Tag Archives: college football

Colorado: Game Day Pep Talk

It’s 22 minutes until the clock strikes midnight in the Cornhusker State and game day officially arrives. By the end of the afternoon, another chapter will be written about Nebraska’s history with Colorado.

Here in Los Angeles, the Dodgers are trying to battle their way back against the Giants. We live close enough to Dodger Stadium to see a quartet of palm trees that line its outer perimeter from the top of our backyard. The tickets we had for tonight’s game were sold on StubHub last week because seeing a battle between the National League’s fiercest rivals does nothing to get my pulse racing when Nebraska and Colorado is on-deck for Saturday afternoon.

Plus, I need my Big Red beauty rest.

To say that Husker fans are excited for this reckoning is an understatement. I’m still hobbling around from playing tennis three days ago but am so jacked for this game I know I could run through a brick wall should the need arise.

This is the day we’ve all been looking forward to since Colorado pulled a W out of Ralphie’s butt last year in Lincoln. How differently things would have gone if last season had started off with a win for the good guys is irrelevant now but BS penalties and injury inducing cheap shots on a quarterback’s knee will always linger in a fanbase’s craw.

It goes without saying that confidence would be a lot higher heading into kickoff had the Huskers trounced South Alabama the way we expected them to last week. Starting the year off with the shitty win of the season (hopefully there’s only one) can be a good motivator for the team. Plus, it makes things a lot more exciting for all of us.

Soon we’ll find out if those week one miscues were a fluke (I think they were) and we’ll get to see if Wan’dale Robinson is the real deal. (I’m not much of a conspiracy theorist but I have a suspicion he was used just enough last week to get his feet wet and give Colorado enough film to be nervous about what he’s capable of.)

More than anything though, game day in Boulder is going to be an afternoon for Husker Nation to show the college football world the Big Red is on the way back to where it belongs. If you’ve been following the mass migration by land and air into Colorado, you know the scene is already lit. Seriously, Husker fans drank a Pearl Street bar dry by 8pm on a Friday night.

The three dozen or so Colorado fans that didn’t sell off their tickets are going to be in for a rude awakening tomorrow when Folsom Field is transformed into Memorial Stadium West.

Colorado had their chance last year but it’s time for the Buffaloes to get a stern reminder about who wore the pants in the conference rivalry that was never really a rivalry. Yes, they got in a few shots and damaged a few childhoods in the late eighties and early nineties (Eric Bieniemy was right behind the Boz in my book) but when you look at the historical win/loss record, you’ll notice Colorado has won only 8 times in the last 43 meetings. That’s hardly a rivalry. Colorado is annoying neighbor at best.

And later today that annoying neighbor will be put in his place.

The Huskers got this one and let’s enjoy every minute of it.

GBR.

 

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South Alabama: Game Day Pep Talk

Husker Fam,

Well, we did it. We made it to game day.

The day that we never thought would get here after nearly ten long and lonely months has finally arrived.

A little later today, 2018’s best 4 – 8 team will be taking the field to kickoff their 2019 campaign against South Alabama.

It’s not the Alabama any of us want but it’s a start. If the Huskers can get the ball rolling and knock off the South Alabama Jaguars tomorrow (and let’s face it, it’s not much of an if), that will be a good first step on a journey towards a bigger goal that will eventually end with a face-off against Alabama. You know, the one that’s a dynasty reminiscent of Husker teams from the days of yore.

Since the whistle blew in Iowa City last November, all of us have endured zingers and insults from friends and foes aligned with other colleges.

“How can someone endure back-to-back 4 and 8 seasons?” they ask.

“How can we not?” we reply.

We’ve all been patiently waiting and biding our time as the light at the end of the tunnel grows bigger and brighter.

We’re going to get there eventually but until then, all we can do is sit back and enjoy the ride.

It’s about to become a lot of fun.

GBR and LFG

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Nick Allen’s Bold Husker Predictions for 2019

It’s almost football season. THANK GOD IT’S ALMOST FOOTBALL SEASON. The Nebraska Cornhuskers start the season Saturday. Scott Frost and a bunch of kids, many of whom are not old enough to legally purchase alcohol, embark on a season full of high hopes and exceeded expectations.

