From Quietly Dignified Fandom to Unabashedly Sniveling Gloater, the (de)Evolution of Husker Passion.

It’s strange the way simple pleasures can evolve when following a football program like Nebraska’s. As a child of the 1980s and 1990s, I used to luxuriate in the ample amounts of respect bestowed upon my beloved Huskers — whether it was from opposing coaches and fans or sports commentators during broadcasts — their vocalized respect always made my chest swell with pride.

But the Huskers don’t get much of that lately. Back in the day, 75% of Nebraska’s slate resigned itself to losing from the get-go. Some even considered “winning” the coin-toss a nice pre-slaughter gesture. Sadly, over this last strange decade, all that veneration has disappeared into the dustbin of history. Most teams no longer expect to lose to the Big Red. Hell, I’ll bet more than a few Cowboys down at McNeese State are thinking — make ‘em turn the ball over four or five times and we’ve got a shot!

But, with the new-found bravado Husker opponents have shown in the prospects of upcoming clashes with Nebraska, a new form of satisfaction has evolved for me in watching NU play. And that’s seeing the stunned silence from opposing fans when the Huskers pull off something amazing.

It’s the same chagrin Steve Spurrier displayed during the 1996 Fiesta Bowl. A thing of beauty precisely because Spurrier was part of that rare species back in the 1990s — the opposing coach who thought he had better than even odds against the Huskers. When Spurrier’s mirage was officially bisected by a galloping Tommie Frazier, the broadcasters treated viewers to a savory display of recompense the likes of which I’ll never forget.

Phases of spurrier

For the record, I don’t have anything personally against Steve Spurrier — the magnificent chief Cock that he is. But the sight of a smug, Coors-drinking bastard getting his hat handed to him was rare during the 1990s dynasty because the low expectations many of Nebraska’s opponents held never produced much hubris. So, ironically, one of the fruits of a lowered bar for Nebraska football is that now we get to see opposing fans (with the full assumption of a win in their pockets) shit bricks more often.

Assuming that many of you readers are like me — once quiet and dignified followers of a college football titan, now sniveling jealously in the shadows of our once-great reputation, I’ve gone ahead and assembled a gallery of some of my favorite screen shots from the past few years. This is the new simple joy our program bestows us: watching opposing fans react to something they just can’t believe.

Here a Texas fan finds her asshole tighten to a million pounds per square inch at the prospect of the Longhorns losing their BCS Championship bid at the hands of what essentially turned out to be the greatest performance of Ndamukong Suh’s collegiate career.

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Oh, were it not for that horse-collar tackle!

Here Taylor Martinez has just mesmerized a cluster of incredulous K-State backers, dashing past a slew of Wildcats and beating them to the end zone by 15 yards.

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Another amazing touchdown run by Martinez forces this Washington Husky fan to cover his eyes.

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And finally, this may look like a typical, mouth-breathing Georgia good ole boy, but — in fact — this man’s jaw is hanging a little more slack than usual thanks to Tommy Armstrong’s 99 yard touchdown pass to Quincy Enunwa.

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I hope these sufficiently whet some appetites for seeing a few more stunned opponents in 2014. Personally, I hope to add some Spartans, Badgers and Hawkeyes to the gallery next time this year. Go Big Red!

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D’oh Big Red: The Homer Simpson, Herbie Husker Connection

Homer Simpson and Herbie Husker

What do Homer Simpson and Herbie Husker have in common?

They both peaked in the ’90s.

Cheap joke aside, it’s the sad truth.

And coincidentally, it was discovered (stumbled upon) while watching “The Springfield Files“. Out of almost morbid curiosity I found FXX on the TV last Sunday morning with the intention of hate-watching just enough of Every Simpsons Ever to get angry about how things aren’t as good as they used to be.

14 hours later, I reluctantly peeled myself off the couch with bleary eyes and a face sore from an entire day spent laughing. Oh Troy McClure, I didn’t realize how much I missed you. The good ol’ days were so much better than remembered.

During the time Dr. Tom closed out his coaching career with a 60 – 3 run, the Simpsons’ staff was cranking out some of the best work of its soon-to-be 26 seasons. Toss in Frank Solich’s first two years at the helm and you have the entire peak of the series covered.

Out of the first three non-clickbait best episode lists I found, only one boasts an episode beyond 1998 – 99’s 10th season with “Brother’s Little Helper” sneaking into the final spot.

Along with foreshadowing the Major League Baseball steroid scandal that was written all over prohormones co (the Mark McGwire cameo is eerie), the Simpsons episode that ranks as “worst of the best” aired just two weeks before the Huskers’ national championship season wrecking loss to the Texas Longhorns. (If your memory is fuzzy, this was the 1999 loss. Not the 2002, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2009, or 2010 losses.)

At the time, this defeat simply seemed like a third fluke Texas upset in a row. After all, the Huskers got their revenge five weeks later in the Big 12 Championship Game. But looking back, this was the blip that signaled the end of a legendary run- the faint SOS that things would never be the same. The cargo ship full of hot pants was about to run aground. Even with a rebuilding/re-loading season under Solich’s belt, the Huskers could no longer run the table, even at max power.

Since 1999 the Huskers and the Simpsons have been stuck in a 15 year purgatory of mediocrity. They’ve each shown flashes of brilliance (and the dumb luck of losing their way into the BCS Championship Game) but neither has been able to muster a truly breakout season. Somehow they’ve been able to maintain a level of just good enough to get into the “national conversation” a few times a year.

Heading into this season, The Simpsons’ ratings are at an all-time low. The Huskers are locked in at 22 – a ranking that’s a combination of also-ran pity and hopeful optimism.  Both franchises have the resources and depth to string a solid run together.

Can they actually do it?

Or will this be another season of fans having late night YouTube sessions to keep the memory of the glory days from fading even more?

Here’s to a year where Disco Stu and Afro Thunder run wild like it’s 1997 all over again.

. Disco Stu and Kenny Belll

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Bo Pelini Wears Blazer. Husker Nation Loses It.

It’s finally game week in Lincoln and the biggest news of the day was Bo Pelini absolutely rocking a red blazer at this season’s first Monday press conference.

And if that wasn’t enough,  he even smiled leading at least one fan to speculate that Bo is on the “happy pills.”

Bo Pelini smiles

However, Ricky Fulton took to the Facebook pages of the Lincoln Journal Star and Omaha World Herald to object to the new and improved, shiny happy Pelini appearing in his newsfeed- even going so far to threaten to “block” the World Herald if it ever runs a story featuring a photo of Pelini again.

Um, Ricky, if the content of the Journal Star and World Herald appears in your newsfeed, it’s because you took the time to like their pages. In the the same place where you clicked “Like,” you can click “Unlike” and never be harassed again.

Or, you could take the time to come up with a wittier, non-repetive comment.

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Ameer Abdullah Gets Extra Slippery With New Adidas Jersey

Over the weekend the Lincoln Journal Star let Ameer Abdullah’s slippery new secret weapon out of the bag.

Ameer Abdullah addias guacamole jersey

By all accounts Abdullah will be the first running back in college football to wear adidas’ new line of guacamole injected gear. If you thought he could slip through a hole like a greased pig before, wait till you see how he does slathered in $68 worth of guacamole upgrades at Chipotle. How adidas was able to keep such an innovative, technological achievement under wraps until a just a week before game day is some Skunk Works level secrecy.

Or, upon further review, this spy shot could have been recycled from the Gator Bowl against Georgia- a game highlighted by mud, a ridiculous 99 yard bomb, and a hard-fought Husker victory over a worthy SEC opponent or an injury riddled SEC-also-ran, depending on your world view.

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