Category Archives: Big Ten

Welcome to Your First Weekend as a Free Man, Shawn Eichorst

Hey Shawn,

Congrats on your first day of funemployment!

How is it treating you so far? Did you muster up the courage to get out of bed? Don’t feel ashamed if you didn’t. There is nothing wrong with isolating yourself in the darkness during moments of despair. Judge Judy and Steve Harvey can make great company. Plus, daytime TV is a great reminder that no matter how bad things can be, they can always be worse. At least you weren’t on the wrong end of a paternity test, right?

I imagine making national news for being unexpectedly fired has to sting a little. As much as you feel the urge to do something drastic, you need to fight it with all your strength. Keeping a low profile and maintaining your cool will work wonders for you in the long term.

Trust me, the last thing you want to do is get arrested for egging Memorial Stadium in the early hours of gameday, or end up on someone’s Snapchat face down in a toilet at O’Rourke’s Tavern.

Your first weekend as a free man should be all about staying invisible. (From the accounts I’ve read about your firing, this should be easy for you.) Even before you proved it with last week’s blunder of giving up the Black Friday game, Nebraskans have always considered you an outsider to the point that there were rumblings in the deep, dark corners of Huskermax that you were really a sleeper cell agent secretly working for Wisconsin.

And that leads to an important detail about Nebraskans that you may have overlooked. If the number one sport in Nebraska is Husker football, coming in at a very close second is the sport of gossip. Behind that pleasant exterior of the average Nebraskan lurks a devious desire to know all the dirt about about anyone and everyone.

When I said stay invisible two paragraphs ago, that means don’t leave your house. Even a just a couple hours out in the yard is long enough to spawn half a dozen “Sad Shawn Eichorst Doing Yard Work” Twitter accounts. If there’s a home improvement project you need to tackle, buy whatever you need online. While your local Home Depot will be a ghost town on Saturday afternoon, all it takes is one set of eyes for the world to know that Shawn was in buying some spackle.

Instead, I’d suggest these first days in isolation be spent watching Netflix. Go on a bender. You could be the first person in the world to watch Daredevil season 1, Jessica Jones, Daredevil season 2, Luke Cage, Iron Fist, and The Defenders in one sitting. That would be legendary stuff, man.

Or, you can start organizing all the Nebraska swag you’ve acquired over the years. I can’t imagine you want to hang onto all of it and dumping off a giant pile at one Goodwill would be sure to grab some dubious headlines. Instead, spread around a bunch of smaller donations like an ax murderer disposing of body parts. Maybe you can even make some late night drop offs at parking lot donation bins.

If you’re thinking about getting away from it all for while, that’s not a bad idea either. Just be sure to fly out of KCI. The schlep will be worth not getting snickered at by an Eppley Airfield TSA agent. Plus, if anyone spots you in KC, people will assume you’re already making moves if you’re down in the big city.

But don’t be gone to long. You don’t want to have a $1.7 million dollar settlement check collecting dust in your mailbox.

And that leads to my final bit of advice for now. $1.7 million is like $17 million in Lincoln, NE. As much as you probably want to move away as fast as you can, you can live a very comfortable life in the Star City with a nest egg like that, especially if you take advantage of all the cheap booze and beer nights around town.

But if you really do want to move away, take your time in listing your house. It would throw the media who spent the last 24 hours raking you over the coals for a total loop if your pad didn’t show up on Zillow for at least year.

Or, you could really really troll everyone by turning Casa de Eichorst into an Airbnb. There’s no doubt Dirk and Lee would book a sleepover and imagine their horror if you are hiding in the walls to haunt them. Oh, this could be genius prank. Just be sure to wait until November 1 to buy all your fake blood and other props when they go on sale post Halloween. You don’t have a job anymore so you need to pinch some pennies when you can.


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Sunday Morning Hot Takes: Northern Illinois Edition

Well, it happened. Northern Illinois broke me.

Over the course of 60 minutes, the youthful exuberance and optimism that I’ve had for the Huskers since the age of Game of the Century II was ripped from my body.

It wasn’t a swift, it-will-only-hurt-for-a-second, pulling of the Band-Aid that held what was left of  my spirit together. It was a back alley surgery done by a community college dropout equipped with nothing more than a rusty Garden Weasel and a bottle of expired Robitussin to use as anesthesia.

When I finally regained consciousness following this Medieval procedure, there was no physical evidence of the damage that was inflicted, only a feeling of emptiness where my Husker soul once resided.

