I’m a lifelong Husker fan. So are my kids. My oldest is 19 years old and just started college. Nebraska Cornhuskers football has been a shell of a program for his entire life, even more so for my 17 and 14-year-old kids. While I’m glad football is on the brink of being played again, I’m having a hard time mustering up much excitement.
My blood bleeds Scarlet but is flowing at an alarmingly low rate. It’s either early onset erectile dysfunction or the deadening realization that this year will be another mundane slog to mediocrity for Dear Old Nebraska U.
The past two decades have shown glimmers of hope at times but nothing sustainable or decent ever materializes. Woof. I’m reminded of some poor kid hoping this is the year dad finally gets his shit together.
In that spirit, here’s what kind of father figure every coach since Osborne has turned out to be.
Fearless Frankie Solich
The man who was supposed to maintain the glory of the Mighty Big Red exposed holes in the hull. Much like Osborne, Frankie had 70’s dad vibes. Reluctant with compliments but when they came they meant something. Could have been able to make it work but he might have fucked one of your aunts and was never at Thanksgiving again. Heard he went on to a very happy life with an uglier wife.
The smooth talking salesman who tried to talk your mom into butt stuff. Hated his previous wife so much you thought he might settle for your family. Never really fit in but was fun to make fun of around the house. Bought you some shiny toys but you knew he’d never last.
A fiery, rust-belt, take no bullshit but will have a beer with you dad. Almost made it work but blew it when it really mattered. Too many Coors Lights and wrecked the Buick on the way to your birthday party. Shouting matches with Grandma and Grandpa at Christmas. He’d have your back in a fight but he probably started it to begin with. Why are mommy and daddy fighting? Had to go.
Hip-hip golly gee whiz! Could have been the one to ride it out with mom into retirement. Hopes you’re doing ok and really sees you going places, kid. Tried to move his family into town but they never really wanted to be here. Still sends you birthday cards. Never made mom wet. When the lights were off, she imagined he was Bo.
The Golden Boy. The Chosen One. THIS guy HAS to be it. Instead he’s stubborn, selfish and somehow a young guy stuck in the nineties. Keeps talking about how Grandpa got it done. Wonders why everything around the house sucks. Surely can’t be him. Mom knows she should leave but suffers from low self-esteem and isn’t sure she could do any better.
Last weekend in Chicago was a blast and I feel sorry for everyone who missed out on the fishbowls at Kirkwood. Then there was the actual game, which I have hardly heard about because before the game, they played the National Anthem. (I fully support our players kneeling for their beliefs and am glad they have people talking, even the stupid ones, because those idiots prove why they are needing to take a stand). But yes, there was an actual game played and it hasn’t really been talked about. The Huskers won. They are 4-0. You read that correctly, 4-0!!!!! I haven’t been this happy since the day Bo got fired (November 30 will always be a personal holiday).
Side note: There was a Northwestern player that really stood out to our group. #46 SB Eric Lutzen. Kid had energy for days and was the only Wildcat that I saw never give up. He cheered his team on more than anybody in that stadium. I need this kid to get some playing time. He’s got the most important intangible of all: heart. Get him out there, Fitz.
A LOOK AT ILLINOIS
Lovie Smith was hired at Illinois so people would know the name of one person associated with the program. The last time Illinois won in Lincoln, Calvin Coolidge was president. The year was 1924. The 2016 Illinois squad is coming off two losses from Western Michigan and North Carolina. If I were a betting woman, I would guess that ESPN will remind us of their big win in the first week against the powerhouse that is Murray State. 52-3. A win like that will take it out of you for the next two games so the losses just make sense.
They are probably coming off their bye week and rolling into Lincoln HOT and ready for a piece of the Blackshirts. Just kidding. I might not even go into the game this weekend because it’s going to be so sad to watch. I can tell you the coach’s name, but I can’t name one player on this Illinois squad besides their QB Wes Lunt.
Nobody in the country has watched an Illinois game this season. Probably not even the players because their play would suggest they are not watching film. Looking at their depth chart:
Anyway, the biggest Nebraska concern is a situation with the offensive line. The situation being that both starting guards are now out. RG Tanner Farmer was injured against Northwestern and is out against Illinois.LG Corey Whitaker, who replaced Farmer during the game last Saturday, will again be in for Farmer against Illinois. It looks like Cole Conrad, a sophomore walk-on, will be the backup tackle, center, and guard. Don’t read that last sentence again because it is scary. WR Alonzo Moore will also be out against Illinois. The good news is that this is Illinois which should be like a bye week, followed by an actual bye week, so there should be time for some of these guys to recover.
