Tag Archives: football

Sunday Evening Hot Takes: Purdue Edition

If there’s ever a Husker game you have to miss, go ahead and circle Purdue as a bonus bye week.

The Huskers’ 27-14 win over the Boilermakers started off with a bang thanks the combo of Kieron Williams pulling down an interception game’s opening play that was immediately followed by a 22 yard touchdown run by Tommy Armstrong Jr. on the Huskers’ first offensive snap.

From that moment, the game devolved into a somewhat stressful snooze fest. This is a match up that no one, including the Huskers, seems to care about. Our local watch site, Sycamore Tavern (formerly known as The Happy Ending) was nearly as empty as it was last year when the 3-6 Huskers limped into Ross-Ade Stadium with Ryker Fyfe under center.

sycamore-tavern-crowd
This is the bulk of the crowd that turned up to cheer-on their top 10 Cornhuskers.
Husker Fans
Same spot last year when the Huskers’ season a reached rock bottom not seen since the days of Bill Callahan.

Even Husker super fan and co-host of the Big Red Cobcast Ryan Tweedy (buy his movie, yo) had “better” things to do.

The biggest takeaway from the latest chapter of this not-so-storied rivalry that gives national media giggle fits is that these Huskers simultaneously have the ability to find a way to win (somehow) while being able to incite mass hysteria among their fans.

I don’t want to say I was planning on the worst when Purdue went into their locker room with a 14-10 lead at halftime but I did spend the break stress eating an ice cream sandwich the size of a Personal Pan Pizza.

Let’s hope these last two weeks are nothing more than a mid-season lull as the players and coaching staff couldn’t help but be distracted by what looms ahead.

Mike Riley’s Balloon Watch

Mike Riley Happy Balloon
Mike won a game he had no excuse to lose and never went for it on 4th down so we’re back to the good ol’ regular happy balloon.

Our Score Prediction

Kudos to OG Fanny Pack Spider-Man. He’s been the only costumed weirdo this season to take enough pride in his work to insist on multiple takes.

NUMBERS TO IMPRESS YOUR FRIENDS WITH

1,680: For the most fleeting of moments yesterday, the Huskers were on pace to hang 1,680 points on Purdue. Then the Boilermakers figured out it’d be better if their quarterback threw the ball.

98: Out the 239 points the Huskers have scored so far this year, 98 have come in the 4th quarter. And it’s probably worth mentioning that Husker opponents have scored a grand total of 13 points in the final period.

7:22: The Huskers’ 4th quarter time-of-possession advantage.  Their TOTAL advantage for the game was 6:38.  Last week against Indiana, the Huskers held the ball for 11:16 of the final period. If the other team can’t get the ball it’s going to be really hard to score. This is a brilliant strategy.

8: Eight different Huskers caught the ball Saturday afternoon and none of them were named Westerkamp or Carter. Hopefully they’ll both be back soon.

9: With his one carry for one yard performance, Mikale Wilbon has matched his total rushes from last season with nine. So far, he’s gone for 75 total yards at a brisk 8.3 yards-per-carry.  (Last season he was good for 35 at 3.9). Maybe by the time he’s a senior he will no longer be a mystery wrapped in an enigma.


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Save a Horse (Ride a Cowboy): Your Wyoming Preview

Wyoming week sure went by in a flash didn’t it?

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.

Mountain West Basketball Tournament - Quarterfinals Wyoming v UNLV
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.

Mike Riley Happy Balloon

Huskers win 48-14.


 

 

 

 

 

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The Big Red Fury Season Preview: Our Most Optimistic Post of the Year

As the calendar lurches towards the start of the season, each passing day brings fans new reasons for hope or dread as college football prognosticators trot out their previews.

Well, we’ve got nothing but good news and better news for you, dear reader. All three of us here at Big Red Fury summoned the ghosts of football future and came away with a consensus opinion.

The Huskers are going to kick a lot of ass this season.

The only question mark is exactly how much ass will be kicked.

Pour yourself a glass of Kool-aid. You’re going to enjoy this preview.

Game 1: Fresno State – September 3

FRESNO STATE FAN
At least one guy is pumped to be living in the Grand Island of California.

KUBRICKIAN GLEE: Tim DeRuyter got off to an auspicious start as Fresno State’s head coach when he landed in the raisin belt capital back in 2012. He won two straight Mountain West Conference titles while amassing a solid 20-6 record. Since then, Tim’s luck has gone to shit. The Bulldogs are just 9-17 over the last two seasons. You may remember Nebraska terrorizing these bastards on their home turf back in 2014 in a 55-19 waxing. Things aren’t going to get much better for the Bulldogs when FSU hits Lincoln for the season opener. Nebraska 49 Fresno State 10.

TODD MUNSON: It’s not BYU so I’m happy. Does the dad from Orange County Choppers still coach the Bulldogs? Huskers roll 42-17 and give fans visions of somewhere between 1995-1997.

LESLIE MICEK: I think it’s going to be a bigger blowout than 35-14 but I’ll stick with with something more realistic. This is the part of the season where anything is possible. I would have said BYU would have been a blowout last year but then I watched them throw a Hail Mary.

Game 2: Wyoming – September 10

WYOMING FANS
Pull your pants up, son. You’re wearing a bucket, old man.

KG: Right about now Craig Bohl might wonder why he exchanged the dynastic FCS bounty of Fargo, North Dakota for the massive headache of trying to run a Division 1 program out of Laramie, Wyoming. Sure, the scenery beats the hell out of Fargo, but former Husker Bohl had become the Tom Osborne of the NCAA Football Championship Subdivision, forging a run not dissimilar to Nebraska in the mid 1990s. But now? Bohl is the owner of a 6-18 record playing in the God-forsaken Mountain West. Relish those 2015 victories over Nevada and UNLV, Craig, because you and your Cowboys aren’t waking up from your prolonged nightmare any time soon. Nebraska 45 Wyoming 14.