Then I looked in the mirror and discovered my hair had been seared into a shade of white, highlighted by a distinct hue.

Congratulations, Huskers.

You did it.

You turned me into a Blue Hair.

Before today, I had a little grey around the ears but I thought for sure I had another decade and a half before the Grumpy Old Man Achievement was unlocked. But nope, today was the fateful day. I didn’t even get to make a pit stop at the Run the Ball Guy level. The Northern Illinois game transported me right to the end.

At least my youth went out with a bang. I watched the game alone in the fort that sits at the top of our backyard and fixed myself a hearty breakfast of Lucky Charms and a few beermosas. I  was living that best life that Ben Sasse hates all too well. It was a wonderful way to spend a Saturday morning.

Then Tanner Lee threw a pick six and then another one for good measure and then I switched to drinking straight beer.

When that shit show mercifully ended, I holed up in the fort long after the final whistle, laying on the floor, using an inflatable beach chair as a pillow, and doing my best to avoid my lovely wife, who would no doubt ask if the Huskers won. We’ve been together for 12 years and outside that glimmer of hope in 2009, she’s never known the Huskers as a good team. It’s been a long running joke in her family about how every season is going to be the year until it isn’t. Sunday afternoon she’ll have a few laughs with her Georgia Tech alum father about my misery and she’ll pass along the cleverly underhanded condolences from her mother. (I swear the lady does research in order to craft the perfectly cruel thing to say.)

The most biting part of losing to Northern Illinois is that it doesn’t sting. It’s a new, undiscovered level of embarrassment.

From 1987-2001, the Huskers lost 26 games and every single one was a devastating loss. Since 2002, the once mighty Big Red has put up 73 losses and when a fresh one gets added to the scorebook, fans either become more numb or, even worse, indifferent. The crop of fans that was born during the dynasty of the 90s are pushing 25 these days and none of them know a time when the Huskers were a consistent juggernaut. Sure, there were a few good seasons but there’s legacy to hang your Cornhead on.

And that’s a big problem.

At the path they’re currently on, the Huskers are going to be known to future generations as a team that doesn’t win them all but might be able to run with the B1G dogs for 55 minutes and maybe even knock one off every season or two.

Meanwhile, those of us who are old enough to have been there will keep muttering to anyone who will listen that the Huskers went 60-3 once.

Enough moping. Here’s the shit that sticks in my craw.

SHAWH EICHORST: At least he got the memo quick that Black Fridays are for Husker football. Now he just needs to remember that the next time he’s on the cusp of making another mealy mouthed decision for the good of the Big Ten at the expense of the Huskers. Shawn, put your foot down and stand up for the school that pays you, not suck up to the one you wish would hire you.

MIKE RILEY: There has to be a point where even the World’s Nicest Coach gets pissed off enough to flip a table and shows some real emotion and fire. Half the time he roams the sidelines like he’s either Walter Mitty or a grizzled coach who was probably going to retire until he won a lottery he didn’t know he entered and ended up with a job in coaching heaven.

Pretend for a moment that you’re a 17-year-old being recruited to play at Nebraska. Would you see the opportunity as a chance to help a once storied program return to glory or as a chance to take the easy way out?

Think about it.

You’d be playing for a coach who doesn’t yell at you AND would hook you up with Kendrick Lamar tickets. He’s basically a super chill grandpa. He won’t even suspend you for weed. Your locker room is so nice it makes the facilities on a Saudi Prince’s yacht look pedestrian. You’d get all the adidas gear you could handle (maybe even a pair of Yeezys). Then there are the fans who always show up NO MATTER WHAT and will cheer you on to the bitter end or until your lackluster play sends them to the exits but they’ll all be back next week because that’s what Nebraska fans do. If you can handle the relaxed pace and schizophrenic weather of Lincoln, you’d live like a football god and get all the thrills of playing at a marquee program without any of the annoying pressure to accomplish something. If that sounds far fetched, there’s a key recruit who didn’t even make it to fall practice before being shipped back to Calabraska.

THE HUSKER BRAND: It’s time to get back to the good ol’ days when it was the football team that won all the trophies instead of its in-house advertising agency. Look, I know all the Chatsnap and Instantgram videos and other #onbrand #content that fans love is really to lure potential recruits but maybe it’s time to dial it back. If the architects of the Husker Brand are so concerned with its image that Fox Sports is asked to stop running a promotional video that shows the goddamn Nebraska Cornhuskers standing in a goddamn cornfield, you might as well change the team name to the Silicon Prairie Dogs and put helmet cams on every player and stream the games live on Twitch.