Guess we can thank the sordid and idiotic crime saga of Scott L. Davis for that distraction. One can only imagine how awkward things will be for him during the game if whatever jail he’s in has a watch party.
Then again, maybe he’ll sleep through it since kickoff is at a barbarically early 11am which is 10am in Wyoming. In case you had better things to do than pay attention to the Cowboys’ season opener, they were up playing until 2:30am. Their game against Northern Illinois endured a 110 minute weather delay before ending in triple overtime with the Cowboys winning 40-34.
Wanna win a $20 Taco John’s gift card? Find “Barrelman” tomorrow, get a pic with him, and tweet it to us. First one wins all the Olés.
This week more than a few pundits have speculated that Wyoming’s late night could be a factor as if they were the first college kids to ever stay out until the wee hours of a Sunday morning.
Couple Wyoming’ s theoretical fatigue with the special blue light blocking glasses the Huskers are wearing to help get better sleep and you’ve got a guaranteed Husker victory. Right?
If that’s all it took I’d be totally OK with that.
The Huskers will probably have to put in a little more effort though.
With receiver Brandon Reilly coming back from his one game suspension, maybe Danny Langsdorf will open up the playbook and have Tommy air it out more. If you can believe it, people were actually complaining that the he didn’t throw the ball enough against Fresno State.
Wyoming is apparently good at running the ball. But who cares? It’s not like any of their backs will be able to run past Nate Gerry. He’s also back from his one game suspension. Until he gets ejected for targeting.
Finally, there’s the Craig Bohl factor. In three seasons in Laramie, he’s rustled up a 7-18 record for the Cowboys, which isn’t exactly stellar after three consecutive FCS Championships at North Dakota State.
Before North Dakota State, Bohl, as we all know, spent eight seasons as a Nebraska assistant, with his last three as defensive coordinator. While many stories have painted this game as a welcome homecoming for Bohl, let’s not forget he was all but run out Lincoln following the 2002 season.
In case you blocked it from your memory, the Huskers finished an unimaginable 7-7 that year. To shake things up, Frank Solich fired Bohl and hired an up and coming coach named Bo Pelini.
If Bohl would have been good at his job, Pelini would have never been hired and Husker fans would have never become enamored with the guy after he turned around the defense and filled-in as head coach in an Alamo Bowl win against Michigan State.
Then again, if Solich would have been good at his job (or if Steve Pederson wasn’t a lunatic) he wouldn’t have been fired and we wouldn’t have had to suffer through Bill Callahan before suffering through Pelini.
But then we wouldn’t have had this guy come into our lives.
Since we’re all going to be up into the wee hours of the night, alternating between tossing and turning in bed and fighting the desire to run through the nearest wall, we might as well have a little fun.
First up, Tunnel Walk of Shame returned with a brilliant new comic to start the season. If you didn’t read it first thing this morning, go ahead and click that link. This place isn’t going anywhere.
Now, there are going to be many new faces on both sides of the ball. For your convenience, we whipped up some depth charts to help explain who’s who.
And here’s the how the Huskers will be lining up on defense.
If you want to be the hit of your watch party, here are the depth charts as printable PDFs.
When I can’t sleep at night, I’m a big fan of falling down the YouTube rabbit hole. If you’re not sick of watching Husker pump up videos (and if you are, what kind of fan you?), we made two, yes two, for this season.
One is a little ridiculous and the other other is a LOT ridiculous. You can decide for yourself which is which.
Just in case you need to wind down after watching those two, here’s one more that’s all Jordan Westerkamp set to the sweet, sweet sounds of Hall and Oates.
Finally, here’s a little lullaby courtesy of the undisputed greatest team in college football history, your 1995 Nebraska Cornhuskers.
If you search ‘Huskers’ on eBay, a bunch of things that don’t need to exist happen to show up for sale. So whether you are looking for a new jacket for October tailgating or some artwork for the man cave, get ready for gameday with my eBay round up. In honor of Ryker Fyfe, here are the top 17 Husker items up for sale.