They deserve both.

Of course hopes are high. It’s Nebraska. It’s almost football season. Fucking Huskers baby. BLACKSHIRTS. Go for two. You get it. Football’s the best. And Nebraska can be too. Has been before. Will be again. This year? Who knows. Probably not but they’re lifting weights now. Have been for a couple of years. Some coaching and some weight lifting?? Shiiiiit. Watch out. BIG RED BABY. The offense will be good/great. ADRIAN MARTINEZ. The line will be better. Young dudes figuring it out. Better every week. The BLACKSHIRTS, led by a band of brothers up front, will begin to assert dominance and lay waste by the end of the year. Playoffs. Championships. Wins. Soon. But now?? Time will tell.

Here’s the best case scenario: 🍿🍿🍿

8/31 – South Alabama Finally a football game. Huskers by 40.

Photographic evidence that the South Alabama Jaguars have fans.

9/7 – @Colorado – 62 – 36. Never forget. Frost remembers. NU by three scores.

These ladies will be the only Colorado fans inside Folsom Field when the Sea of Red comes to town and that’s only because they their Jitterbug Phones couldn’t download the StubHub app.

9/14 – Northern Illinois Ooof. Bad memories. Huskers get caught taking it for granted early but pull through before halftime. Second half uncomfortably close. Huskers by 13.

True Fact: When Northern Illinois played at San Diego State in 2017, their entire traveling fanbase was able to fit one van with plenty of room to spare.

9/21 – @Illinois – They’re no Northern Illinois. Love Lovie but Illinois football blows. Huskers beat the spread.

Do you think those fans sitting away from the crowd are farting or making out?

9/27 – Ohio State – Well, well. Guess who has a coach now?? NOT OHIO STATE. Fuck Urban Meyer. Fuck the new guy. Fuck Ohio State football and everything it claims to stand for. Huskers make it hurt somehow. A demoralizing play early in the third that makes them cave or a dagger at the end. Either way, Huskers win.

There’s a good chance this photo is Photoshopped and there’s a good chance it isn’t.

10/5 – Northwestern – Not today. Northwestern has had its way with NU before but that stops now. Fuck purple uniforms. Fuck a big ten school pretending it’s Ivy League. NU by 10.

This is the #2 photo on google when you search: Northwestern Football Fans Nerds.

10/12 – @Minnesota – Have the wheels fallen off of PJ Fleck by now? Scott Frost will never lose a football game to PJ Fleck. Frost builds foundations, Fleck puts oars in water. Land of losses. Huskers by a bunch.

10/19 – BYE – UNDEFEATED AT THE BYE WEEK  – FUCK YEAH

10/26 – Indiana – Yay! Who cares?? Would rather be playing Kansas. Fuck basketball schools trying to play football. Huskers by 40.

In the wake of Andrew Luck’s retirement, the Indiana Athletic Department expects game attendance to increase by up to five fans.

11/2 – @Purdue – Choo choo!! A fucking train mascot?? Good god. Makes you miss the Big 12 (again). Fuck Purdue. Let’s play the Cyclones. Huskers by 14.

This young Purdue fan is well prepared for a lifetime of misery.

11/9 – TWO BYE WEEKS?? Still undefeated though……

11/16 – Wisconsin – At home. Home of the real big red. Fuck Wisconsin pretending to be Nebraska football. Nebraska gets some pride back tonight. End of regulation. They go for two. Run it right up the gut. Huskers by one. It’s beautiful.

Her hair might be dyed but that neck tattoo is real.

11/23 – @Maryland – THREE BYE WEEKS??? NEBRASKA CORNHUSKERS 11-0.

Not even these guys can explain the symbolism behind Maryland’s confusing state flag.

11/29 – Iowa – It’s over. Iowa has been lifting weights for a looong time and Nebraska just stared last year. And THAT game was close. Frost took it personally. Made his players feel the same. From here on out, Nebraska wins 80% of its games against Iowa. We’ll still wave to the kids though. Want a Runza?? It’s all in good fun, right??? NU by 6.

