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Welcome to the Groundhog Day of Miserable Saturdays

This time last Saturday morning I was doing the exact same thing that I’m doing right now- sitting on the couch in our TV room, drinking coffee, watching a college football game I don’t care about, and writing a half assed blog about the misery I will be enduring in a few hours.

The Scheduling Gods hate me.  

The only indicator that this is indeed a new Saturday is the palm sweat that breaks out whenever I think about what’s in store for the evening. The stakes for my two favorite teams have been ratcheted up a little higher. The Dodgers are one step closer to the World Series and the Huskers have the potential to pull off an upset against Ohio State, or have their season get even worse.

At least there was a little breathing room between the Huskers and the Dodgers last Saturday night. Thanks to the magic of living in the future I was able to stream most of the first half of the Wisconsin game. For the first four plays the offense was rolling on a gravy train with biscuit wheels and all was right with the world.

Then Tanner Lee had to throw another opening drive pick six that was virtually identical to his first one against Northern Illinois.

Then I screamed “motherf*cker” in a half empty Dodger Stadium.

My reflexive yell scared the bejeesus out of the fella we’ve sat next to for the past four seasons. As a Dodger fan, I’ve been through thick and thin with Don but it always surprises him when Crazy Husker Fan Todd makes an appearance at the ballpark. Adding to my personal hell was the fact that his wife is as big an Iowa fan as he is a Dodger fan so she was having a mighty good time at the Huskers’ expense.

If you’re keeping score at home, the stress eating stopped when the baseball game started. The playoffs make me way too nervous to eat anything other than my rally towel. 

After Stanley Morgan Jr. took a terrific 80 yard reception to the end zone, it was time for Dodger baseball so I tucked my iPad under my seat and felt good about Huskers only being down 10-7 at halftime.

Somehow that halftime score became 17-10 but I was feeling really good when Aaron Williams tied it up with a pick six of his own. The Dodgers were on the board and the Huskers were setting the table for an upset.

Then the Badgers remembered their playbook was full of unstoppable running plays and spent the remainder of the game shoving the ball down the Blackshirts’ throat. Meanwhile, the Dodgers methodically hung up six runs over two innings with a lone double as the biggest hit. If there was a baseball equivalent of three yards and a cloud of dust, the Dodgers were doing it.

I learned last Saturday night that there’s no weirder purgatory of a feeling than screaming your head off for one team while feeling completely miserable about the other.

Will tonight be any different?

Who knows?

It will either be really good, really craptastic, or somewhere in the middle. Whatever I gain by not having to deal with the trash Ohio State fans who overtake our shared watch site, I lose by having to deal with obnoxious Cubs fans who always swarm Dodger Stadium.

At least the Dodgers added a new churro sundae served in a helmet to the menu for this weekend. If I shovel one of these down between kickoff and first pitch I’ll be ready for anything tonight.

I really hope those are pieces of a full size churro.

Go Huskers. Let’s go Dodgers.

One of these years they’ll both win on the same night.


 

 

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If you start out depressed, everything’s kind of a pleasant surprise.

STATE OF THE SEASON:

Nebraska football is like an ex boyfriend, it makes me sad only because I think it can make me happy. I was ready to find alternate Saturday plans after the first three Husker games of the season. I was thinking about taking up roller derby, or volunteering, or just becoming an Alabama fan (Roll Tide), but after just one mediocre Husker win, I have been sucked back into the sink hole that is Nebraska football. I am now convinced there is at least a 3.8% chance they beat Wisconsin after this lay up of a game against Illinois.

And can we talk about how much Friday night games (or Friday games in general, get rid of the Black Friday game permanently, please) stink? I want to watch high school football on a Friday night, not football that reminds me of high school football. Also, I am a routine person and I have a very specific fall Saturday routine. How the hell am I just supposed to get in the groove on a Friday night? I use my Fridays to relax and hit the hay early before I wake up at 4am and panic until Gameday starts. It’s just not right.

Can Mike Riley win back the hearts of Husker Nation?

Plus, Illinois is coming off a bye and the Huskers have a short week? What genius agreed to this? Oh, I think he was just canned, for good reason, because this is absolutely moronic. The only good thing is that if the Huskers lose, I already know what excuse I’m giving, it’s always nice to be prepared. Short rest everyone, that’s the excuse we will be going with. Have it prepared should you need it.