Why you should buy it: You shouldn’t. If you sit next to me in these, I’m going to hate you. They take more than one space. You are at a football game, I have faith that you can survive for a few hours without cushions.
Hey there, remember us? Hope so because our off-season hiatus is back off, again. We trust you’ve been having a great summer, staying cool, never changing, and catching a boatload of that Pokéyman.
Before we resume our usual Husker high jinks, we’d like to introduce you to Leslie Micek, a five star recruit who’s joining the Big Red Fury squad this season.
If you’re a regular participant in #Huskers Twitter, there’s a good chance you’ve seen her hot takes and observations on game day. If you haven’t, follow her here. Leslie is a world-class smart-ass, probably knows more about the Huskers (and sports in general) than you do, and can pound Bud Heavies with the best of them. (Actually, she’d probably put you under the table.)
Since there’s really no way to improve upon an intro like that, let’s get to her interview.
You hail from the land of Kool-Aid, aka Hastings, aka Tom Osborne’s hometown. What was it like growing up in the southern corner of the golden triangle that is Nebraska’s tri-cities area?
Perfect. Nebraska is a great place to be a kid, you can always be outside with a relatively low chance of finding any real trouble. I played with a lot of fireworks, rode my bike a lot, and constantly bothered all of the neighbors. I moved in 3rd grade, but my dad still lives there so I go back a lot and do Nebraska things like go fishing and attempt to learn how to play pitch. Not many people can say they were at the very first Kool-Aid Days back in 1997 (or something like that). And yes, that’s a real thing.
Winning. The teams of the mid 90s set me up for a lifetime full of disappointment. Thanks a lot, Tommie Frazier. Sometimes I get on YouTube and watch things like this- –
–it doesn’t help. I think I thought Nebraska was supposed to play in the championship every year. I mean, they are supposed to, they just don’t.
What’s your all-time favorite moment in your history as a Husker fan?
A couple of years ago I sneaked onto the sidelines of a game at Northwestern. My friends had media passes and passed one back to me. I got to witness my boys Ameer and Randy Gregory up close and personal. It was awesome, until they figured out at the end of the third quarter that I wasn’t supposed to be there and kicked me out. I tried to say I lost my badge but the security guy wasn’t having it. It was just fun to know that I could yell at Bo if I chose to…I didn’t. By the way, that Northwestern stadium is pathetic.
Not many fans can say they’ve had a Husker coach send them their own HUDL highlight of their sideline freakout. See if you can spot Leslie going nuts at Northwestern.
What’s the one loss that still sticks in your craw the most?
One?? Besides the obvious big losses, some personal memories have to include that very special BYU game last year. I decided last minute to go with my mom. I needed to be part of Mike Riley’s first game. I needed to be there. I did not need to see that BYU Hail Mary. Also, a special memory from the UCLA game in 2013 taught me to never make fun of my friends and their team until the game is over. The 18 point comeback by UCLA was brutal, I ended up being at Barney’s Beanery in West Hollywood from 9am-2am that day.
EDITOR’S NOTE: That’s a 17 hour(!) shift at a sports bar.
Who’s your all-time favorite player?
I’m bad at favorites. I would say either Tommie Frazier or Lawrence Phillips. There is a video compilation on YouTube of Lawrence Phillips running all over everybody for like 5 minutes.
He was just unreal. His story is heartbreaking but I find it very interesting. I think he is tied to be my favorite but he is the most interesting to me. Hope the upcoming 30 for 30 does his story some justice because I don’t think people know or understand the whole story of his life.
What’s your outlook for this season? Do Mike Riley and company have you feeling optimistic?
HCMR and Co. have me pumped. They are recruiting really well and the energy is contagious. As Phil Steele said, the Huskers were 5 plays away from being 11-2 last season and has them as his No. 2 most improved team this season. To be honest it’s the best time of the year, the time to be delusional and say the Huskers are going undefeated. Everybody tweet to me after the Huskers first loss and remind me that I’m a moron (but I see them at least getting to the playoffs, their schedule is pretty good, minus the Ohio State part).
What are your feelings on the phrase “Run the damn ball?”
I scream it at my TV enough that I suppose I like it.