REALLY!?!

UNDEFEATED. Best. Case. Scenario. They make the playoff. Realize they’re a year or two away. It hurts but they made some hay, right? Get it? Hay? Farms?? Cornhuskers??? Haha. Playoffs? Who would of thought?? THIS GUY. Fuck, they win the whole thing. Why not? HUSKERS BABY.

Nick Allen is a standup comedian who lives in Omaha. Follow him on Twitter. You can see him perform regularly at the Funny Bone.

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It’s Getting to be About That Time

This past Monday was a little different than the three dozen or so Mondays that preceded it.

I was wide awake 20 minutes before my first alarm and in the mood to run through a brick wall.

And that can only mean one thing.

Game week is finally here.

And what a magical week it has been.

Long dormant group texts have returned from the dead, buddies who are alumni of other colleges have reached out from far and wide to get a read on how things are looking for the Huskers in 2019, and most importantly, plans have been made to meet friends I haven’t seen since last November at a bar at 8:30am on a Saturday morning.

There’s nothing like the anticipation and excitement leading to a season opener. It’s as if you’re stuck in Groundhog Day but instead you’re eight-years-old and living the night before Christmas for an entire week.

My personal It’s a Wonderful Life moment happened in the back of an Uber on Tuesday afternoon. The driver asked if I was a football fan. I said college. Then he asked what school and I said Nebraska. And then he said oh, damn the Huskers are gonna be good and launched into rant about USC that lasted for five miles. The only time he pumped the verbal brakes was when I interrupted to ask if he had time to drive me to Iowa so I could have some in-person words with the Hawkeye fan who talking smack to me on Twitter at that exact moment. Then we both had a laugh and wished each other good luck.

It feels so good to be back.

Enjoy the latest Big Red Fury pump up video and we’ll be back soon with some real content. GBR.

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An Open Letter to Colorado and Iowa Fans 

Hey there Husker neighbors to the east and west,

I just wanted to drop a quick note to share how delighted I am with the interest that your respective fanbases have shown towards @BigRed_Fury this season.

Every week without fail, fresh rounds of zingers (some of them are almost funny even) get lobbed into @BigRed_Fury’s mentions following the Cornhuskers’ latest miscue on the field.

How y’all found @BigRed_Fury I’ll never know, but I’m flattered that y’all take the time to write to show that you care.

Because I sure don’t care about either of you.

Even if the Huskers find a way to do the impossible and lose to Northwestern to move to 0-6 on the year, it’s not going to bother me because this season is a down to the foundation rebuilding project. And if we go down the road a few years and discover Scott Frost isn’t the chosen one, big deal. There will be a new coach and I will still be a Husker fan.

Like Bane being born into the darkness, I was born into Husker Nation. I was molded by it. I didn’t see the light until I was already a man.

You know what my earliest Husker memory is?

Seeing them lose the 1984 Orange Bowl and a National Championship to Miami. In one night I fell in love with the Fumblerooski and endured the heartbreak of my team coming up short on the biggest stage. When you’ve experienced your team suffering the worst possible outcome before even getting the faintest whiff of what a victory feels like, it fundamentally changes a person.

But that’s not the only Natty I’ve seen the Huskers lose.

Nearly 10 years to the day later, I got to watch the Huskers lose another National Championship at the Orange Bowl. This time around Florida State was the opponent and the game was even more of a heart breaker thanks to a Seminole TD that should have been ruled a goal line fumble and a missed last second field goal that would have won the game for the Big Red and left Bobby Bowden soaking wet.

Then eight years after that I got to see the Huskers lose yet another National Championship at the dastardly hand of the Miami Hurricanes. I was in the third row, straddling the 50 yard line on the Huskers’ side of the field of the Rose Bowl for that one and it remains the most disappointing game of my life. 

So what’s this all add up to?

In my lifetime I’ve seen the Huskers LOSE more National Championships than Iowa and Colorado have played for combined during the same stretch.