TODD: It’s a rude return to Lincoln for Craig Bohl. Nebraska wins 52-21 in such a convincing fashion that fans will momentarily forget that Oregon is coming to Lincoln the following week.

LESLIE: Wyoming stinks. Huskers win 45-7.

Game 3: Oregon – September 17

Sad Ducks Fans
When your Tinder date turns out to be a juggalo

KG: It’s Duck season! Nebraska fans have this date circled on their calendars the day these two teams were scheduled. Some of the luster may have fallen off, though, after the recently mighty Ducks fell back to Earth a little in 2015 with a disappointing (for them) 9-4 campaign. Offensive coordinator Scott Frost’s departure to UCF also saps a little of the intrigue this game had going for it just a year ago. But seeing Mike Riley get a crack at his old in-state nemesis with an arsenal like he’s never had in Corvalis— there’s still plenty to get excited about.

The Ducks, as usual, will be able to put up some points on the Blackshirts. But Oregon’s own defense is a definite liability. Opponents scored an average of 44 points against Oregon in 2015. And most of that personnel returns in 2016. Throw in a questionable quarterback situation (that has former Husker commit Terry Wilson in the mix), and conditions seem favorable for Mike Riley getting a little payback against the old neighborhood bully. Nebraska 42 Oregon 38.

TODD: This game is the only question mark on the Huskers’ home schedule and there’s no middle ground. A win for the Huskers will mean the sky’s the limit for the season (at least until October 29). A loss, no matter how close, will mark the return of  the dark cloud of doom (at least until October 29.) Best case scenario for this game is that Coach Riley channels his inner John Kreese and sweeps the leg for a full 60 minutes. Huskers win 28-24.

LESLIE: I’m glad they don’t have  Vernon Adams or Scott Frost anymore. Easy to root against them again. Huskers. 28-21.

Game 4: at Northwestern – September 24

NORTHWESTERN FANS
A moment of silence for these poor kids who were rejected by Ivy League schools.

KG: Let’s be honest, before Nebraska joined the Big Ten, what would you have predicted Nebraska’s record would be against Northwestern five seasons in if you’d have bothered to even think about it? 5-0? 4-1, allowing for some strange fiasco of an upset somewhere along the way?

Well, Nebraska is now 3-2 in conference vs. Northwestern. And all but one of those games has turned out to be a nail-biter. Last season’s match was one of a gamut of frustrating, heartbreaking losses within the final minute of play, despite Nebraska outmatching the Wildcats in virtually all facets of the game. The difference in that contest (as with most in 2015) was turnovers. Nebraska had just one against Northwestern, but it was a big one — a 72-yard pick-six with just over seven minutes left in the half. Nebraska was marching on that drive and, had Armstrong’s pass gone the other way, it would’ve meant a 17-7 lead that probably wouldn’t have been relinquished. Instead, the Wildcats took a 14-10 advantage, giving them just enough to stave off Nebraska’s control of the game in the second half.

If Armstrong is new and improved in the turnover department, as some observers have said, things probably won’t be quite as rosy for Northwestern this year. Even with the game in Evanston which, let’s be honest, isn’t a particular advantage for the home team. Nebraska 31 Northwestern 21.

TODD: The good thing about playing Northwestern on the road is you don’t have to worry about the Wildcats coming into Lincoln and finding a new way to humiliate the Huskers. Nebraska hasn’t lost at Evanston since 1931 and they won’t do it again this year. Huskers win 31-17.

LESLIE: Not only am I planning on sneaking onto the sidelines again at that embarrassment that they call Ryan Field, I’m planning on dancing after a bunch of touchdowns. Huskers 34-does it even matter? Northwestern is losing.

Game 5: Illinois – October 1

ILLINOIS FANS
Sorry, Chief. Lovie Smith won’t save your Illini from another horrible season.

KG: Prior to the Purdue debacle, Illinois was the absolute nadir of Nebraska’s season in 2015. I still boil with anger when I recall the manner in which Nebraska squandered a 13-0 4th quarter lead only to lose in the final ten damn seconds. It was like watching the scene in Austin Powers when the security guard screamed for a solid 60 seconds as Powers’ steamroller inched toward him. All he had to do. All Nebraska had to do. Was step out of the way.

When the Illini come to Lincoln this year, expect something more akin to the Pelini-era outcomes. Nebraska 49 Illinois 17

TODD: Just to prove that last season was a total aberration, the Huskers should run the ball every time they face a 3rd & 7 and rack up 150+ bonus yards in the process. Chief Illiniwek gets wrecked 42-10.

LESLIE: I’m worried because Illinois will be coming off a bye week and I’m just kidding. Huskers 31-14.

Bye week – October 8

KG: I’ll be driving the choo-choo at Vala’s Pumpkin Patch.

TODD: Do some yard work. Reintroduce yourself to your family.

LESLIE: I predict Nebraska will win.

Game 6: at Indiana – October 15

INDIANA
A capacity crowd was on-hand for Indiana’s season opener last year.

KG: One of the most intriguing matches of 2016 is Nebraska’s trip to Bloomington. The Hoosiers have the most statistically dominant offense in the Big Ten — although, talent-wise, that title probably should go to Ohio State. Nonetheless, Indiana can put up some points and shouldn’t be taken lightly. Just ask the 2014 SEC East champions, Missouri. The Tigers fell to Indiana 31-27. On the heels of an Indiana loss to Bowling Green, too. 

The Hoosiers will be game for a basketball-type score (what else would you expect), but Nebraska should have no trouble tearing through Indiana’s defense. This one is going to be a track meet (and a little too close for comfort) but I see Nebraska pulling it out. Nebraska 41 Indiana 34. 

TODD: This is Nebraska’s sixth season as a member of the Big Ten and it’s their first time squaring off against Indiana as a conference opponent. Your days of dodging the Big Red are over, Indiana. Huskers win 55-21.