You went to a “certain college” that was a former conference rival to Nebraska. You don’t have to name it, but was it like being a Husker fan behind enemy lines?
It was always fun to bring people from the school that will not be named to Nebraska for the games. They knew I wasn’t there permanently and referred to me as a tourist. I enjoyed showing them around Lincoln and introducing them to my Nebraska friends, and of course the local Runza. They always had a good time and the trips usually ended with us staying awake in the Cap City long enough to see the sunrise. It was quite a different experience for Nebraska fans making the trip to Columbia, they have some unwelcoming fans. I remember a story about some Mizzou fans letting all the air out of some Nebraska fans tires.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Um, I think you just named the school.
Rank the following Big Ten teams from least to most hated: Iowa, Michigan, Michigan State, Northwestern, Ohio State, Penn State, Wisconsin.
I’m an equal opportunity hater. I hate them all. Also, I have never understood the root for your conference stuff. If Nebraska loses, why do I want their competition to win? No thanks. Sorry to break it to Ohio State, but I will never be cheering for them.
Which one of the following Husker media types would you most like to have a beer with? Dirk Chatelain, Sam McKewon, Mike’l Severe, Tom Shatel, Steven M. Sipple.
Probably Tom Shatel because I don’t follow him so he hasn’t gotten on my nerves yet.
You’re one of the fortunate people who can claim being both a Husker fan and a Dodger fan. How would you say the two fan bases compare?
I think they both are similar because they have very dedicated and loyal fan bases. It’s pretty easy to be dedicated for 12 games a season for football fans but I meet Dodger fans that watch 162 games a season. I would like to think that’s what Husker fans would be like if there were that many games. They are both also very knowledgeable fan bases. I think Husker fans know more than the average football fans, especially regarding recruiting. Dodger fans are the same way, they are very educated about their team and their opponents.
I’ve always thought of LA as sort of like a United Nations of college football where you’ll go to a bar and see many different colleges represented. Is there a school’s fans that you find almost likable and is there a group that you find completely obnoxious?
I don’t know about a likable fan base but as soon as I thought of an obnoxious and unlikable fan base, my first thought was The U. They are all unbearable.
How would you say the overall college football knowledge base of an average Nebraska fan compares to other college football fans?
Husker fans blow everybody else out of the water in the category. I don’t know a lot of other fans that follow the recruiting process so closely. When I talk to other college football fans they don’t usually know who they are after and don’t attend any of the camps. Nebraska fans are big football dorks and will attend almost anything. I drove an hour and a half and through a fire in Calabasas to a Nebraska satellite camp last month and didn’t think twice. But speaking of recruits… Darnay Holmes, please come to Nebraska.
On those rare occasions that Nebraska loses, what’s your mood like after a game? How long does it take you to recover?
Such a rare occurrence that I can’t remember the last time that happened. But for future reference, nobody should contact me the rest of the day.
Who’s your number one QB if you’re building a team? Tommy Armstrong, Eric Crouch, Tommie Frazier, Joe Ganz, Taylor Martinez.
You go Tommie Frazier 100% of the time. As Tommie Frazier says “T Fraz, he was too smooth, he was too fast” in this classic rap song by Terrel Farley and Tommie Frazier:
Would you rather have one Ndamukong Suh or two Peter brothers anchoring a defensive line?
It’s had to turn down two DTs on the greatest college football team of all time, but when Suh is the other option. You pick Suh. Plus he is the size of two people but only one scholarship. That’s a bargain.
Amigos or Taco John’s? And what’s your go-to order?
Amigos. I love their chips and cheese and their crisp meat. The crisp meat is like a crispito from school lunches, I’m sure nobody will know what that is either. But I could really go for some Potato Olés right now.
How would you explain a Runza to someone who’s never heard of one?
This actually comes up a lot. I say its kind of like a cheeseburger baked into a roll. But better. Then I just usually talk about the mini corndogs and fries and people are on board.
Finally, let’s say you have a Kool-Aid stand out in the desert and from over a sand dune appears Bo Pelini, He’s been lost and wandering for days. How much would you charge him for an ice cold and refreshing glass of Kool-Aid? (Hypothetically, you’d have a square reader and he’d have a black AMEX.)
He better hope there is another Kool-Aid stand around.
Not to worry, we have you covered with an assortment of Husker themed valentines. There are a dozen to chose from and dare we say they are perfect for expressing your true feelings to your Big Red sweetheart.