And I’ve also seen them win three titles, which according to my math is exactly two more than the Colorado Buffaloes and the Iowa Hawkeyes have won.

When you come at me to heckle me about the Huskers losing to Troy, please know that a game like that doesn’t even make a ripple in my pool of Husker heartbreak. It means nothing to me.

Your tweets can’t hurt me because I’m already dead inside.

Your College Football Buddy,

Todd


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The Big Red Shawshank Redemption

The Shawshank Redemption opened in theatres September 23, 1994. 

The following afternoon, the Huskers rolled Pacific 70-21 in front of the hometown crowd. 

While we all know how that year turned out for the Big Red, Shawshank was mostly overlooked at the box office and during award season as Forrest Gump and Pulp Fiction took home most of the hardware. 

It wasn’t until a few years later that it began to receive the acclaim it missed the first time around. Thanks to nearly daily showings on basic cable that are still running strong today, The Shawshank Redemption has cemented its status as very arguably one of the greatest films ever made and currently occupies the number one spot on IMDB’s list of the top 250 movies. 

“Remember Red, hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies.”

But we’re not here to do a dissertation on the legacy of Shawshank.

We’re here to talk about a theory.

It’s called the Shit Tunnel Theory. 

I can’t tell you exactly when I came up with the it but I can tell you I was on the couch watching Shawshank for probably the 100th time and was faded enough to have an epiphany that changed my outlook on life.

Allow me to set it up. 

According to Shawshank lore, Andy started tunneling his way to freedom with his tiny rock hammer two years into his 19 year stretch. That’s 17 years of chipping through the concrete wall of his prison cell piece-by-piece. An estimate from someone a lot smarter than me put Andy’s progress at 1/64th of an inch per day, or about the thickness of your fingernail. 

So after 17 long years Andy final breaks through and has to face one final crucible-The Shit Tunnel. In a film that’s full of cruel moments, this was the cherry on top of a turd sundae. 

But Andy give up?

Not a chance. 

He grabbed a rock, broke through that pipe, and dove right in. He charged through that “river of shit,” to quote Red, like he was a plumber named Mario on a mission to save a princess. It was 500 yards to freedom and after all he’d been through he was not going to stopped by a Shit Tunnel.

Now if we can go back to me on the couch for a moment, it was during this breakout scene that I realized no matter what goal you’re working towards, there’s always, without fail, going to be an unexpected obstacle that pops up when you have the finish line in sight. Even if it’s not a literal Shit Tunnel, the concept is the same. If you have something you want to achieve, you gotta pay the price by conquering the Shit Tunnel.

Husker fam, if Memorial Stadium is our Shawshank, we have just entered the Shit Tunnel. 

So what if the Huskers leave Wisconsin with an L and an 0-5 record for the first time since who knows when? It’s already been a miserable decade and half, what’s another year at this point?

All this losing now won’t mean shit if hang onto the hope and belief that better days are ahead. Sometimes you just gotta hold your breath and barrel down that Shit Tunnel towards where the light should be. 

Go Big Red. 


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Sunday Morning Hot Takes: Troy

Does losing to Troy suck?

Yes.

Am I mad about losing to Troy?

Eh, not really. 

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

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

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

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

What does all this mean?

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

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

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

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

It’s ride or die time, homies. 

Random (and Potentially Unpopular) Opinion:

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

Troy Summed Up in one Tweet: 

Larry the Cable Guy: Voice of Reason 

ScoFroFroYo Watch:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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Sunday Night Hot Takes: Colorado

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

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

Anyway…

How the game began… 

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

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

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

But then something magical happened.

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

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

It was shaping up to be a magnificent Saturday.

How the game ended… 

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

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

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

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

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

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

Larry the Cable Guy: Voice of Reason 

What I’d like to see next week: 

Adrian Martinez back on the field.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Say hello to the ScoFro FroYo Watch.

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

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

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

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

You’re damn right they did.

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

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

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


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Ten Questions with UCF Fan @AustinHeff

Welcome to the greatest weekend of the season, Husker fans.