WE’RE OVER NORTHERN ILLINOIS (no I’m not) AND ONTO ACTUAL ILLINOIS

You would be hard pressed to come up with a list of positive things to say about the Huskers this season so I’m just going to say a bunch of negative things about the other team. When Illinois played before their well timed bye, Lovie Smith took his band of losers down to Tampa and got absolutely rocked by Charlie Strong and USF. Under no circumstances should B1G teams be getting knocked around by these little schools, but here we are (Hello, Northern Illinois). Anyway, Illinois had 3 turnovers during the game which is also something I can’t make fun of, this is turning out to be a list of negative things about Nebraska, how did that happen? I’m going to stop looking at Illinois stats now because they are just telling me that Nebraska is equally as bad.

The Blackshirts have been looking better, the only problem is the offense is looking as bad as the defense looks good. Nebraska can win this game IF Tanner Lee isn’t a turnover machine and to be honest, I don’t know that I see that happening. I think we should all agree that if Tanner throws 2 picks, he is out and POB is in. Why not try it? It can’t get worse. Another great excuse to have ready is that basically the entire team is injured. The O-line is a disaster. Stanley Morgan Jr.  is traveling but who knows how much he will play. Tre Bryant, out. Kalu, out. Marcus Newby, out. The positive news of the week is that Chris Jones seems to be on the mend faster than people expected, he told us he would be, and I appreciate a man that keeps his promise. Now when will you actually be back in a game, Chris? I’m hoping the offense comes out a little bit calmer and ready to go without relying on the defense to clean up their mess.

I guess I’m going with Nebraska 24, Illinois 14.

P.S. There is a very slim chance that you will even see this considering the last few of my blogs have been deleted because Word Press is the devil but if you happen to see this, thanks for reading and I just want you to know that my blog about the Oregon game was the best blog of all time and just because you didn’t see it doesn’t mean you can’t refer to it as such.  Whatever, Go Big Red. Also, Go Dodgers.

P.P.S. That goddamn Kirk Herbstreit. I knew the second he picked Nebraska to win vs Northern Illinois that the Huskers were toast. I think he picked Nebraska every time they lost last season. He probably has a little voodoo doll at home that he puts pins in and then goes and says the Huskers are going to win and laughs to himself. Cut it out, man.


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


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It’s Time For a Happy Little Win: Here’s Your Wisconsin Pep Talk

Ask yourself this.

Did you really, like, really, really think the Huskers would be undefeated and the 7th ranked team in the nation heading into the Wisconsin game?

If the answer is yes, congrats. You might be qualified to be an expert contributor to this site. Our preseason predictions for the Huskers were nothing but Ws… until things potentially go off the rails next week in Columbus.

But let’s focus on tonight in Madison.

This is game is exactly what we all wanted. The only way it could be any better is if Wisconsin wasn’t already softened up by Michigan and Ohio State. Taking down an unbeaten (and surely top 5) team would quiet any complaints about the Huskers’ weak schedule. Still, joining the Wolverines and Buckeyes in the elite club of Badger pummelers isn’t too shabby.

The Huskers are long overdue for a win against Wisconsin and there’s no better place to do it than their home turf.

On a Saturday night.

On Bob Ross’ birthday.

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The greatest American painter who ever lived would have turned 74 today. While I never saw him celebrate a victory by his college football team, there’s no doubt he would have been a hip hip hooray kind of guy. Then he’d go right back to being the chillest rascal who ever lived.

Is it going to be disappointing in the unlikely event that the Huskers lose? Hell yes. Will the Earth stop spinning? Only for a few days.

Until that happens though, let’s enjoy this one as much as possible.

Husker Nation is living the dream right now and there’s no reason for one game to turn things into a nightmare season.

The deck is going to stacked against the Big Red in Camp Randall Stadium but do you know who’s going to be standing strong on the Nebraska sideline like a happy little tree refusing to buckle during a mighty storm?

Mike Riley.

By now we should all accept the fact that, like Bob Ross, Riley is completely unflappable. Granted, an errant YOLObomb is a little more severe than a happy accident but there’s nothing he hasn’t seen before. If the shit hits the fan we can rest easy knowing he’s not going to lose his. And that’s going to make a huge difference this time around.

Things might get a little hairy but we gotta let the game play out for a full 60 minutes, especially if we want to get to the part where the Huskers have been owning the last 15.

Nebraska wins this one 26-20. GBR.

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Shawn Eichorst’s Letter to Fans Annotated

Early today Shawn Eichorst sent out a letter to Husker Nation, thanking the Big Red faithful for their unwavering support during a season which is shaping up to be the worst since the Eishenhower administration.

While Eichorst’s letter is certainly welcome and noble in spirit, it does fly in the face of his previously established policy of not commenting on a coach’s performance during the season.

Or does that policy fly out the door when his job is suddenly on the line too?

