Sunday Morning Hot Takes: Troy

Does losing to Troy suck?

Yes.

Am I mad about losing to Troy?

Eh, not really. 

It feels weird to type that because any and every Husker loss is supposed to be an end of the world gut punch but this year feels different, even if it starts out with a big pair of scarlet L’s that should have been W’s. 

It’s 11:45pm and I’ve spent the last hour charting Husker wins and losses because that’s what you do when you’re old. You make spreadsheets on a Saturday night and you’re happy about it because it means you didn’t have to go anywhere. 

Going from today all the way back to the year 2000, the Huskers have lost 85 games under five different coaches. At this point what’s the big deal about chalking up another loss? Granted, 85 losses is such an unbelievably high number that I was convinced Excel’s auto sum feature was lying to me. I added up nearly 20 years of losses by hand twice only to discover that Excel was right on the money when it spat out the brutal truth.

To put this another way, this year’s freshman class at Dear Old Nebraska U has been alive to experience 85 losses. When I stepped on campus as a freshman, the Huskers had amassed all of 40 in my lifetime. When I stepped off campus five years later, that loss total had grown to 46 but they also picked up three National Championships during that stretch and changed head coaches for the first time in 25 years. 

What does all this mean?

It means that the latest crop of Huskers fans have never known a team to be good in the sense that us old-timers have.

During the game at our watch site, I had the slightly depressing epiphany that I’m officially old enough to be old. It hit me when the youngest Husker fan at our table replied with a Keanu level “Whoa” when he learned I attended college back in 90s. I felt like my grandpa spinning yarns about life before television as I explained to the kid there was indeed a time when the Huskers didn’t lose. “We didn’t have cell phones or email addresses but goddamnit the Huskers were good.”  

By the time I was finished, the kid was in such awe that his breakfast pizza with gluten-free crust was left dangling from his mouth. 

No matter how this season shakes out, I think the best thing us olds can do is keep an optimistic front for the youngins that the Huskers will eventually find a way to get better. They have to. We finally landed the one coach who knows our wild and weird culture better than anyone and if we turn on him before he has a chance to get rolling we might as well disband the football program. 

It’s ride or die time, homies. 

Random (and Potentially Unpopular) Opinion:

This week’s Tunnel Walk was set to Let Me Clear My Throat. If we want to exorcise this team of all its past demons, then we need to delete the definitive song from the Mike Riley era off the stadium playlist. Sorry, Dj Kool.

Troy Summed Up in one Tweet: 

Larry the Cable Guy: Voice of Reason 

ScoFroFroYo Watch:

Imma paint a little picture for this week’s ScoFroFroYo Watch.

Hours have passed since the final whistle against Troy. The roar of 90,000 Husker fans inside Memorial Stadium has long faded away. The only sound to break the ghostly silence is a big red bus idling outside the stadium. (For the purposes of this story, the bus is large enough to fit the entire team and Coach Frost is pulling double duty as the driver.) 

An unmarked stadium door opens and a dejected Husker team begins to file out and head towards the bus with their heads hanging low and eyes focused on the ground. Coach Frost is the last one to board and slides into the driver’s seat. He takes a quick glance at his team but he doesn’t make eye contact. He only looks at them out of his obligation to not leave anyone behind.

He slips the bus into gear and it jumps forward to begin the journey home.

After a few minutes, the dejected player’s faces begin to brighten as they see the glow of a TCBY sign off in the distance. The anticipation builds as the bus moves closer and reaches its crescendo when Coach Frost flips the turn signal to indicate a stop for yogurt is imminent. 

He begins to turn the wheel and the bus responds accordingly. Then, with the deftness that only an option QB who led his team to a National Championship could have, he jukes the bus out of the impending turn into the TCBY parking lot and continues on its original course. 

As the players look out the window and watch the TCBY fade off into the distance, Coach Frost clinically looks at his team via the rear view mirror and says, “TCBY is for winners.” 


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Sunday Night Hot Takes: Colorado

Welcome to the first installment of Sunday Night Hot Takes for the 2018 season.