LESLIE: A battle to the death of two teams coming off 6-7 records. Only difference is that Nebraska is a lot better than their record shows. Also, Indiana plays Ohio St. the week before and Nebraska comes off a bye. Sorry, Indiana. Huskers 45-17.

Game 7: Purdue – October 22

PURDUEPhotos of Purdue fans do not exist on the internet so here are some Indiana fans insulting the ladies of Purdue.

KG: Revenge will be at hand. Purdue is the worst team in the Big Ten and they will come to Lincoln having poked the gorilla with its ridiculous 55-45 win last year. Look for Nebraska to eliminate the five turnovers that turned last season’s match into an embarrassment. Nebraska 49 Purdue 17.

TODD: The Huskers should save the Boliermakers the trouble of a road trip and just schedule an Indiana/Purdue double header the week before. Or, they could give Tommy the week off and let Ryker start so he can get chance at cold-blooded revenge. Huskers win 38-24.

LESLIE: Goals for the Purdue game this year: under 4 interceptions, rush more than 77 yards, and win. Simple. Huskers 37-14.

Game 8: at Wisconsin – October 29

badgersfansWisconsin fans are creeps.

KG: Quick trivia question: What is Nebraska’s combined record vs. Big Ten juggernauts Ohio State, Michigan, Michigan State and Penn State?

Is it a) 4-10 or b) 10-4?

If you said “b” 10-4, give yourself a cigar! This cherry-picked bit of knowledge belies the notion that Nebraska has struggled in its time in the Big Ten. Nebraska has, in fact, posted the 4th best league record since joining the conference in 2011. While it hasn’t quite hit the mark that most Husker fans anticipated heading in to the Big Ten, Nebraska has held its own in virtually every category. Except one.

Playing Wisconsin.

Oy. I wonder if Barry Alvarez has any mixed emotions seeing the Monster of Madison he created bat his alma mater around like Lennie Small petting a scared bunny. While Mike Riley’s Huskers did a great job of not allowing the Badgers to embarrass Nebraska (in a way Pelini rarely could), the last second loss was still among the hardest to stomach in 2015. Andy Janovich’s 55-yard burst up the middle in the waning minutes of the game had Husker fans believing the Wisconsin demon had been exorcised. But no, the Cheesehead Linda Blair had one more gullet of projectile vomit to spew in our collective faces.

It will be tough. But I think Nebraska goes to Madison and takes care of business. It helps that Wisconsin, I believe, is on a slow downtick from its respectable run of the last decade. Nebraska 28 Wisconsin 24.

TODD: Welcome to the first installment of the most terrifying two weeks of the season. Since joining the Big Ten, the Huskers’ average margin of defeat when playing at Madison has been a robust 33 points. For the sake of it being August and all, I’ll go out on a limb and say Mike Riley delivers an eat shit and FU of his own to the troglodytes who call themselves Badger fans. Huskers 24 Badgers 21.

LESLIE: Don’t be scared, Todd. The Blackshirts won’t be. Huskers 24-17.

Game 9: at Ohio State – November 5

columbusriot1
This is what happens when Columbus runs out of Cincinnati Chili.

KG: Ohio State. What’s there to say, really? Urban Meyer scares the shit out of me. And so does the talent level in Columbus. Still, in this age of parity, no team is absolutely invincible. Nebraska will get beat in The Horseshoe. But make no mistake, Riley and his squad will make a game of it. Nebraska 28 Ohio State 34.

TODD: If you’re traveling to this game, here are two things to know: 1) It’s only 175 miles from Columbus to Youngstown and 2) Bo Pelini and his Penguins will be playing on the road at North Dakota St. If you regret not egging his house when he lived in Lincoln, this is your big chance to make amends and give yourself at least one thing you’ll want to remember because I don’t see how the Huskers can escape that burning couch of a state with a win. Ohio State 35 Nebraska 21.

LESLIE: Todd doesn’t seem to understand that it’s August and this is the time right after depression and right before reality. The perfect time for optimism. The Huskers are going to walk right into that dump called Ohio Stadium and make that WR coach Zach Smith want to delete his twitter account. I hope they pass the ball 100% of the time and win so we can all tag him with the #Shhh hashtag that he loves so much. Westerkamp, DPE, Reilly, and Stan the Man are gonna get savage all up in Coach Smith’s face. Honest to god, I hate that guy. Shut him the hell up. Huskers 28-21.

Game 10: Minnesota – November 12

sel 4078Minnesota Nebraska
If you don’t have enough fans who are willing to spell out your team’s name, you don’t deserve to have a team.

KG: Jerry Kill had a remarkable run at Minnesota, moving the Gophers from an after-thought to a solid middle-of-the-conference program. I genuinely feel bad for Jerry and his health issues. But I’m not sorry to see him absent from the opposite sideline of Nebraska. The Husker dominance of Minnesota resumed in 2015. Onward. Nebraska 45 Minnesota 21.

TODD: A week of many hack Caddyshack jokes being made by this site culminates with the Huskers starting a new win streak at the expense of the Gophers who will find themselves hiding near the bottom of the Big Ten West standings. Huskers win 31-17.

LESLIE: If the Huskers could beat you last year, they can definitely beat you this year. Huskers 55-21.

Game 11: Maryland – November 19

MARYLAND FANS
Supposedly this is what Maryland fans look like.

KG: Maryland and Nebraska meet for the first time ever in Memorial Stadium. Since the two teams are unfamiliar with each other, it’s good news for Nebraska that the Terps are about as intimidating as a squad of actual turtles. Nebraska 51 Maryland 24

TODD: You might remember Maryland as the team who had those atrocious uniforms a couple seasons back, or for their most famous alumni (Shawne Merriman) dating Tila Tequila. If you need to use this weekend to prep for Thanksgiving you’re in luck. This game won’t be close. Huskers 42 Maryland 20.

LESLIE: Three wins last year? Good lord. Stick to basketball, Maryland. Huskers win by a billion.

Game 12: at Iowa – November 25

IOWA FANS
When Iowa fans realize their welfare checks aren’t big enough to cover Powerball tickets or an oil vaporizer pen and the Vape juice.