During the summer, the Huskers digital department posted a video of Tristan Gebbia and a few other young players exploring all of downtown’s attractions like Raising Canes (whatever the hell that is) and Chipotle (Taco John’s for life) and other fast casual restaurants. I know kids these days are special and unique snowflakes but if their decision to come to Lincoln hinges on mediocre dining options then maybe they’re not the right players.

Back in my day if you ever saw a football player stroll into a downtown restaurant, you gave them a wide berth and didn’t make eye contact just like gazelles do when a lion saunters up to the watering hole.

And here’s the important thing. None of those guys gave two shits about living in a college town that was considered cool to people outside Nebraska. The only media exposure they got was a yearly black and white picture in the Husker Media Guide and they were happy. If any of them were asked to take over the Huskers Instagram account for day, the first thing posted would be a video of the Husker digital intern who bothered them with that dumb question getting his spine ripped out because those guys came to Lincoln to do two things: play football and kick ass.

TANNER LEE: I’m not going to go back and see which interception it was but there was a moment during the game where Tanner was on the bench getting some words of encouragement from Joshua Kalu. Dude, you’re the quarterback and a captain and the Huskers are your team. Get off the bench and fire up your teammates, unless throwing a “nice ball” to other teams is literally your only skill.

THE OFFENSIVE LINE: There was once a unit that went an entire season without giving up a single sack. It’d be nice if these guys could stop giving up a sack every series.

THE BLACKSHIRTS: Handing out 16 Blackshirts before the season begins is like handing out 16 participation trophies before a game starts. But Bob Diaco’s defense has quietly given up only one touchdown in the last six quarters despite the lack of a total badass to anchor the defense and send fear into the hearts into the team on the other side of the ball. Was Randy Gregory the last one? Sure feels like it. Oh wait. There was Nate Gerry, when he could bother to not be suspended.

THE SOCKS: During the pre-game show before the Oregon game, Matt Davison went on a little rant about how the Huskers no longer wear matching socks and it ruins the look of the uniform. At the time it seemed like a minor quibble but while watching the Huskers play like shit, I noticed they look like shit. That socks thing is kind of a big deal. You see white socks, red socks, black socks, high socks, and low socks. They look like a Pop Warner team where everything was included except the socks and the coach told the players to wear whatever they like. To bring it back to the 90s glory days one more time, I had a classmate in Sports Broadcasting class who was dating a football player. During warmups she pointed him out from up in the booth and told us that he was intentionally wearing his socks low so that he would stand out on the field (this was during the time of the red knee highs that Davison loved). When he went in to make his first punt return of day, the ref halted the game and ordered him to fix his socks so he matched his teammates.

Being on the same page with the little shit turns into being on the same page with the big shit… like not getting beat at home by Northern Illinois.

Alright. I’ve ranted enough. The early bird special starts in six hours at IHOP. I better go get in line.

MIKE RILEY’S BALLOON WATCH

We’ve reached football armageddon, people. And it’s only week four.


 

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Announcing the Big Red Fury Red Elephant Christmas Spectacular

Like, for real. Can someone please explain how exactly the wheels fell off the Big Red wagon the last couple of weeks?

Due to relocating the Big Red Fury World HQ to a new top secret location that almost qualifies as Rose Bowl adjacent, I’ve kind of lost track of what’s been happening with the Huskers (seriously people, don’t ever move) but here’s a rundown of the awesome news I’ve been able to catch.

Unless he gets a last minute leg transplant, Tommy Armstrong probably won’t be playing in the Music City Bowl.  In other words, it’s ride or die time for Ryker.

Noted hot pants wearer Jordan Westerkamp is out due to a torn meniscus. Granted that injury is probably not at all related to his aversion to knee pads but why not do what you can to protect the important goods?

Thanks for the all the memories and good times, roomies.

A bunch of prized recruits decided to peace out… but Keyshawn Jr. didn’t!

And the most baffling of all… senior captain Nate Gerry was ruled ineligible for the Music City Bowl due to flunking some (or all) of his classes, if he even bothered to go in the first place (depending on which rumor you believe).

How in the name of Bob Devaney is it even possible for a student athlete to straight up flunk classes? JFC… I didn’t even have a fraction of the academic resources that are at an athlete’s disposal during my time at Husker U. and somehow managed to graduate as a solid B- student while skipping more than my fair share of classes (and only had to retake one) during that five year span.