Like we do most every Sunday, what will follow is an assortment of random thoughts both deep and not so deep, I guess you could call those shallow thoughts.

Anyway…

How the game began… 

With 100+ Los Angeles Husker fans packed into our new watch site and huddled around each other’s phones because ABC insisted on showing whatever stupid game that came before it all the way to the bitter end.

The game finally came on just in time to catch the Huskers looking pretty good until they fumbled the ball away near Colorado’s red zone.

No worries. It’s the first game. This stuff happens. And then it happened again on their next drive and just like that Colorado was out to a 14-0 lead.

But then something magical happened.

The Huskers responded by rattling off an eight play, 75 yard touchdown drive. And that was only the beginning.

Over the course of the next two hours or so, a lot of laughs were had, many high fives were slapped, and more than a few rounds of drinks were ordered as all of us watched in awe as the Huskers imposed their will on the Buffaloes.

It was shaping up to be a magnificent Saturday.

How the game ended… 

It’s hard to be encouraged by what would normally be a soul crushing last minute loss to a former bitter rival but when you factor in:

It was the first game of the season under a new-to-the-players coaching staff.

True freshman Adrian Martinez stepped onto the field for his first real game in two years. While he looked like a true freshman at moments, he also looked like a world beating 5th year senior. He’s going to be a lot of fun.

The Killa Bees had SEVEN SACKS. Not to beat a dead horse that was buried months ago but last year’s defense had 14 sacks all season.

Colorado received more gifts from the Huskers and the refs than a Kardashian on Christmas and they still had to dig deep into Ralphie’s ass to pull out a win.

The mistakes that were made should all be easily correctable. I have a feeling there won’t be too many more dropped touchdown passes.

Larry the Cable Guy: Voice of Reason 

What I’d like to see next week: 

Adrian Martinez back on the field.

Andrew Bunch, aka Bunch Money, have a chance for some playing time that’s not due to injury.

The running back situation begins to sort itself out. It felt a little like they were holding an in-game audition on Saturday.

The Killa Bees force their first turnovers of the year. A couple of pass breakups should have been caught.

New Feature: Did the Huskers Earn a Postgame Trip to TCBY? 

For the last three years, our signature gag to sum up the state of the Huskers was Mike Riley’s Balloon Watch.

We had a few glorious ones, like the day after Michigan State had their run at a perfect season derailed by a miraculous comeback.

But in the end, all that mattered is how Riley left the program he and his staff inherited.

Now that we have FHCMR’s last appearance out of the way, it’s time to unveil our new feature.

Say hello to the ScoFro FroYo Watch.

The ScoFro FroYo Watch can be explained like this: If you happened to be a frozen yogurt enthusiast who lived in Grand Island during the early 90s, you had a better than average chance of having a weekend Scott Frost sighting at the TCBY located next to the Grand Island Mall. The guy loved himself some TCBY and so did I. As someone who grew up in GI during the early 90s, a trip to TCBY was an event right up there with Taco Tuesday at Taco John’s.

I still get goosebumps just thinking about the heart stopping  suspense when my mom would call to ask what the daily flavors were.* You could live a thousand lifetimes in that moment of silence. If they told her White Chocolate Mousse was on the lineup, my brother and I would be in the car before she hung up the phone.

[*You see, kids, back in the early 90s, there wasn’t an “internet” to look things up on and yogurt places didn’t off a magical rainbow of made up flavors. You got to choose between vanilla or something else and you were happy.]

So the question is: Did the Huskers earn a trip to TCBY?

You’re damn right they did.

This team is a full 180 from last year’s squad and outplayed the shit out of Colorado. If the Akron game wasn’t canceled, there’s no way they would have lost. By the time this four game series wraps up in 2024, the final tally will be Colorado 1, Nebraska 3.

While the Huskers did earn a hard fought trip to TCBY, it’s not a celebratory trip. As the team enjoys their frozen treat, I imagine there would be a candid and productive discussion about how to use this loss as a lesson to learn from so that it never happens again.

And while they earned the yogurt, they did not earn sprinkles. We’ll save those for when they return from the Big House with a win in a couple weeks.