KG: The worst 12-0 regular season program I’ve ever had the displeasure of witnessing take the gridiron. As snake-bit as Nebraska was in 2015, Iowa was itself holding aces all season. But both teams showed their true colors in bowl games — a solid 37-29 victory over UCLA by Nebraska (a healthy margin that, quite frankly could’ve been even healthier) and a 45-16 ass shellacking of Iowa by Stanford in the Rose Bowl. Iowa made rings to mark their 12-0 regular season accomplishment. Good for them. Fucking losers. Nebraska 45 Iowa 10.

TODD: Mike Riley puts the exclamation point on #IOWAHATEWEEK by stealing the keys to Herky Hawkey’s El Camino and burning some donuts on the 50 yard line of Kinnick Stadium following a Huskers blowout victory.  Huskers win 38-14.

LESLIE: If I was running things, Iowa would have to sit out a year for that Rose Bowl performance. But since it doesn’t look like that is going to happen, Nebraska is going to have to play them. Unlike last season, Iowa actually has to play some real teams before Nebraska, so there is no chance they go into this undefeated again. As you can tell, I actually have the opposite. Nebraska is going in there undefeated this year and kicking some Iowa ass. Leave me alone. A person can dream. Huskers 21-17.

(But for real, watching Iowa collapse at the Rose Bowl was the highlight of last season.)

Final regular season tally:

KG: Huskers go 11-1 with a loss to Ohio State.
TODD: Same.
LESLIE: Huskers run the table and go 12-0.

Remember, what you just read is published on the internet, so you know it’s true. GBR.

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The Season Doesn’t Have a Reset Button. We Gotta Roll With It.

We’re still 19 sleeps away from the season opener and it’s already becoming one for the books.

The news of Keith Williams‘ arrest on a suspected DUI appeared on my phone Sunday morning (thanks, Leslie) right as I was about to do a swan dive into a $12 breakfast burrito.

My appetite vanished as I read the details of what happened… crash at 9th and N (at least it was only a four block ride to jail) and a possible third DUI, tipping the scales at a .15 BAC.

Honestly, even one DUI isn’t excusable but, if we’re really being honest, there’s a good chance we’ve all been one faulty taillight away from finding ourselves trying to walk a straight line on the side of the road.

But three DUIs? Hell no. Completely inexcusable. Especially in an age where an Uber, even in Lincoln, is a press of a button away. Then there’s the fact that the Star City is one of the greatest cities to pedal a bike around at night shitass drunk. I did it for five years and it was awesome. Plus, every bar has a bike rack out front so it’s a win-win for everyone.

Here in LA, a DUI ends up costing the lucky recipient around $10,000 just in fines and legal fees. That’s 1,000 $10 Uber rides and translates to a lot of nights out without having to worry about anything other than if your driver can properly follow GPS directions. (Hey, since you’re here, get a free Uber ride on us. #ad)

Will Williams stay on with the Huskers? That’s a hard decision and one that has to suck for whoever ends up having the final say on the matter.

Did he instantly lose all his credibility as a respected coach and mentor to college kids? Well, a person can learn a lot by messing up and taking the steps to ensure it doesn’t happen again.

Williams seems to know this all too well.

But will he be standing on the sidelines come September 3rd?

As much as the Huskers rule everything around us, he has more important stuff to worry about and let’s all hope he finds the support he needs to fix it.


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SPRING GAME INVESTIGATION: Who Was the Fan in the Dick Shirt?

Nebraska’s 2016 Spring Game went off without a hitch, except of course for that part where the Big Ten Network apparently only planned on broadcasting three quarters of football, causing fans at home to miss the debut of Patrick O’Brien.

But who am I to complain? Until yesterday morning, the Big Ten Network and (most importantly) BTN2GO was far, far out reach.

Let’s just say that dreams come true when you work hard and pray to the Twitter gods .

As a freshly minted Big Ten Network subscriber, words can’t begin to describe the joy of spending a gorgeous April afternoon indoors to watch the Huskers’ Spring Game.

What a sight it was to behold: The Sea of Red. Tommy’s YOLObombs. Running backs who look legit. That last remaining Cotton kid doing his family proud. Mike Riley standing on the sidelines looking like he might say something.

And if that wasn’t enough, there was a fan in a dick shirt.

Yes. A dick shirt.

Late in the 3rd quarter (or close to quittin’ time according BTN’s clock) the live-stream cut to senior safety Nate Gerry on the sideline talking to a fan.

Husker fan in Dick Shirt 2

While one could arguably look past the fact that an adult (fans gonna fan) was monopolizing Gerry’s time while a group of young Huskers were eager to bask in his presence, it was impossible to look past the hefty dick drawn across the left shoulder of his shirt.

Here’s a closer look.Dick Shirt Close Up

Dick Shirt Close Up
There’s no doubt that’s a dick and if you look close, it appears that someone had the honor of signing the shaft.

Four seconds later, our anonymous Husker fan goes for the kill and asks Gerry to sign his dick shirt.

Husker Fan in Dick Shirt 3
“Whoa. Bane’s really gonna sign your dick shirt!”

Husker Fan in Dick Shirt 1Meanwhile, another fan peers over dick shirt’s shoulder like Maynard during the gimp scene in Pulp Fiction.

Husker Fan in Dick Shirt 5Little Ameer realizes where this is headed and peaces out. Good work, kid.

It was at this moment the BTN’s feed cut back to the action on the field. Apparently showing a dick shirt signing all the way to completion was far too racy even for the internet.

Still,  questions remain.

Did Nate Gerry fulfill the fan’s request? In the last screen grab he wears the expression of someone who grudgingly realizes he’s about to sign a dick shirt.

Why was the fan wearing a dick shirt in the first place? Bachelor party? Look close at his hat. It the puffy paint doesn’t look like it spells out “GROOM.”