Now that the bad news is out of the way, let’s get to the stuff that’s really important.

On Sunday, aka Christmas Day, we’re going to have the first ever Big Red Fury Red Elephant Christmas Spectacular.

What is this, you ask?

Oh, let me tell you.

On Christmas Day, between 1 – 2pm Runza Standard Time, I’m going to tweet out some Husker trivia questions. First correct response for each one wins a red elephant gift.

What’s a red elephant gift, you ask?

Oh, let me tell you.

A red elephant is the same as a white elephant with the major difference being these gifts will be Husker themed and they will be spectacular.

That’s both a threat AND a promise.

Give @BigRed_Fury a follow on Twitter so you don’t miss out on the fun and have a perfect excuse to avoid your family for a while on Christmas Day.


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It’s Already Been a Week?

The best part about being your own boss is dictating your own schedule.

A week has passed since the Huskers ended their regular season by getting taken to the woodshed by Iowa and I’m only writing about it now because, quite frankly, I didn’t want to deal with thinking about that damn game.

A season that started with so much hope and promise flat out belly flopped on the Kinnick Stadium turf. (Writing that sentence alone is giving me a serious TUMS craving. Or maybe that’s the box of cereal I had for lunch.)

Out of the Huskers’ three regular season losses, losing to Iowa by far hurt the worst and not just because it was stinkin’ Iowa.

Coming up short in overtime in a winnable game against Wisconsin stung but proved the Huskers were ready to compete with anyone in the Big Ten, for at least a week anyway.

Getting blown out 62-3  by Ohio State seven days later showed there was plenty of room for growth before being able to compete with every Big Ten team but the thing about getting trucked like that is that sometimes it’s just your turn to get eaten by the bear to paraphrase The Stranger from the Big Lebowski.

Losing to Iowa, though, was a whole new level of ugly, like getting farted on during a lap dance in a Council Bluffs strip club kind of ugly.

There was no justifiable reason for the Huskers to have even have been in a situation where that could have happened but everything that could wrong did go wrong, starting with Bad Tommy coming out to play.

Side story time…

My good buddy Marc joined us at our local Husker bar to watch his first ever Nebraska game on purpose.  He’s a die-hard USC fan and for the last three years our Dodger season tickets have been a couple rows behind his and his father’s. Marc’s meltdowns are the stuff legend in our section. He let it be known well in advance that he was looking forward to seeing myself and fellow Big Red Fury writer/Dodger fan, Leslie Micek, get heated like he does when the Dodgers blow an 8th inning lead.

Thanks to the Huskers laying an egg from the get go, our level of outward rage didn’t peaked at “disappointed grandpa,” which, if you’ve ever disappointed your grandpa, you know is the worst kind of rage. That I’m-so-mad-I-can’t-even-talk-to-you kind of rage that makes you question your very place on this Earth.

Our lack of conversation gave Marc plenty of time to observe the Huskers. He fit right in too, even yelling “holding” right on cue with everyone else who noticed penalties that the Big Ten refs are seemingly blind to.

Marc’s big observation involved the lack of creativity the Huskers’ offense.

1st down: Get stuffed with a run up the middle.
2nd down: Swing pass to the sideline that goes nowhere.
3rd down: YOLObomb that lands in a green sea of empty turf.

At one point Marc sincerely asked us if Tommy always played like he did against Iowa and how much worse the Huskers backups had to be if they weren’t getting any PT.

After explaining that Tommy was basically playing on one leg and how the holder was the emergency third string quarterback, he simply shook his head in awe that we’re able to saddle up Huskers week in and week out.

It’s what we Husker fans do. Ride or die, ya know.

On to the usual stuff…


Mike Riley’s Balloon Watch
mike-riley-flaming-pile-of-poo
Oh how we didn’t miss you, flaming poop emoji.

Our Score Prediction

Honestly, I should have known the Huskers were going to be doomed thanks to the random drunk Jedi. I only wanted Chewbacca in the video but he insisted they worked as a team so I gave him $7 thinking they’d split it like a couple of Hollywood Blvd’s Spider-Men do. When we were done filming, which took exactly as long as the video above, he asked for his cut. I told him I only had a buck left and that’s all I could give him so homeboy had the audacity to pull out a Square credit card reader and had the balls to ask for $20 for his performance.

The last costumed weirdo to pull that move was a Captain America before the Miami game last year and we know how that one turned out.

You’re dead to me, Chewie.