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Know Your Opponent: Colorado

A few years from now when we look back on this game, we’re not going to remember the start of the Scott Frost era being rained out.

We’re going to remember the Scott Frost era beginning with a vintage Big 8 style ass whoopin’ of the Colorado Buffaloes.

Here’s everything you need to know about Colorado in handy listicle form…

Remember them? Apparently Colorado still has a football team. They play in the PAC 12 these days which makes sense considering Boulder is 1,000 miles from the Pacific Ocean.

Coach: Ditch digging must not pay like it use to because they found someone to take this job.

Offense: They scored more points than Colorado State last week and their fans have been bragging about it so they can’t be that good.

Quarterback: No idea but I did spend the last 45 minutes watching Ndamukong Suh truck Cody Hawkins over and over and over again and it’s still hilarious.

Defense: Colorado State hung 13 points on them so they should pretty be a sieve against the Huskers. (And looking up that score is the most research I’m doing for this preview.)

Famous Alumni: That kick return bro who was a better skier than a football player and Kordell Stewart, the greatest Colorado QB to go 0-3 in his career against the Huskers and lose his job as the Pittsburgh Steelers’ starting QB to Tommy Maddox.

Tommy Maddox is one of three people on Earth to have won an XFL Championship and the Super Bowl. His football skills are so sought after, he now coaches high school baseball.

Celebrity Score Prediction: Comedian Nick Allen says…

Nebraska 62, Colorado 36. Revenge. This one is for Frank.

Catch Nick Saturday night at the Comedy Loft in Lincoln’s Haymarket.


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An Open Letter to the Football Gods

Dear Football Gods, 

I gotta hand it to you. I didn’t see this one coming.

After having a front row seat to witness all the crap you’ve been putting the Huskers through since November 23, 2001, it should have been as obvious as a pass to a wide open tight end that you’d have a trick up your collective sleeve. But never did I think you’d flip all the way back to the earliest pages of the Playbook of the Gods and channel Zeus almighty and dial up some good old fashioned lightning during the biggest moment in Husker football in a generation. 

There will never be a more Nebraskan photo than this one from the Omaha World-Herald. Game halted due to lightning? Let’s all gather ’round the metal flag poles.

It is with no small amount of admiration when I humbly say that saving your latest spiteful act until the absolute last second was a baller move befitting of deities of your stature. It was the glistening cherry placed atop a towering turd sundae of disappointment that’s been growing taller and taller year by agonizing year.

Saturday night was supposed to be a transcendent event in Husker history. One that brought together friends and family from near and far for a monumental changing of the guard. After so many brutal years with a string of coaches who turned out to be nincompoops in their own special way, we finally landed the true chosen one who is destined to right the ship. 

Instead Football Gods, you Charlie Brown’d Husker Nation when you so cruelly yanked the football away and left us all sitting on our collective asses in the rain and at watch parties around the country wondering what the hell happened.

The gathering we hosted at our place here in Los Angeles was setting up to be a legendary evening. Some of LA’s finest GI natives were in attendance, the beer brats were grilled to perfection, and all that was missing was a can of Cornhusker whoop ass that never had a chance to be opened.

Oh, but you made sure we saw that can when you dangled it in front of our faces during that glorious Tunnel Walk.

The LA Chapter of the Wasmer Wildcats Alumni Group trying to make the most out of a bummer of a night.

Seriously, Santa Claus could go to an orphanage on Christmas Eve with a sleigh full of presents and force the orphans watch a three hour show and tell of all the gifts he was bringing to kids with real homes and it wouldn’t have been as big a dick move as canceling a Husker game. 

I’m onto your game, Football Gods. I know this was just one last crucible for Husker Nation to bear before closing the books on the nearly two decade long penance you’ve forced us to suffer through to atone for whatever it was that we did to incur your wrath. 

And trust me, the irony is not lost that you’ve seen fit to finally lift this dark cloud in time for next opponent to be the one that started this wretched curse in the first place. 

Thank you in advance for allowing the first game in the Scott Frost era to be one where he sends the Colorado Buffalos running off a cliff. 

Your pal, 

Todd

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