Feel free to poach whatever valentines you like… right click, screenshot, whatever floats your boat. You can also find a gallery on the Big Red Fury Facebook page that is perfect for sharing.
There’s no bolder move than chucking up a #YOLObomb when you only need three yards. If you want to go big this Valentine’s Day, Tommy Armstrong has you covered.
Jordan Westerkamp is a receiver, get it? Yes, this is our version of the Choo-Choo Chose Me.
And while you’re here, check out our new Westerkamp highlight reel.
Perfect for when Cupid steals your heart… or your bike.
Michael Rose-Ivy’s valentine will hit you like 1/8th of a ton of bricks. Remember that time Mikale Wilbon actually got to play and he looked really good?
Vincent Valentine is ready to help you erase any doubts about commitment issues and let your boo know that you’re in it for the long haul.
This digital Valentine was made with all-natural, allergen-free pixels.
Unlike Nate Gerry, you won’t get ejected for delivering this fierce, yet perfectly legal valentine.
Step aside Cupid, Thunderleg Foltz is delivering this one.
It’s not stalking if you know it’s true destiny.
Sorry, Tommie. We had to do it.
Relationships are a tricky business and sometimes there’s a person you just can’t quit.
Between Iowa looking for their first 12-0 season in program history and the Huskers looking to become bowl eligible, this game meant a lot. On top of it all, it was Senior Day. Not just for the Huskers, but for me as well.
One thing you all have to know is that I am 100% one of those overly-sentimental people. You can send me to a Senior Day for a team I’ve never heard of in a sport I don’t care about, and I’ll start tearing up during the sappy tribute video they play. Needless to say, it took a lot of emotional preparation for this game.
First off, this game was absolutely freezing. Naturally, my stubborn Minnesotan attitude about the cold kicked in, giving me a fake idea that I was going to be just fine. Yeah, okay.
I walked to the game with my roommate about 20 minutes prior to the doors opening. With the game being over Thanksgiving break, there weren’t too many people in line.
Someone must have told the events staff that watching the sea of South Stadium students pour in was my favorite part of games, because Friday’s game was the first time this season that East Stadium got let in first. I live for the chaos. Mostly because I somehow managed to survive two years of it.
Students were greeted with a nice layer of thick ice covering every seat in the section. Thankfully, one brilliant student thought ahead and brought an ice scraper in and let everyone borrow it. The real MVP.
My roommate Allie (@a_mcmann) scrapes away the glacier that coated our seats.
It takes a lot more than sub-freezing temperatures and a layer of ice to stop students from going all out at games. One student sitting in the row behind me painted himself for the game. Seriously, that’s commitment.
Commitment personified.The scarves really tie everything together.
Once the pregame festivities began, that’s when everything finally hit me. This was the last time I was going to experience any of this as a senior. And I’m going to miss every bit of it. Even the Power of Red banner that was sitting on the ground, causing it to rain cold, murky water on all of the students underneath it.
I remember seeing my first tunnel walk during my freshman year. The first thing I thought of was “Wow, I bet I’m going to get emotional during this my senior year.” Well, freshman-year-me, you did. Very much so.
The Senior Day Tunnel walk is about to begin.
If Senior Day wasn’t enough to make me cry, the actual game itself could have made me shed a tear. There’s something so frustrating about seeing your team lose repeatedly and not be able to do anything to help. Because they’d definitely want a 5’7” girl who hasn’t played a sport since seventh grade’s help out on the field. But, hey, I still have four years of eligibility if they change their mind.
Four. Years. Of. Eligibility. You know where to find me, Huskers.
One of the most frustrating things about this game for me was the number of penalties overall. Not necessarily that penalties were being committed, but mostly because I have this need to yell to everyone that “There’s a flag on the play!” after each one, and Nebraskans have never been shy about pointing out my painfully-Minnesotan accent every time I say the word “flag.”
One call that really got the stadium buzzing was the targeting call on Nate Gerry after a tackle on Tevaun Smith lead to his ejection. While the replay shows the helmet-to-helmet contact, the call was met with a chorus of boos by Husker fans, many of which were yelling at the officials to “just let them play football.”