What a Husker crowd looks like after Iowa has walked most of the room.

NUMBERS TO DEPRESS YOUR FRIENDS WITH

I don’t even want to look. Enjoy this courtside view of the Husker basketball team instead. They didn’t look to bad against UCLA.


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The Best of #IowaHateWeek

While the Big Ten rivalry between the Nebraska and Iowa is still in its infancy, Husker Twitter is doing its best to make it happen with #IowaHateWeek.

Since the final whistle of the Maryland game, zingers have been lobbed over the Missouri River 140 characters at a time.

Before you get your classiest fans in college football panties up in a bunch, keep in mind that #IowaHateWeek is all in good fun and it’s all funny because it’s all true.

Solid and timely. Next time use a current photo of Memorial Stadium though ; )

Who says millennials  contribute nothing to society?

(Oh wait. This tweet was probably written by a member of Generation Z. Haha, Millennials. You’re getting old.)

Props the Big Red Cobcast dudes for using a $5 word like celestial.

ProTip: Use 0s instead of Os to make a password stronger.

That last query is due to this…

That is a real newspaper headline and it led to this…

Good ol’ Iowa. Terrified by the guy who ate 1995 Tommie Frazier.

This one goes out to my brother and his family.  We visited them for Christmas last year and the most fascinating thing about Des Moines was that Iowa’s largest city boasted not one but TWO video stores and they were BOTH hiring.

If you get punk’d by a squirrel, give up.

This one gets self-promoted solely on the basis of how much work it was to hit Google Image Search gold and find an Iowa fan using a computer.

The most disgusting part of that photo is the black and yellow overalls. Such a horrible combo.

I hope drunk stepdad gets a shirt for Christmas.

Lil’ Red threw so much fire his suit got a lil’ melty.

So dumb. So perf.

We’ve ALL dated Iowa.  And speaking of crazy chicks, you definitely want to swipe left if you run across this felon on Tinder.

Marvel at Iowa City’s best worst criminals by scrolling through the Iowa City Crime Report and you’ll be convinced Iowa is the Florida of the Midwest.


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Sunday Evening Hot Takes: Maryland Edition

As an In-N-Out enthusiast, Mike Riley might be calling the Maryland game his coaching Double Double.

OK, probably not. But get a load of the ways the Huskers doubled up the Terrapins.

Total Yards

Nebraska 401
Maryland 207

Time of Possession
Nebraska 39:00
Maryland 21:00

If this recap is already dripping with all the excitement of an owner’s manual for an alarm clock, it’s because there isn’t much to work with on this one.

Outside of oohing and aahing like it was the 4th of July every time Ryker Fyfe completed one of his 23 passes, this was by far the most non-exciting game of the season. Even the vanilla Fresno State game had the newness of a season opener going for it and a 22 point 4th quarter to make sure everyone paid attention to end.

Not that there’s ever anything wrong with boring when the Huskers leave the field with a win AND hold their opponent to 11 yards rushing. The seniors got a great sendoff, a touching tribute was paid Sam Foltz, and the newest Husker Jack Johnson had the best day ever.

Meanwhile, 15 of Husker Nation’s finest rolled out of bed to make a 9am kickoff.

Before you label us a boring crowd of Husker fans, just know that we were saving our energy for the social event of the season- #IOWAHATEWEEK.

Mike Riley’s Balloon Watch
mike-riley-happy-balloon9a
Did you know one of HCMR’s nicknames is Ol’ Nine Balloons Riley?

Our Score Prediction

Had we known back in August that Ryker would be starting this one we certainly would have dialed down the offensive output a smidge.

NUMBERS TO IMPRESS YOUR FRIENDS WITH

3: It was a career Senior Day for Terrell Newby as he found the end zone three times, setting a personal single game record. One more and he would have entered Al Bundy territory.

175: The yardage Terrell Newby needs to hit 1,000 on the ground for the season. Still not outside the realm of possibility.

.705: The Huskers are batting over .700 on 4th down, going 12 for 17 on the year so far.

9, 10, 11: As a college coach Mike Riley has hit the 9 win mark four times and got to 10 once back in 2006. He’s never had an 11 win season.

60/40: The run/pass split is currently a dead even 60/40. Last season it was 52/48.  This isn’t by any means a sexy statistic but keep in in your back pocket if Uncle Run the Ball Guy goes on a rant about the Huskers running less this season over Thanksgiving dinner. You’ll show him who’s boss.