Below is Eichorst’s letter in-full. Our notes are in parenthesis.

Dear Husker Family,

Good morning. (What a relief to arrive at work and still have a job.) 


I want to express my sincere appreciation to every Husker fan who has come to Memorial Stadium this season to cheer on the Big Red; who has traveled hundreds or thousands of miles to proudly wear the red and white (Dude! SCARLET AND CREAM) in visiting stadiums; (What? No mention of the hundreds or thousands of dollars fans have spent?) and who has passionately supported our student-athletes, our head coach, our assistant coaches and staff. Your support and patience (Thank you for not egging our homes or slashing our tires.)  as Mike Riley rebuilds our storied program one brick at a time mean (Typo alert!) the world to our young men, our staff and our university.

While many are understandably disappointed in the current record of the football team and the heartbreakingly close losses we have suffered (UNDERSTATEMENT OF THE YEAR), I am confident the future is bright (Bright enough to have to wear shades?) because I see it in the eyes of our players, coaches and staff and I am impressed by what I know is going on behind the scenes. (Maybe you could fill us in on the details?) Our coaches are developing our student-athletes and, though the consistent victories are not there yet, I am confident they will come. I have witnessed how our young men battle every day in practice and fight to the finish on game days in the face of great adversity. Football can be a humbling game of inches (That goal post can’t block every field goal against Wisconsin.) and seconds (It doesn’t help that poor play calling is giving the opposition as many seconds as possible.) and our players have laid everything on the line while making no excuses. (Pretty sure there have been at least a couple.) The prospective student-athletes looking to make Nebraska home possess athletic talent, academic potential, and high character making for a bright future. (OK, now you’re getting repetitive.) Coach Riley has a vision and a plan and is committed to providing the Husker faithful with a sustained winner which will compete (That’s an awfully broad word, bro. I can technically say I competed against the Ethiopian Armada that time I ran the LA Marathon.) annually for championships. (As much fun as it is, the $5 Bits o’ Broken Chair Trophy doesn’t really count.)

As I have said many times, it is an honor and privilege to represent Nebraska, (Keep talking, Wisconsin native.) and I am humbled and care deeply about the men and women I have a chance to work with every day here. The incredible amount of hours they put in and the sacrifices they all make to represent Nebraska are truly remarkable. (Tell me about it. I wake up early on Saturdays to watch this train wreck.) In two decades as a student-athlete and athletics administrator, I have had the opportunity to learn and work alongside some incredible people at five different institutions. (What a GREAT tidbit to add the next time you update your LinkedIn.) What the best administrators and coaches have in common is a consistent commitment to teaching young minds to do things the right way and to instill a values system that emphasizes hard work, discipline, loyalty, teamwork, compassion and excellence. (You forgot the part about buying motivational books in airports.) Those principles coupled with a positive attitude generally (Picked a good time to throw in a qualifier.) result in championships.

Your continued support (Money.) is what makes Nebraska special and together, we will do great things. (And I won’t have to look for a new job.) Thank you again for your incredible passion and support. (You people really have no other hobbies, do you?) We look forward to another home sellout and an electric environment on Saturday as we come together to cheer on our team against Michigan State.

Have a great week and Go Big Red!

Shawn Eichorst
(Way to try and sneak under the radar by not reminding us of your title.)

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Is Mike Riley Too Old to Coach the Huskers?

Welcome to the first Monday of 2015. No need to beat around the bush. It’s time to get down to business.

Buried in the 17th paragraph of Omaha World-Herald staff writer Dirk Chatelain’s account of following new Husker head coach Mike Riley around the Holiday Bowl was this observation:

Riley isn’t “cool” like Tim Miles. The man is 61 years old, for goodness sakes. But he is respected.

First off, aside from goody two shoes named Dirk, who under the age of 61 has ever used the phrase for goodness sakes?

Second off, was that Omaha World-Herald staff writer Dirk Chatelain’s subtle way of planting the first seeds of doubt about Riley’s abilities to lead the Huskers at such an advanced age?

Mike Riley Holiday Bowl
Senior Citizen and Husker head coach Mike Riley looking young and hip in a hoodie at the 2014 Holiday Bowl.

Before we proceed any further, consider this: Without even coaching a single game, Mike Riley already holds the record for oldest head coach in Husker football history. By the time the 2015 season kicks off, he’ll be 62.

Tom Osborne coached his last game at 60.

Frank Solich was fired at 59.

Bob Devaney was 56 when he turned the reigns over to TO. And if you’re keeping score at home, Devaney was the very first to lead the Big Red while in his 50s.

Trust us, we looked at every Huskers head coach all the way back to the Bugeaters era.

