges and plum mixed up the Jackrabbits with the Coyotes. (See #6.) Finally, not to pour any salt in the open wound that is the Bankshirt™ secondary, but Pelini’s Penguins have given up only 26 yards through the air in their wins over Robert Morris and St. Francis who were a combined 3 – 23 passing.


Going Full Circle with Southern Miss

Special Guest Post by Nick Allen – 

Nebraska played at Southern Miss on Thursday, September 25, 2003.

The scariest day of my life.

Six weeks prior I was in a doctor’s office hearing an OBGYN tell my girlfriend and I that we were going to be having a baby in October.

I said, “This year?

Six weeks later my first son was born.

At the time, I was cooking at a German restaurant and had been 21 for three months. I was in no position to be a dad. Sometimes I still feel like I’m not.

My future wife and I were blindsided. There had been recent signs that a baby may be appearing but we figured we would have standard notice. Instead, we had six weeks.

I’m a habitual procrastinator and was on the phone calling relatives the night before Sara was going to be induced saying, “I’m having a baby.

They would say, “When?

I said, “Tomorrow.

The only piece of advice I remember from that six weeks came from Miguel, an 18 year old father of one I worked with at Das Rheinland. I told him I was going to be a dad and he simply said, “It’s not about you anymore, Homie.

Since the day my son was born, that’s how I’ve been trying to live my life. Not about me anymore, Homie.

I’ve been trying but it’s not always easy. Trying to make sure my bad days stay my bad days instead of becoming other people’s bad days. Trying to wake up early. Trying to drink less. Trying to smoke less. Trying to be around and be present.

Sometimes I succeed, often times I fall way short. I’m really just trying to raise a good kid who doesn’t resent me. Who’s a good person because of me instead of in spite of me. And do the same with his brother and sister. It’s all a work in progress.

Sara was induced early on the day Conner was born. Nebraska was playing at Southern Miss that night but it was pretty far down on a lengthy list of things I was worried about. She was in a painful labor until an epidural. After that, we were kind of just hanging out, waiting for a baby to arrive.

While we were waiting into the night, there was a lone football game on the TV. Nebraska at Southern Miss.

Southern Miss, Brett Favre’s alma matter. On a Thursday. Under the lights. Against the Nebraska Cornhuskers.

I don’t remember who Nebraska’s quarterback was that night, I don’t remember who the coach was either. I don’t know if I was supposed to be mad at the defensive coordinator that week.  It didn’t matter. It still doesn’t.

I was much more concerned about the human life that I was going to be responsible for busting out at any second. He was more laid back, waiting for Nebraska to secure the victory before joining us.

He was born at 10:52pm. I remember seeing him and watching his eyes adjust. I remember kissing my wife then staring at both of them in awe.

We had family waiting outside the door waiting to hear any news. I opened the door and put both fists in the air.

It’s a boy!”

By the end of the night I was a dad with a newborn son.

This past Saturday, I took Conner to his first Nebraska home game. Southern Miss at Nebraska. He turned 12 the day before. It was perfect.

A kid in Memorial Stadium with a grin on his face. Runzas in the stands. Big plays from the Blackshirts. A Nebraska kid at fullback stealing the show. Two old ladies sitting in front of us getting hit with a hot dog shot from a canon. My son thinking Jordan Westerkamp should get the ball every play and wondering if Tommy Armstrong will win the Heisman because, “He’s a quarterback and a running back.”

Jodan Westerkamp Tommy Armstrong

Nebraska beat Southern Miss. The game got close at the end. There was grumbling in the stands and bated breath throughout the stadium. Someone sitting near us said, “That was scary.

I wasn’t scared on Saturday. I was scared in 2003. I’m still scared now. But not about football. It’s a game. A game played by kids not much older than my son. I’m scared I’m not a good dad. Scared all of my shut off notices are going to arrive on the same day. Scared I’m in over my head. I need to be more laid back like my son.

I asked him if he thought Southern Miss was going to come back and win. He said, “I knew Nebraska was going to win the whole time. They had it.”

They did. And I think we have it too.

Nick Allen is a stand up comic who lives in Omaha. He was featured this past summer on NBC’s Last Comic Standing. Follow him on Twitter at @NicksAllens.


Breaking Down the Bankshirts’ Worst Play

What’s up, reader(s)? Miss us? Don’t worry, this humble little slice of the Husker internet didn’t decide to run for cover now that Big Ten play is here.

This week got kind of turned upside down due to attending an AC/DC concert Monday night at Dodger Stadium. As hard as they tried (thanks for ears that are still ringing and a two day hangover) Angus Young and company could not blast the memory of one particularly horrific play the Bankshirts made against Southern Miss out of my head.

Starting with that darn Hail Mary (or Hail Joseph Smith), the age of the Bankshirts has been maligned to the point that the names Mark Banker and Kevin Cosgrove are starting to appear together in pieces by Brandon Cavanaugh and Steve Sipple which is never a good sign.

So, without further ado, the Bankshirts’ play that sticks in my craw more than any other happened with 9:30 left to play and the Huskers comfortably leading 36 – 21. Southern Miss was starting a drive at their own 25 yard line and quarterback Nick Mullens threw a short pass to running back Ito Smith as he sneaked his way out of the backfield. It was a nice safe choice to start a drive that was sure to gain a nice little chunk of yardage towards another first down.

Except for the fact that it netted 39 yards and more missed tackles than I have the ability to count.

Here’s how it started…


Freedom Akinmoladun
and Greg McMullen rush Mullens like they’re trying to scare off a bear. Mullens flings the ball off to Ito who’s all alone.


Have no fear, Nate Gerry is there to limit Ito’s catch to a only a five yard gain. Oops.


Over on the offensive side of the ball, Keith Williams‘ number one rule for his receivers is to make the first defender miss. Surely that philosophy can’t be a universal phenomenon so we’ll give Gerry a pass because Chris Jones is there to try to back him up.  And because football is a team sport, Mohamed Barry adds a whiff of his own while Dedrick Young gets blocked all the way out to Waverly.


From here, the Bankshirts kick in a ferocious level of pursuit not seen since that one time Jack Hoffman scored a touchdown.


Luckily, Byerson Cockrell remembers they’re playing a game that counts and swoops in with a potential touchdown saving tackle. Southern Miss would go on to score 8 plays later after Josh Kalu was unjustly charged with a pass interference call the negated his interception at the goal line. On the upside, three and a half minutes were chewed off the clock.

Will things get better for the Bankshirts against Illinois on Saturday?

Hard to say but it will also be hard to do much worse than this complete and total meltdown.