6: This one is really going down the rabbit hole of extreme randomness but did you know that six different Huskers attempted a pass back in 2006? Zac Taylor, Joe Ganz, Dan Titchener, Maurice Purify, Marlon Lucky, and Jake Wesch?  Maybe you could win a bet with Uncle Run the Ball Guy with that useless nugget.

Oh the things you find skimming through seasons of stats when you’re trying to avoid writing about a boring game.


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Say Hello to Maryland, the Huskers’ Next Victim

It seems like the season was just getting started and now the Maryland game is here.

By late afternoon, Memorial Stadium will fall silent. The Sea of Red won’t roar again in Lincoln until 2017.

The final home game of the season marks the very first time the Huskers will be squaring off against the mighty Terrapins. If the Big Red can somehow manage to beat a team that was also edged out by Ohio State 62-3, they will notch their ninth win of the season and finish with a perfect home record for the first time since 2012.

Will it be Tommy Armstrong Jr. who gets to lead the Huskers to victory one last time in front of the home crowd, or will it be Ryker Fyfe who gets to lead the Huskers to victory for the first time?

Since that question probably won’t be answered until kickoff, let’s focus on the week’s important drama for a moment.

What the hell happened to the $5 Bits of Broken Chair Trophy?

Brandon Cavanaugh has a great breakdown of this travesty in the making on his site Eight Laces.  93.7 The Ticket all but confirmed it’s gone forever and a Change.org petition has been started to bring it back. You can add your name here.

It’s a total bummer to see the best trophy game in the Big Ten go away so unceremoniously. The biggest sign of all that it’s donezo is that there has been nary a peep from the Huskers’ Twitter account, which never passes up an opportunity for some sweet meme action. The ignore-it-and-hope-goes-away silence is deafening.

If the $5 Bits of Broken Chair Trophy really is retired, why not at least auction it off and have the proceeds go to charity? That would make Nebraska’s budding rivalry with Minnesota really worth something. (Assuming the trophy hasn’t already been chucked in a dumpster in the dead of night.)

Alright, let’s get back to Maryland.

Look, the Terrapins don’t boast a 5-5 record due to an overabundance of skill.  Their players can’t even go on a BB gun rampage without getting arrested. You think those geniuses will be able to contain DPE? Heck no. If the Blackshirts can contain the turtles’ running game, they should be in good shape to get the win even with Larry the Cable Guy taking the snaps.

The Huskers’ game plan on offense should be to let the running backs take care of business and only throw the ball to seniors standing wide open in the end zone. Do you realize Brandon Reilly hasn’t caught a touchdown pass since hauling in the game winner against Michigan State last year? Let’s get him another one at home before he leaves us.

Huskers 45
Maryland 23

BONUS CONTENT: If you end up sitting next to a Maryland fan, here are some things to know about The Old Line State

Crab Cakes are basically Maryland’s corn and Runza rolled into one. Do not speak ill of Crab Cakes unless you’re itching to start a fight.

Six Marylands could fit comfortably within Nebraska’s borders. Its wacky shape helps hide the fact that it ranks #42 in land area, coming in just ahead of Hawaii.

On the flip side, Maryland’s population density is nearly 25 times higher than Nebraska’s. To put that into perspective, Nebraska’s population would have to swell to 46 million people to achieve the same density. That might help explain why everyone in The Wire was so angry all the time. There’s no breathing room.

Finally, the state motto of Maryland is “Fatti Maschii, Parole Femine” which literally translates from archaic Italian to mean “Manly Deeds, Womanly Words.” Extra bonus points for you if you can work that into a heckle.


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Guess there’s a game today, huh?

Get excited. There’s a Husker game tonight.

What? You’re not pumped by the fact there’s a reasonable chance that the kid who currently plays holder could end up under center this evening?

Look people, there are two important things to know about this game.

1. No matter what happened this week, it is still gameday. We don’t get many of these a year and after this one there are only three of them left, barring any awful miracle that could lead to the Huskers playing Ohio State again.

2. Minnesota is not to be confused with Wisconsin or Ohio State. Granted, potential disaster is always on the table but there’s no way the Golden Gophers will hang 62 points on the Huskers, so that’s a good thing.

Minnesota comes to Lincoln with an identical 7-2 record, with their losses coming against Penn State (26-29 in OT) and Iowa (7-14, yes, they played all four quarters in that one).

The Gophers notched their big wins of the season against… um… wait a second… uh… nope… they really haven’t beaten a team that’s marginally good.