It’s bye week!

There’s not even a chance the Huskers are going to lose another game.

And because we all need a second favorite team to root for so we can have a reason to avoid mowing the lawn for another week, I interviewed Austin Heffernan, a die hard UCF fan to get the scoop on the Knights football program and their currently undefeated season thanks in no small part to their upstart coach Scott Frost. (You may have heard of him.)

Speaking of Scott, I met Austin on Twitter the day he was hired away from Oregon. Somehow, we found each other’s tweets and traded some thoughts about Scott. (There’s a good chance I told him to make sure UCF takes good care of Nebraska’s next head coach. )

Anyway, Austin is a huge UCF fan and cheers for his other local teams in Florida. He’s the kind of ride or die sports fan any team would be proud to have. He was nice enough to answer all my dumb questions with some valuable insight about the Knights so you’ll enjoy watching UCF (and Scott Frost) take on Navy Saturday afternoon.

1. Along with being a UCF fan long before the Knights cracked the top 25, you’re a fan of your local teams across the sports spectrum which is something of a rarity these days as sports fans aren’t as tied to geography as they were before. As background, how would you describe your fandom and what it’s like to be such a dedicated fan of Florida teams? (For the record, I was pulling for the Marlins when they went on their late summer run.)

Austin: Growing up in Miami was really fun. In my younger elementary school days, I was blessed with nationally dominant Miami Hurricanes teams that set the city on fire.  [Ed note: Husker fans remember the that 2001 team. Too bad you’re too young to have missed those 80s teams.] Rumor has it that those Hurricanes players from the early 2000s were skipping Dolphins players in the club. We then had the Marlins make their run in 2003 and the Heat in 2006 and also again in 2012/2013. Miami definitely has the most diverse sports fan base in terms of ethnic backgrounds. The best picture I can paint of Miami sports fandom is pots and pans in musical rhythmic unison while celebrating.

Since I moved to Orlando, I’ve been a part of the soccer movement and have attended a handful of Orlando City Soccer games. We have the 2nd highest attendance in the MLS despite not having made the playoffs in the 3 years we’ve been in the MLS. That has been a fun experience and celebrating a scored goal is unlike anything I’ve been a part of as a sports fan.

2. Florida certainly has its share of college football teams. What was it that made you pick UCF, or did the Knights pick you?

Austin: I decided to not attend an American school and I got into a school in Rome, Italy at the last minute. UCF still had open rolling applications and decided to roll with them instead. I was still rooting for the Canes up until the 3rd home game of my freshman year, where we beat Boston College by 40+ points. We ended up winning the C-USA championship that year and that season cemented my passion for the University and all of their sports teams.

3. In 2013, UCF went 12-1 and ended their season by beating Baylor in the Fiesta Bowl and finishing in the AP Top 10. Then in 2014 they when 9-4 and followed that up with an 0-12 season in 2015. Last year Scott Frost got things turned around and the Knights posted a 6-7 record. Now, they’re 5-0 and ranking in the top 20. What’s this roller coaster ride been like for you and how does it to have been on it the whole time?

Austin: The 12-1 year, or as we call it, “the dream season,” was my senior year at UCF. That year was so incredible and the campus was electric all the time. If you would’ve told me before I went to UCF that we would win a BCS game while I was there, I would’ve recommended you take me to the local mental hospital called Lakeside. The following year we won the AAC again but it took some miraculous plays, including the miracle we needed to clinch a share of the conference championship.

And then we hit rock bottom. Our head football coach at the time, George O’Leary, was acting as the school athletic director at the time. His attention wasn’t fully set on the team, and the team suffered mightily. Following that year, the Lincoln Legend himself, Scott Frost, made his way to UCF. Since we hired Frost, the football team’s confidence appeared to have instantly jumped to the ceiling. Since then, I’ve had no complaints and have been following along for this fantastic ride that I never want to end.