Was it Mardi Gras in April? That would explain the beads but how did he earn those beads?

Did he lose a bet?

Who else signed his dick shirt? In the screen grabs at 5:24 and 5:20 it looks like there are several other autographs on the torso. Or is that his shopping list for when he runs to the store after the game?

Someone out there has to know this guy and his story.

Help a slightly better than average Husker blog out. Give us some details about this mystery man.

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Sunday Morning Hot Takes: UCLA Edition

If the first thing you did when you woke up this morning was check the box score from the Foster Farms Bowl, don’t worry.

You weren’t the only one who did that.

It wasn’t a dream. Nebraska really did run wild against UCLA and came away with a 37-29 victory that was equal parts fun and gut-wrenching anguish.

Even when the Big Red was trailing 21-7 midway through the second quarter, Mike Riley and Danny Langsdorf stuck to their game plan* and continued to pound UCLA like Rocky slugging a side of beef. It was a glorious sight to behold as the Huskers chipped away at the Bruin defense a few yards at a time and rattled off 30 unanswered points.

UCLA finally replied early in the fourth quarter with a quick and methodical secondary shredding strike to pull within 8 points but that would be it. A missed field goal and absolutely clutch end zone interception by Chris Jones would seal the Bruins’ fate. The Huskers finally ran out of new and cruel ways to blow it at the end.

*Let’s Talk About That Game Plan: No doubt this next week will be full of think pieces and talk radio jibber jabber about how Riley and Langsdorf have finally found the light when it comes to Huskers’ offensive identity. Were these new look Huskers the result of a philosophical sea change or was it something as simple as Coach Riley checking his twitter mentions while enjoying a complimentary omelet at the Embassy Suites?  Could an endless stream of eggs imploring him to run the football actually have enough sway to make him throw UCLA a change up for four quarters? It would be amazing if that were the case. If there was one thing message board coaches got right this year it was the need to run the football.

Three Quick Wishes For 2016…

1) The Return of Tommy Legstrong: Tommy ran for 305 fewer yards in 2015 (400 vs 705). Splitting the difference in 2016 would be gravy.

2) A Lockdown Secondary (or at least one that isn’t consistently beaten): UCLA’s 60 yard bomb in the second quarter looked eerily similar to other times the Huskers were repeatedly scorched on the deep ball throughout the season. Then, when the Bruins started to rally in the fourth, they ran the exact same screen pass 4 or 5 times. The only variation was flipping the formation to the opposite side of the field one time.

3) A Nickname For Nate Gerry: Here are a few that come to mind… Jailhouse Rock, The Convict, Penalty Box,  Big Boss Man, Lock Up, Early Exit… (good thing there are still 9 months until the season starts)

Mike Riley’s Balloon Watch: A solid win over UCLA means Coach gets his balloon back for the off-season.

Mike Riley Happy Balloon

NUMBERS TO IMPRESS YOUR FRIENDS WITH

17:36: The Huskers’ time-of-possession advantage over UCLA.

62: The number of times the Huskers ran the ball against the Bruins for a total of 326 yards on the ground.

Now let’s compare that effort to the rest of season:

BYU – 37/126
S. Alabama – 37/258
Miami – 34/153
S. Miss – 39/242
Illinois – 34/187
Wisconsin – 37/196
Minnesota – 36/203
Northwestern – 38/82
Purdue – 33/77
Michigan State  – 36/179
Rutgers – 35/174
Iowa – 38/137

4: The number of times the 1995 Huskers, aka the greatest team in the history of college football, topped 62 rushes during their entire season. (70 vs Pacific, 63 vs Washington State, 68 vs Iowa State,  68 vs Florida)

And all this leads to Larry the Cable Guy winning the award for “Most Accurate Tweet of the Night.”

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Foster Farms Bowl Preview

Cue the triumphant clucking of humanely raised, steroid-free chickens.

The Foster Farms Bowl is finally here.

You’re excited, right?

Like more excited than this chicken, right?

If you’re finding it hard to nod in agreement like some kind of subservient chicken, it’s OK. It really is. In all honesty, I’ve kind of tuned out the lead up to the Foster Farms Bowl. It’s amazing how the return of Star Wars can make a guy instantly forget about the woes of the Huskers. Still, they have a game today and I’m back on the Big Red train in full force.

Here’s our preview…

If you can remember all the way back to September, UCLA went in to the season at #13 in the AP Poll. If I recall correctly, the Bruins were a pre-season top 10 on Sam McKewon’s ballot. Luckily, for the sake of its voters, the AP doesn’t keep an archive of week-by-week ballots so that can’t be confirmed.

UCLA had a hot 4-0 start, including a one point squeaker against BYU thanks to Tanner Mangum’s last second magic finally running out. From there, the Bruins hit the skids hard against Arizona State and at Stanford where Christian McCaffrey had a record setting day en route to the Cardinal winning by three touchdowns. Still, the Bruins won the yardage battle by a healthy margin.

That sort of statistical anomaly has been a hallmark of UCLA’s season. Against Colorado they were out gained 554-400 and had the ball for only 19 minutes, yet they won 35-31.

After crunching all of UCLA’s games, the key to beating the Bruins looks to be the ability for a team to one thing well. Go through the air like Washington State or do a ground and pound like USC, the Bruins can be shredded by a team that sticks to its guns.

And could very well be the Huskers’ problem.

Have Mike Riley and Danny Langsdorf used the bowl practices to finally forge an identity into their offense? Or is it going to be another case of another game, a whole new look?

Here’s hoping they took a page or two from USC’s methodical pummeling and feed the Bruins a steady diet of seniors Imani Cross and Andy Janovich, assuming they remember they are still on the roster. Add in a dash of Jordan Westerkamp and some non-horrible decisions by Tommy Armstrong and the Huskers could leave Levi’s Stadium with the win.

No matter how it shakes out for the Huskers, the Foster Farms Bowl is going to be one odd duck of the game.