The four turnovers were yet another frustrating part of watching this game. On the bright side, it did give me one last chance to make my it-wasn’t-funny-the-first-time-so-why-do-you-always-say-it joke of “We look like a bakery with all of these turnovers,” which I cracked one last time just to be greeted by a series of eye rolls. Seriously, don’t go to a game with me if you don’t like dorky humor.
On a less-frustrating note, one thing that Iowa fans did to start the fourth quarter was raising up their phones with their flashlights turned on, causing a sea of lights in their sections. While I hate to give credit to Iowa for anything, it looked pretty cool. I don’t know the significance, nor will I admit to ever having just said something nice about Iowa, but as an unbiased (haha) sports fan, I’m easily entertained by cool-looking things in the crowd.
As we reminisce on the Huskers’ third senior-day-loss in a row, remember that there’s still a chance that they’re headed to a bowl game. Also that Iowa is bound to be humbled next weekend in the B1G Championship game by Michigan State. Remember what happened when we played them?
Also, happy one year anniversary of Bo Pelini getting fired. Also the 22nd anniversary of my birth, but that’s less relevant. It’s always comforting to know that my birthday will forever be overshadowed by 9-4 jokes from here on out.
Just remember: dreams come true when you work hard and pray. Thanks for sticking with me and my dumb jokes for this long.
Hayley Archer is a senior Broadcasting major at UNL. Follow her on Twitter at@Harchinator.
When the Huskers jumped out to a 21 – 0 lead over Rutgers, all was finally feeling right in Husker Nation. Our watch site that had been so tense for so many weeks finally felt like a nice, relaxing place to spend a Saturday afternoon. It was a very welcome change of pace and many laughs and assorted good times were being had.
Then Tommy Armstrong had to go and chuck up enough YOLO BOMBS to make the game a momentary nail biter. And somewhere out there, Taylor Martinez had to smile knowing that he had taught his young Padawan so well.
All in, it was refreshing to see the Huskers mostly cruise to their first stress-free win in since playing at Minnesota nearly a month ago. Now all that’s left is to wreck to Iowa’s dream season unless the Hawkeyes don’t wreck it themselves first. On with the hot takes…
Ex-Bo Friend Update
Bo Pelini went on a little rampage yesterday as his Youngstown State Penguins couldn’t hold a 17 point lead against North Dakota State. It was a loss that effectively ended the Penguin’s chance at the postseason. Naturally, the Omaha World-Herald couldn’t contain its glee and nearly forgot there was a Husker game to cover.
We've added even more video of Bo Pelini yelling at refs and getting penalized during YSU's last-minute loss: https://t.co/2A7LwHxg79
Nice of the World-Herald to use a photo from Youngstown State’s game at South Dakota as click bait for their home game against North Dakota State.
Not to even going to try to defend or justify Bo’s actions but Youngstown State did get jobbed on the pass interference call. One can only hope his latest sideline detonation is all part of his master plan to become the next pitchman for Xanax.
Some gifs just because…
One can only assume Carl has had counseling since the last time he stalked a sideline with his brother. He walked away like a champ.
This is exactly where Pelini reached peak rage.
And Bo couldn’t say no to coming back for a second helping.
Our Score Prediction
We said Huskers 38, Rutgers 10. Totally would have nailed the 38 if it weren’t for Josh Kalu’s fumble return that was wiped off the board.
Mike Riley’s Balloon Watch
While there were few hiccups, Riley was not hungover from Michigan State.
NUMBERS TO IMPRESS YOUR FRIENDS WITH
2: The Huskers are now riding their first win streak of the season.
12: With his trio of INTs against Rutgers, Tommy Armstrong has already tied his total from last season with 12. It will be interesting to see how his final stats shake up. Aside from a huge drop in rushing yardage, he’s nearly identical to 2014.
30:01/29:59: The Huskers ended the game with a two second time of possession advantage over Rutgers. Kooky.
98/90: Imani Cross followed up the signature performance of his Husker career against Michigan State by tacking on another 90 yards at Rutgers. While Cross has broken the century mark once in each of his previous three seasons, he’s never had back-to-back games with as many rushing yards.
Check this out…
2014: 109 yards against Illinois. Did not play the following week against Michigan State. In his next two games after than, he ran for 14 yards against Northwestern and 28 against Rutgers.