4. Two things Nebraska fans take a lot of pride in are a sellout streak that’s been going since 1962 and having a reputation as being the “greatest fans in college football.” How would you describe the UCF fanbase? Are there a lot of dedicated, hardcore fans like you, or is the bulk of the fanbase more casual?  And how has the the momentum and energy been this season? Is the bandwagon running out of room?

Austin: The fan base is really young. The school opened up in 1963 so our alumni base isn’t as strong as most other schools. Orlando is mostly a Gator town, which makes it tough to get local non-students and non-alumni into the stadium. Last year, following a winless season, I was surprised at how many people were in the stands at all the home games. It made me proud to be a Knight fan to see everyone screaming at the top of their lungs despite the product the team produced the year prior. [Ed note: Just like Nebraska!]

5. 
The UCF program started out as a Division III team in 1979 and steadily worked its way up to Division !. What are some traditions, both for the program and during games, that the rest of the world should know about? 

Austin: My favorite tradition is Spirit Splash. Every Friday of homecoming week, students gather around the fountain called the Reflecting Pond in the middle of campus and there’s a pep rally of sorts. Then a countdown starts, and all the students gathered around the Reflecting Pond run into it. A video will explain it better than I can.

6. What’s a game day like at Spectrum Stadium? How would you describe the atmosphere? And I gotta know, how did Zombie Nation’s song Kernkraft 400 become an anthem?

Austin: Tailgating at UCF is my favorite hobby. The whole campus is wet and you can bring an open container anywhere, so it makes for a great atmosphere.  I actually have no idea how Kernkraft 400  became our pre-kickoff anthem but I just found myself joining in my freshman year back in 2010.

 7. A lot of Nebraska fans will probably be spending their Husker free Saturday watching UCF take on Navy. What should they know about the Knights’ offense and defense in terms of attitude and identity and who are some of the key playmakers they should keep an eye on? 


Austin:
McKenzie Milton, our quarterback, has progressed in a way that I didn’t think was possible. He has brought life to the passing game, so I would definitely keep an eye on him. Tre’Quan Smith is probably our best wide receiver. I would also pay attention to our defense. A couple of players I would pay attention to are Mike Hughes, a cornerback, and Shaquem Griffin, a linebacker. Those two are both playmakers and will be huge factors in stopping Navy’s triple option.

8. Nebraska fans have prior experience with UCF when Dante Culpepper came to Lincoln in 1997 and roasted the Nebraska defense (we call them the Blackshirts) for 318 passing yards in what turned out to be a very close (by Nebraska standards) 24 – 38 loss. (Btw, Scott Frost put up 120 passing yards and ran for another 50.) Who are some of UCF’s other legends that Nebraska fans should be aware of? 

Austin: Blake Bortles led us to a Fiesta Bowl win so he’s probably going to have a statue on campus at some point. [Ed note: OMG.] Coach George O’Leary put us in the national spotlight by winning 4 conference championships during his tenure. Kevin Smith finished the highest in the school’s history in Heisman voting at 8th place. He had insane rushing numbers and is our best running back in school history. Brandon Marshall, the wide receiver who now plays for the New York Giants, is probably the best professional player to come out of UCF. Another great NFL pro was Asante Samuel.


9.
What would you like to say to Nebraska fans (or Florida or Tennessee fans) who have their eye on Scott Frost? Do you think he’ll be temped to jump to a new program or will he stay put and keep building what he started?

Austin: This is a conversation UCF fans have been having frequently lately. It’s impossible to know at this point what the man is thinking. All that I know is that I will be OK with whatever decision he makes. He’s done more for this program than I ever expected him to do. I will always admire Frost, whether it is here or at another institution.

10. Finally, what’s your prediction for Saturday? Do you think the Knights will be able to handle Navy’s option attack and a hostile road environment? Oh, and what did you think of Scott Frost playing QB on the scout team?

Austin: I think we have the personnel to stop the triple option and the offensive weapons to put up enough points to win. However, playing on the road is its own animal but Frost has our kids focused. Also, Navy’s Coach Ken Niumatalolo has his team playing as probably the most disciplined team in the country.

I’m predicting a 24-17 win for UCF.


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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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