If the Huskers lose, they’ll notch their eighth loss in a season for the first time since the 1951 squad went 2-8. At least the 1-9 record of the 1957 Huskers will be “safe” for at least one more year.

If the Huskers win tonight, especially if it’s by a convincing margin, they’ll head into the off-season with a nice boost for 2016 but there will still be that unshakable aftertaste of a team that clearly didn’t live up to its potential.

Even still, sleeping through class and acing the final exam is a much better way to go out.

Let’s turn this D minus of a season into a D+. GBR.

UCLA BRUIN
Mark it, Donnie. The Huskers will win 31-17.

BONUS CONTENT

A stat to impress your friends with: Tommy Armstrong is no longer the FBS interception leader. That honor currently belongs to Virginia’s Matt Johns who has 17 to Tommy’s paltry 16.

UCLA field trip: In case you missed it, I took a field trip to UCLA to see if anyone would notice a Husker fan roaming the campus.

I’m glad to say I didn’t get beat up, except for a few self-inflicted bumps and bruises and I even made some new friends.

UCLA BRUIN BEAR
Claws out Bruins!

BRUIN BEAR EATS A CHILD
While my new little buddy pretended to get eaten by the Bruin Bear, his dad and I had a good chat about Mike Riley. His take is that the guy is a great coach but just flat out cursed with bad luck dating back to his days with Chargers. My new little buddy and his dad were up from San Diego to visit Mattel Children’s Hospital and celebrate the 7th anniversary of the heart transplant he had at age 2. If you haven’t already, become an organ donor and help make a difference.

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View From the Boneyard: Iowa

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.

ICE SCRAPERMy 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.

Chest Painter
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.

T
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.

Huskers on the field
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?

Trophy
You can have this trophy, Iowa. We still have the $5 Bit of Broken Chair Trophy to keep us company until we get this one back next year.

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.

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Ranking All Seven Husker Losses

In a rather stunning turn of events, Mike Riley’s first season season as a Husker was one for the ages, in that he led Nebraska to their worst season since 1961.

Seven soul crushing and mind boggling losses. Each and every one a special and unique snowflake of misery.  Being the gluttons for punishment that we are, we took a whack at ranking the losses from least worst, all the way down to worst, worst.

It was far from an easy task, especially losses 5 through 3, but like a YOLO Bomb to the end zone, we took our best shot.

7) Miami 36 – Nebraska 33: We opened our recap of the game like this- “Holy schnikes. Who would have predicted that Mike Riley era would have spiraled into high drama just three games into his first season?”

Boy, did that ever become a prophetic question. If we only knew just how far down into the abyss the drama would spiral. Of the Huskers’ seven losses, this was the only one that didn’t leave fans feeling like they ate a turd filled Runza (and maybe even a little hopeful about the future). After three quarters of playing like choads on both sides of the ball, the Huskers rallied from being down 23 points in the 4th to send the game into overtime. Unfortunately, a Tommy Armstrong interception and an Alex Lewis personal foul on the Huskers’ very first play all but sealed the win for the Hurricanes.

While some of the luster was taken off this loss as Miami went on to play horrible enough to finally get Al Golden fired, the Hurricanes pulled it together to finish their regular season 8-4. Way to not stop believin’, Caneshades. Enjoy your earned bowl game.

Sad Alex Lewis
Alex Lewis stews on his first headline grabbing bad decision of the season.

6) BYU 33 – Nebraska 28: Hard to believe the Huskers’ most shocking loss of the season could be so far down the list but with the Huskers finding all kinds of insane ways to snatch last second defeat from the jaws of victory, losing on a Hail Mary thrown by a red shirt freshman QB playing in his first game becomes rather trite in the grand scheme of things.

It did help Husker morale that BYU pulled off the same miracle a week later against Boise State.  Plus, with it being Nebraska’s first game of the season with a new coaching staff and new playbooks, this last second loss could be chalked up as a total fluke, right?

BYU HAIL MARY
Hey coach, do you think we should get that Hail Mary defense installed before the season opener? Nah. What are the chances?

5) Northwestern 30 – Nebraska 28:  Fresh off the heels of the Huskers’ convincing win at Minnesota, this loss was just stupefying. The Bankshirts™ were repeatedly scorched on the ground by a QB who ran slower than T-Magic with cinder block shoes and the offense held the ball for nearly 19 minutes longer, yet Northwestern was able to chew the final four minutes off the clock and kneel their way to victory thanks to a last minute unsportsmanlike penalty from Maliek Collins. Of all the Husker losses this season, Northwestern was the most coldly anti-climactic.

Clayton ThorsonNorthwestern quarterback Clayton Thorson rushed 9 times for 126 yards. With one game remaining in his season, his average per game rushing yardage is a robust 33.36.

4) Illinois 14 – Nebraska 13: Up until yesterday’s attempted touchdown pass on 4th and 1, the decision to throw on 3rd and 7 from the Illinois 27 yard line while up 13-7 with under a minute to play was the dumbest play of the Huskers’ season. As many an armchair quarterback pointed out, Tommy could have literally ran out the clock had he taken the snap and started running the wrong way like a Tecmo Bowl Bo Jackson and taken a safety. Instead, he threw a pass at Devine Ozigbo’s feet. On 4th down, the Huskers tried passing one more time for good measure instead of attempting a field goal that would have put them up by two scores. Then again, finally deciding not to put the ball up into a swirling wind was probably the first good decision of the day. If you haven’t blocked this game from your memory, you may recall Tommy going 10 – 31 from 105 yards through the air.

After getting the ball back, it took Illinois all of two plays to go 65 yards to the Nebraska 7. From there, they proceeded to get five tries to score thanks to a pair of pass interference penalties on the Huskers.

If there’s room in the budget to pay a useless special teams coach nearly half a million dollars, surely enough change can be shook out of the athletic department couches to afford a stat minded egg head to provide an outside-the-box perspective in crucial situations. Heck, you’d probably even find some know-it-all bloggers who’d pay to have such a position.

nebraska illinois 2015Give a team enough chances to score and they will eventually find a way, even Illinois.