Along the way, we did make the amazing discovery that Ewald O. Stiehm was the head coach of the Husker football AND basketball teams during his time at dear old Nebraska U. from 1911 – 1915. He did he same at Indiana for a couple years before dying of stomach cancer at age 37. Could modern medicine prove that Stiehm simply had a gnarly ulcer from the stress of coaching two teams?

So back to Mike Riley. As a senior citizen, does he have the vim and vigor lead the Huskers?

We think so.

Mike Riley Rides A Bike
A regular workout and diet plan routine, such as riding a bicycle can keep a person feeling young.

Here’s the main thing to consider in our assessment: Mike Riley has spent the bulk of his life living in crunchy Corvalis, Oregon.  Clean air, organic food, mild temperatures year-round, and a small fan base that doesn’t exactly have high demands has kept Riley from aging like a typical football coach.

While the license that enables him to drive his Toyota Prius says he’s 61, Riley can’t be older than 45 in coaching years.

Give him a season or two at the helm of the Big Red and we’ll find out exactly how old he is.

And if you’re still worried about Riley’s age, consider these elderly dudes.

steve spurrier
Steve Spurrier, still rocking the visor at age 69, dude.

Bill SnyderBill Snyder, 75 going on 110.

Frank Solich
Frank Solich is proof you can be in your 7th decade and still have what it takes to lead a mediocre MAC team.

Arnold-Schwarzenegger-and-Sylvester-Stallone-Chill-on-Hospital-Bed
Schwarzenegger and Stallone are 67 and 68 respectively.

Liam Neeson
Liam Neeson can’t believe the incredible deal he can get on term life insurance even as a 62-year-old.

Samuel L Jackson as Nick Fury
Believe it or not, Samuel L. Jackson is 66-years-old. When you’ve signed on for 30 Marvel movies, your ass better not age a single day.

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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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Dead Team Walking: Your Nebraska vs Iowa Preview

All you need to know about why Iowa sucks summed up in one photo.

SLipknot-hero

Slipknot-  the pride of Iowa and the very first band I ever walked out on. I just couldn’t stand to watch masked dipshits (one of whom was playing a dented beer keg) try to incite a crowd of 15 to start a mosh pit. (RIP, Ranch Bowl.) As a rule, I try not to judge people on their choice in music or religion but Slipknot is a rare exception, right up there with Creed and Avril Lavigne.  The internet says that fateful day would have been August 15, 1998 but I swear they opened for Fishbone and the Internet says that gig would have been April 25, 1996. Hmm… I might be confused as all heck right now but one thing I’m not confused about is my staunch belief that Iowa  can suck it for unleashing figgin’ Slipknot into the world. If you happen to be a fan of Slipknot, I commend you for trying to read all these big words.

Scouting Report: Back before the season started, Steven M. Sipple declared Iowa the team to beat in the Big Ten West. The Hawkeyes then went on to struggle against Northern Iowa and Ball State before going on to lose at home against Iowa State.

From that low point, Iowa’s season has been a schizophrenic roller coaster. A week after thumping Northwestern 38 – 7, they got reamed by Minnesota 51 – 14 and then followed that up by taking Wisconsin to the wire in a 26 – 24 loss.

And that’s all the research you’re getting out of this site. Too… full… of… pie… and… stuffing… to… process… thoughts.

Ideal Scenario: The Huskers summon whatever pride they may have left and show Iowa who’s the boss for the third time in four years. On the flip side, if the game gets ugly for the Huskers, may it be the meltdown to end all meltdowns.

Over/Under on Angry Bo Close Ups:  5 – The only way Bo can top nearly taking a swing at a ref is actually taking a swing at a ref. It just might happen. Then again, the Huskers could just sac up and roll Iowa.

PeliniHat

Question That Needs an Answer: Which poor World-Herald writer had to take a timeout from their Thanksgiving to write a story about a @FauxPelini Twitter conversation? That’s like the sad, 21st century version of monitoring the chatter on a Radio Shack police scanner. Bonus questions: And why do they only report Faux’s  latest zingers? Don’t they realize his cat can also bring the heat in 140 characters or less? Could it be because Omaha World-Herald staff writer Dirk Chatelain can’t handle his little Twitter claws?

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Big Ten Impotence Rankings

“Dr. Delany. Paging Dr. Delany. You’re needed in the emergency room.”

“What seems to be the problem, nurse?”

“It’s the conference. It’s choking on something.”

“Well let’s have a look. Let me stick my fingers in here a moment… Ah-ha! Here’s the problem.”

“What is it, doctor?”

“Donkey balls. It appears the conference has been sucking on them.”