2013: 105 yards to open the season against Wyoming. That performance was followed up with 14 against Southern Miss and 19 against UCLA.
2012: Cross had his first 100 yard game at the expense of Idaho State but did not play the following week in the Huskers’ comeback against Wisconsin. Then at Ohio State, he rushed for 13 and followed that up with 3 and 4 against Northwestern and Michigan.
Here’s hoping Imani gets his yearly 100 yard game when Iowa comes to Lincoln.
167: How many more yards Jordan Westerkamp needs to become the Huskers’ first 1,000 yard receiver. Might be a good time for him go through the hassle of being able to order Domino’s via pizza emojiso he can start buttering up his roommate Tommy Armstrong.
If you’ve never heard, those dudes live together.
And if you’re a regular reader, there’s a good chance we used that as a closer before.
These days Austen works for a company called Nuvi which is a high powered social media monitoring platform used by a wide range of companies to track how their brand, new product, or movie, for example, is performing in the “social space.”
If you think it’s time to bust out the tinfoil hat, don’t sweat it. This is not NSA level stuff we’re talking about here. Nobody cares about your militia having a bake sale this weekend. However, if you recently tweeted about how much you love a new TV show or are mad at Chipotle for that pesky E. coli outbreak, someone out there knows about it.
So this leads to this Monday’s email when Austen suggested that I check to see how the Huskers’ season is looking through the eyes of Nuvi. He might have just been trolling me in an attempt to get me to wallow in the slop of quantifiable misery but it was good idea either way so I pulled some data from Nuvi and here are some of the highlights.
Or should I say depressing lowlights?
To keep things simple and to keep this site from turning into the social media version of Baseball Prospectus we’ll be comparing week one to last week’s debacle at Purdue. (Note: Click any chart to view full-size.)
Things look good for Husker Nation leading up to the season opener against BYU. Positive (green) and negative (red) sentiment is calculated based on a series of keywords. Chatter that can’t be classified is considered neutral (blue). Based on what we’re looking at, Nuvi indicates optimism is high for the 2015 season.
Here’s a slightly broader look.
Then just a couple days later…
No, Global Thermonuclear War did not break out. This is what the it looks like when your team’s new head coach is sued for allegedly fostering an environment in which a sexual assault was allowed to happen. As you’ll see, the negative sentiment shot way up. Just as a gauge, you’d pretty much have to be the Ferguson, Missouri Police Department to run all the way in the red.
That giant red circle that wiped away most of the East Coast? That was a tweet from Sports Illustrated that came from their NYC headquarters. The bigger the circle, the bigger the reach and impact.
Then, here’s what happened when the wait was finally over and the Huskers got the season started against BYU. The image below covers about an hour and a half of chatter. See if you can pinpoint when the Hail Mary occurred.
And here’s a map of the post game reaction. The fire Mike Riley tweet from Lost Letterman was quite popular.
Below is a list of the day’s big winners as far as Twitter goes. Considering how many Husker fans hung on every moment of Gabrielle Union’s visit, it’s not a shock that her twitter account received nearly twice as much attention as Sports Illustrated. I do say that it warms the cockles of my little heart to see Tunnel Walk of Shame was the most viral.
Now, let’s skip ahead a couple months and five frustrating losses later to examine the current landscape for Husker Nation.
This is what it looked as the Huskers lost to Purdue. 55% negativity is this season’s all-time peak of despair. (So far.) Compared to the season opener, the reach of the chatter is over 10 times higher. Why? Because the big outlets had plenty of time to tweet throughout the game as the Boilermaker beat down reached its inevitable conclusion. Lucky for the Husker brand, not may people shared this news as the “spread” was more than 3 times lower than the jaw dropping ending to the BYU game.
At least the mood quickly dissipated as Husker fans suddenly became too drunk to tweet.
Here’s the day as a whole.
And here’s the build up and fallout of the Huskers’ worst loss since that time they were beaten by Hawaii before Hawaii was even a state.
Darren Rovell dropped some major shade even by his standards. The only thing that kept him from a clean sweep were the thumbs of God.
What’s most telling about this list is how the volume of chatter about the Huskers has dwindled and what remains shows this latest loss has become a national story.
Or dare I say national laughing stock?
Here’s hoping things turn around tomorrow and beating Michigan State makes Nebraska run green with joy.