Then again, their numbers in wins against common opponents with the Huskers are similar enough to raise concern. Try these on for size.

Illinois
Huskers 31-16
Gophers 40-17

Purdue
Huskers 27-14
Gophers 44-31

Whatever though. This is Minnesota we’re talking about. It’s important to note that both Illinois and Purdue were softened up by the Huskers first. It’s not hard to beat a team when it has already been flogged into demoralizing submission by the Big Red.

While the Big Ten scheduling gods have been mostly nice to Minnesota, this game is where the Gophers start a gauntlet to end their regular season. After Nebraska, Wisconsin and Northwestern are on deck.

Even with Ryker or Zack at the wheel, the Huskers should be able to handle this one. If there was ever a time to turn the running backs loose, it’s tonight. A steady diet of Newby, Ozigbo, and Wilbon plus a touchdown by the Blackshirts should get the Huskers all the points they need to keep the $5 Bits of Broken Chair Trophy in Lincoln for another year. As much of a gamer as he is, there’s no reason for Tommy to risk taking another shot to the head so soon.

Huskers 44
Gophers 20
(Don’t laugh. We made this prediction back in August and we’re sticking to it. YOLO.)

mike-riley-carl-spackler
Mike Riley. Master football strategist. Caddy to the Dali Lama.


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The Saddest Thing I’ve Ever Done

Saturday, November 5: 6:47pm

It’s 13 minutes before the Ohio State game and I am weirdly calm. Mike Riley has even coached me to stay calm and just relax at game time. It’s oddly reassuring. I’m just over here sipping a Budweiser and waiting for the game to begin. The Huskers have a chance to pull this off. My score prediction is 28-21. I think it’s going to be close but the Huskers want this. They know what it feels like to have a failed season and don’t want it to happen again. This Ohio State team doesn’t really know that feeling. Something just tells me that this game is going to go to the good guys. The Huskers. I know this team is beaten up and I’m sure I will be posting my post game reaction and feeling totally different. Like a moron. Because that’s what Husker fans have come to expect. Disappointment. But not tonight. I won’t accept that this season is ending tonight. I can’t.

7:15pm

Tommy threw a pick six on the first drive… might start watching Bama LSU

8:18pm

Ohio State: 21, Nebraska: 3

Actually might start watching Bama LSU

8:28pm

Punt recovered by Nebraska. I see hope. But it might be the beer talking.

8:38pm

It’s been a few minutes since Tommy went down. I’m scared. He is being carted off. He just gave the thumbs up. Who cares about this game at this point, just want him to be OK. Tommy has been the heart and soul of Nebraska for the past few years. He really is the best player on the team just because I never ever see him give up. And that’s all I can ask.

8:42pm

Ryker is in after Tommy is taken to the hospital. Morale is low. Hope is disappearing. I’m running low on beer.

9:25pm

12 seconds into the second half. Touchdown Ohio State. I feel like I’m watching a train wreck. Why am I still watching this?

9:41pm

So Tommy is just running back into the stadium in scrubs right now. The guy is a damn robot. Just happy to see him back.

10:09pm

Ohio State: something over 50, Huskers:3

I’m done with this blog

Tuesday, November 8: 6:20pm

Remember when I thought it was smart to attempt to live blog a Nebraska vs. OSU game? I do. And I’m a delusional idiot.


For real time hot takes from Leslie, follow her on Twitter- @lesmicek

 

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Sunday Afternoon Hot Takes: Ohio State Edition

In case you were lucky enough to miss last night’s debacle, here’s a recap of all you need to know.

Where do we even begin? This was such a vicious, unbridled ass kicking it should have come with a trigger warning.

Without subjecting myself to the digital paper cuts of verifying exactly where this loss ranks among historical beat downs, these are the first pummelings that come to mind that no amount of therapy has been able to erase.

Texas Tech, 2004 – Remember how we were tricked into thinking  this game could be chalked up to the growing pains of installing the West Coast Offense and not the harbinger of doom that Bill Callahan was a lousy coach?

Colorado, 2001 – The go-to game when it’s time to point to the one that ruined it all.

Miami, 2002 – Proved the previous game wasn’t a fluke.

Miami, 1992 – The shutout that led to a dynasty.

Arizona State, 1996 – The shutout that ended a dynasty.

Missouri, 2008 – Remember how we were tricked into believing that these meltdowns would stop when Bo Pelini had “his” players and not the harbinger of doom that Pelini was a lousy coach?

Wisconsin, 2014 – OK we get it now. Please make it stop.