3) Wisconsin 23 – Nebraska 21: From Andy Janovich’s career defining 55 yard touchdown run to the north end zone goal post being the best defender on the field, everything finally seemed to be going the Huskers’ way- until Wisconsin got the ball back on their own 30 with 1:03 left to play.

Even with no timeouts, that was plenty of time for Joel “I’ll Never Graduate” Stave to slice through the Bankshirts™ and get the Badgers into field goal range and give Robert “I’ve Never Met a Pizza I Didn’t Like” Gaglianone a shot at redemption.  The amount of game clock that elapsed between his missed field goal and his game winner was 1:22. In that span, the Huskers also ran the ball straight up the gut three times for a grand total of five yards. Getting just a single first down would have salted the game away for Nebraska.

Robert Gaglianone
Wisconsin Kicker Robert Gaglianone breaks the hearts of Husker Nation while day dreaming about sweet, delicious ham. 

2) Iowa 28 – Nebraska 20:  This was by far the Huskers’ most definitive loss of the season. All the elements that plagued the six previous defeats were present and accounted for: erratic quarterback play, a running game that couldn’t make up its mind, key players who seemingly fell off the roster, head scratching play calling, dumb penalties, a defense with a knack for getting lit up at the absolutely worst times, and, despite all that, the game was still perfectly winnable.

While Iowa and their dozen or so fans have every reason to gloat about being 12-0, the Hawkeyes are such an unimpressive undefeated team they make the 2012 Notre Dame squad (remember them getting demolished by Alabama in the BCS Championship game?) look like the second coming of the Four Horsemen. The Huskers will never have an easier opportunity to beat a “top 5” team and they blew it.

Iowa Nebraska 2015
That trophy (whatever it’s called) is going to look awfully nice in the team trailer. Congrats, Iowa.

1)  Purdue 55 – Nebraska 45: Can you believe the Huskers’ ONLY double digit loss of the season came at the hand of a Boilermaker squad that’s currently boasting a 2-9 record heading into their annual showdown against Indiana? Since 2013, Purdue has notched exactly one other win in the Big Ten.

This was one of just four games of the season where Tommy Armstrong didn’t throw a single interception thanks to being injured and watching back home in Lincoln. In his place, Ryker Fyfe honored  him by throwing four picks along with 400 yards passing and a quartet of TDs in his first career start. This was a game where a present day Matt Turman could have showed up at kickoff and led the Huskers to a win. Instead, the Big Red put up their most baffling loss since falling 9-7 against Iowa State in 2009.

nebraska-purdue
Ryker Fyfe is about to get his uniform dirty for the first time in his Husker career.

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Look Hawkeyes, You Ain’t Nebraska’s F#*king Rival

Back when Nebraska joined the Big Ten in 2011, did any of you get a weird sense of deja vu over the welcome we got from our neighbors just over the Missouri River?

I did. I felt like I was watching the Star Wars cantina scene, where Luke and Obi-Wan walk in and see all these weird alien faces staring back at them. And while Obi-Wan goes to take care of some business, Luke sidles up to the bar and tries to make himself comfortable. In doing so, he bumps elbows with a creature named Ponda Baba. For those of you not steeped in the geekdom of Star Wars minutia, Ponda Baba is the alien with a damn hairy camel toe for a mouth who gets his arm hacked off by Obi-Wan’s Lightsaber.

imgresPanda Baba, enjoying his final moments of having two arms.

When Ponda initially protests Luke’s intrusion upon his space, a friend of his by the name of Dr. Cornelius Evanzan informs Luke that Ponda does not like him. Luke shrugs it off. Then Evanzan says that, in fact, he himself does not like Luke, either, and that Luke had better watch himself.

Does this all seem eerily familiar now?

You bet, because that was exactly the way Iowa approached its newfound conference relationship with Nebraska back in 2011. Nebraska was just trying to get the lay of the land in the Big Ten (and maybe order a drink) when Iowa came over and said, “Hey, we’re you’re rivals.”

Nebraska did a double-take and checked its surroundings, then looked back at Iowa and said, “Were you talking to me?”

And Iowa shot back, “I don’t like you. You just watch yourself. We’re wanted men. I have the death sentence on twelve systems.”

To which Nebraska then beat the Hawkeyes three times out of the next four seasons. A metaphorical equivalence of chopping off Ponda Baba’s arm.

Living in Omaha since Nebraska’s move to the Big Ten has given me a new perspective on a place that I never much pondered having grown up in Grand Island, gone to college in Lincoln and lived ten years in L.A. The metropolitan area of Omaha spills over into Iowa which produces encounters with actual Iowa fans — an event I’m not entirely sure ever happened to me prior to my move here.

As it turns out, Iowa fans are under the impression that their football team is somehow simpatico with Nebraska’s. What evidence do they put forth? Well, the fact that since 2000, Iowa and Nebraska have had a similar winning percentage. Both being in the 60% range. Actually Nebraska’s is 67% (the 17th best percentage since 2000). And Iowa’s is 60% (the 36th best winning percentage over the same time period).

Why is this significant to Iowa fans when comparing their program to Nebraska’s? Why discard the entire 20th and 19th Centuries? Because, if you include the entirety of college football history, Nebraska has the 7th best win percentage of all time. Iowa has the 60th. Nebraska also has five National Titles. But if you look at just the 21st Century, Nebraska is just 7% better than Iowa and has zero National Titles. Just like them.

So recently, a Hawkeye friend of mine was pondering out loud — Why does Iowa have so many rivals? He then went on to list them: Wisconsin, Iowa State, Minnesota, Illinois, Northwestern, Nebraska.

To which I said, “Hold up. Nebraska isn’t Iowa’s rival.”

He looked at me as though that were the dumbest thing he’d ever heard.