I originally intended to do a week 2 “power” ranking for the Big 10 Conference, but after seeing how each team looks hell-bent on proving who is the most namby-pamby, I’ve decided to respect their wishes and rank the conference teams according to inadequacy.

So here goes.

WEEK 2 BIG 10 IMPOTENCE RANKINGS

1. Northwestern (0-2)

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It’s the Wildcats who have swung the limpest of dicks so far this season. Featuring the nation’s 113th ranked scoring offense and 80th ranked scoring defense, Northwestern has lollygagged out to an 0-2 start to the year. They first headed to Berkeley and got golden-showered on by the Golden Bears — a school that went 1-11 last year — and then came home and lost to Northern Illinois. Granted, the Huskies are used to beating Big 10 teams by now. But still, it’s goddamn Northern Illinois.

2. Purdue (1-1)

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The Boilermakers have gone one for two in their attempt to pad their win total via a gauntlet of Michigan directional schools. It looked like a brilliant strategy, in week #1 at least. But Central Michigan is no Western Michigan, evidently.

3. Ohio State (1-1)

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Week 1 showed that things were definitely amiss in Columbus without Braxton Miller in the driver’s seat. Week 2 proved that Ohio State is nothing more than pellets for a flock of Hokies.

An old Ohio State alum can probably tell you what it’s like to sit through a four-loss season, Buckeyes. Because that looks to be where you are headed.

4. Michigan (1-1)

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Notre Dame ended your series like a disinterested ex-lover. Then proceeded to take your house, your car, your dog and your manhood. The clock may be ticking on Brady Hoke’s tenure in Ann Arbor.

5. Indiana (1-0)

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The Hoosiers had little problem with in-state nemesis, Indiana State. But being the only game on Indiana’s resume thus far still puts them higher on the impotence scale than a pair of Big 10 losers. Getting stopped by the Sycamores on fourth down twice inside the red zone doesn’t help, either.

But hey, the alternate uniforms sure are dandy!

6. Michigan State (1-1)

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Sparty went out to Eugene with one single mission. Show the world that the nation’s top-ranked defense didn’t merely build its resume on the dubious backs of an offensive bush league.

And how did that go?

Well, if surrendering 500 yards and 46 points is your idea of making that statement, then mission accomplished.

7. Wisconsin (1-1)

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Does a 34-point win over Western Illinois do anything to lessen the pitiful display of Wisconsin’s wet-noodle-tackling, lame-duck-tossing blown 4th quarter against LSU?

No.

8. Rutgers (2-0)

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Not a bad start for the Scarlet Knights. As long as giving up 1,000 yards to winless Washington State and Howard doesn’t worry you. No cause for concern in Piscataway. Right?

9. Minnesota (2-0)

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Out-yarded by both cream-puffs so far this season. Good thing the Gopher defense is killing it in the take-away department.

10. Iowa (2-0)

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Pair of shitty wins over a pair of shitty opponents.

11. Illinois (2-0)

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A guy with the first name of “Wonderful” put a scare into the Illini on Saturday. Western Kentucky was supposed to be an easy win for Illinois, but the Illini needed all of 21 points in the 4th quarter just to get some breathing room.

12. Penn State (2-0)

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Within spitting distance of being the League’s best team is a program that isn’t even eligible for the post season.

13. Nebraska (2-0)

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Okay, Nebraska narrowly escaping overtime against FCS school McNeese State does come with a few caveats. The Cowboys — a team filled with Power 5 conference transfers — are thought to be contenders for the FCS National Title. They even shellacked South Florida last year, giving McNeese State the distinction of having the largest margin of victory by a FCS school over an FBS team ever. We can also assume that, given a second chance by Armstrong, the 98-yard pick-six would not have happened and Nebraska mostly likely would have taken a 28-7 lead into half time. Even with a shitty 10-10 second half, that’s still a 21-point win. A large enough gap to keep the Huskers from tumbling out of the AP Top 25.

But, alas, the 98-yard pick-six did happen and Nebraska did tumble out of the AP poll. So swallow those caveats like caviar, Huskers. Your performance against McNeese State (particularly in the second half) lands you second fiddle to:

14. Maryland (2-0)

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That’s right. These crab-cake-eating, Old-Bay-dipping, Blair-Witch-chasing Johnnie-come-latelies are the froth atop the Big 10 septic well. Just two weeks into the season and the Rust Belt Conference — home to no less than 4 college football Blue Bloods — has been shown up by a team whose sole purpose is to quell the grid-iron lust of Ravens fans one day prior to when REAL Maryland football gets played.

Congratulations.

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