Laser Tag, 1987 – Out of all the savage and merciless beat downs I’ve ever endured, this one hits the closest to home and is the most analogous to what transpired last night in Columbus. This one bubbled up while listening to Big Red Overreaction on the way home. Thanks, Damon Benning.

Buckle up, kids. It’s story time.

The scene, Grand Island, NE. 1987. Fifth grade. The martial arts fad inspired by the Karate Kid had finally died out and what had been a downtown dojo was transformed into a futuristic Laser Tag arena.  No longer would we be subjected to playing in dingy basements. (Playgrounds and parks were off-limits after a kid in California was shot by a police officer who thought he had a real gun.) We finally had a real Laser Tag arena that was worthy of the booming metropolis that was Nebraska’s third largest city.

My friends and I played there every chance we could. The arena boasted pro-level equipment, a maze of unfinished plywood, and more black lights than an above average bong store.

It wasn’t long before the management invited us to join a league that was forming. We knew right away that this was destined to be our first step on the path towards becoming professional Laser Tag players. There was no professional league yet but there would be. Laser Tag was the sport of the future and we weren’t going to waste this opportunity.

In the two weeks leading up to our first match, we put ourselves though boot camp. We had conditioning workouts at recess and strategy sessions after school. Down in our basement we built a replica of the arena out of refrigerator boxes that we dragged home from an appliance store so we could practice close quarters combat in secret. We were so driven and obsessed we should have planned a bank robbery instead. We probably would have gotten away with it.

Our debut match was on a school night which made it that much more special. After enduring the longest day ever, my mom dropped the four of us Lazer Boltz (the still crummy team name I had to think up on the spot when we signed up for the league) off outside the arena.

We were still on the curb when our competition pulled up.

In their own cars.

Not only were they high school kids, they were the kind of of long haired metal heads you avoided at the pool and ran from at the mall. The deep end and arcade was their turf and we were grateful to be occasional guests.

Now we were about to be locked in a pitch black room with them and would be trapped in there until victors emerged.

Still, we liked our chances. While these kids were busy smoking cigarettes and listening to records backwards, we were training. In an egalitarian and utopian sport such as Laser Tag, it didn’t matter that we were each outweighed by 100lbs.

Until it did matter.

The Lazer Boltz started out strong but we were soon over matched when our foes realized that no referee in the arena meant that an abstract concept such as “rules” didn’t need to exist. They systematically chased us down like a pack of raptors and wrestled us into full nelsons and executed us at point blank range.

The yellow belt I earned in that very room six months earlier would prove to be no match for brute size and strength but at least I knew how to take a punch.

The Lazer Boltz disbanded after our first and only match. My mom flew off the handle on the guy who ran the place when she returned to find a quartet of sniveling kids on the curb. Turned out we were the only actual children in the league and were invited to only to help boost the numbers.

None of us ever returned.  The arena went out of business a few months later.


By this point,  Husker Nation should know how to take a gut punch and roll with it. A team can practice hard and do everything right but sometimes it’s going to walk into a buzz saw from which there will be no escape. All you can do is take your lumps, move on, and get better.

Last night, Ohio State was that buzz saw and the Huskers were humiliated on the national stage. It’s wasn’t the first time and it won’t be the last time. Shit happens and sometimes that shit is a scoreboard that reads 62-3.

In my preview of the game, I said that Tommy Armstrong Jr. could cement his legacy at Nebraska by leading the Huskers to victory. Instead, he cemented it by walking back onto the field in medical scrubs 58 minutes after he was strapped to a spinal board and taken to the hospital with his future hanging in the balance. In a night marked by defeat, this was the bigger victory.

Now for the usual Sunday stuff.

Mike Riley’s Balloon Watch
mike-riley-happy-balloon-hindenburg
Shout out to @KingJHip for suggesting the Hindenburg.

Our Score Prediction

fullsizerender2Just a little off with the Huskers winning 28-21. Then again, nobody saw this one coming.

It should be noted that the contingent of Ohio State fans was (mostly) gracious in victory and just as concerned for Tommy as Husker fans were.

img_9974Hey kids, don’t lick dry erase marker.

img_9976Thanks for helping make us forget this game ever happened, Vinnie.

NUMBERS TO IMPRESS YOUR FRIENDS WITH

Add the first four items up and you get a pregame YOLObomb. (Click the link to watch a video of the shenanigans.)

img_9969
Nothing says eating your feelings like an ice cream sandwich of defeat.


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