He said, “Yes, we are. We’re border rivals dude. You realize that patch of land on the other side of the river is a state called “Iowa” and in it, there is a football team that has nearly the same winning percentage as yours over the last 14 years and who has won a conference championship, twice, while you have not and has played in the Orange Bowl twice, while you have not and has finished in the Top 10 four times, while you have not.”

All right. Well, be that as it may — Nebraska has had its own little spate of things Iowa has not had over the last 14 seasons. Namely a Rose Bowl appearance. How did that happen when, as Hawkeye Hank pointed out, Iowa has won the Big Ten twice? Because, as he so painstakingly avoided mentioning, Iowa split its two Big Ten Championships. Once with Ohio State and once with Michigan — both of whom were sexier choices than Iowa for the Big Ten representative in Pasadena.

The last time Iowa won an outright conference title was in 1985. One of just three in the Hawkeyes’ illustrious history. When was Nebraska’s last outright conference title? 1999. The last of 37 such crowns.

What else has Nebraska done in the last 14 years that Iowa hasn’t? Played in a National Title game. When has Iowa done that? Never.

But don’t tell that to Iowa fans who will club you to death with their 1958 Football Writers Association of America National Title Award. A team that won 8 games for the season, tied Air Force and lost to Ohio State by ten points. And never mind that 10-0 LSU was given the AP and UPI National Titles. To Hawkeye fans, that 1958 “national title” is just as legit as any of Nebraska’s. The Huskers went a combined 62-0-1 to collect their five trophies, while Iowa bumbled through an 8-1-1 season to get theirs.

Yeah, sure, that’s the same thing.

Continuing my conversation with Hawkeye Hank, I pointed out that the pinnacle of Iowa football (the Kirk Ferentz era) is equivalent to Nebraska’s worst stretch since the 1950s. Their “highs” were essentially our “lows.”

My friend, naturally, misconstrued this statement to mean that I said Nebraska’s lows were just like Iowa’s 2015 season — which is essentially their dream season. His contempt was anything but vague when he responded, “Oh, Nebraska’s lows are 10-0 are they?”

At the time of the statement, Iowa hadn’t yet beaten Purdue. But this remark got me thinking. Nebraska’s lows aren’t 10-0. But that record is actually closer to Nebraska’s “norms” than Iowa’s “highs.”

With a win over Minnesota, Iowa became 10-0 for the first time in the history of their program. Nebraska, coincidentally, also had a first in 2015. The Huskers never had 6 losses before the month of November ever in the history of the program. Initially I thought both bits of trivia couldn’t be true. Nebraska sucked in the 1940s and 1950s. Surely, at some point back then NU suffered six losses before November. And Iowa never going 10-0 before? I know they suck, but who hasn’t done that?

But nope. The research bears it out. 2015 is the first and only year for each stat for both teams.

Out of curiosity, I wanted to see how common these firsts were for each of the other programs. And here is what I found.

Nebraska has started 12 different seasons at 10-0. Iowa has had 8 seasons in which they’ve lost 6 or more games before November. (Sometimes 7 and 8.)

In fact, Iowa has only ever had 7 seasons with 10 or more wins in total. Nebraska has had 7 10-win seasons since 1999. The Huskers have had 28 10-win seasons in total. More than a quarter century if strung together. Iowa’s record of 10-win campaigns can’t even fill a single decade.

When I presented this information to Hawkeye Hank, he gave me a cold, dead stare and said, “Wow, man. That’s really condescending.”

imgres-2Iowa Hawkeyes fan by day. Stryper groupie by night. No costume change required.

Condescending? No, you know what’s condescending? Pointing this nugget out: Nebraska’s first 10-0 start to a season was in 1902 and NU was just the sixth school in the history of the sport to accomplish such a feat — following Yale, Harvard, Princeton, Penn and Michigan.

Iowa’s accomplishment came only after these school’s managed to pull the same trick:

Air Force
Alabama
Arizona State
Arkansas
Arkansas State
Auburn
Ball State
Boise State
Boston College
BYU
Colorado
Clemson
Florida State
Georgia
Georgia Tech
Harvard
Hawaii
Kansas
Kansas State
LSU
Marshall
Maryland
Memphis
Miami (FL)
Miami (OH)
Michigan
Michigan State
Minnesota
Missouri
Nebraska
New Mexico State
Northern Illinois
Notre Dame
Ohio State
Oklahoma
Oklahoma State
Ole Miss
Penn
Penn State
Pittsburgh
Princeton
San Diego State
San Jose State
Stanford
Syracuse
TCU
Tennessee
Texas
Texas A&M
Texas Tech
Toledo
Tulane
Tulsa
UCLA
USC
Utah
Virginia Tech
Washington
West Virginia
Wyoming
Yale

That’s 61 other teams who have enjoyed the equivalent of Iowa’s “dream season” before the Hawkeyes ever fully realized it.

And that, my friend, is condescension.

To that, Hawkeye Hank got a little contemplative. He said, “You know, it’s hard being a fan of a team that stays in contention every single week. Seriously, the stress winning brings to every game can’t be good for the heart. It’s way less stressful if you already expect 3 to 4 losses. If you’re expecting to win them all, or at least, feel you’re good enough to win every game, it’s just devastating when that loss finally happens.”

To which I smiled and nodded. I said, “You see, that’s why Iowa and Nebraska are not rivals. You have a wait-until-the-other-shoe-drops mentality. I simply can’t relate to that. I went to college at Nebraska from 1993 to 1999. Watching my team practically never lose felt like a perpetual blow job, really.”

And that’s it. Nebraska and Iowa football are fundamentally different. The history, the expectations, the head-to-head record. Is it possible that Iowa and Nebraska eventually do become rivals? I suppose. Iowa will need to have more seasons like this one. And they’ll need to have Nebraska climb back up to the elite, too. Rivals are born out of mutual respect. What we have here is a middling program with stars in its eyes amidst the best season in its history. And a one-time Titan looking to get back to its dominating ways.

When the series history becomes a clash of titans, that’s when we can roll out the rivalry talk.

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