Tag Archives: iowa hawkeyes

It’s Already Been a Week?

The best part about being your own boss is dictating your own schedule.

A week has passed since the Huskers ended their regular season by getting taken to the woodshed by Iowa and I’m only writing about it now because, quite frankly, I didn’t want to deal with thinking about that damn game.

A season that started with so much hope and promise flat out belly flopped on the Kinnick Stadium turf. (Writing that sentence alone is giving me a serious TUMS craving. Or maybe that’s the box of cereal I had for lunch.)

Out of the Huskers’ three regular season losses, losing to Iowa by far hurt the worst and not just because it was stinkin’ Iowa.

Coming up short in overtime in a winnable game against Wisconsin stung but proved the Huskers were ready to compete with anyone in the Big Ten, for at least a week anyway.

Getting blown out 62-3  by Ohio State seven days later showed there was plenty of room for growth before being able to compete with every Big Ten team but the thing about getting trucked like that is that sometimes it’s just your turn to get eaten by the bear to paraphrase The Stranger from the Big Lebowski.

Losing to Iowa, though, was a whole new level of ugly, like getting farted on during a lap dance in a Council Bluffs strip club kind of ugly.

There was no justifiable reason for the Huskers to have even have been in a situation where that could have happened but everything that could wrong did go wrong, starting with Bad Tommy coming out to play.

Side story time…

My good buddy Marc joined us at our local Husker bar to watch his first ever Nebraska game on purpose.  He’s a die-hard USC fan and for the last three years our Dodger season tickets have been a couple rows behind his and his father’s. Marc’s meltdowns are the stuff legend in our section. He let it be known well in advance that he was looking forward to seeing myself and fellow Big Red Fury writer/Dodger fan, Leslie Micek, get heated like he does when the Dodgers blow an 8th inning lead.

Thanks to the Huskers laying an egg from the get go, our level of outward rage didn’t peaked at “disappointed grandpa,” which, if you’ve ever disappointed your grandpa, you know is the worst kind of rage. That I’m-so-mad-I-can’t-even-talk-to-you kind of rage that makes you question your very place on this Earth.

Our lack of conversation gave Marc plenty of time to observe the Huskers. He fit right in too, even yelling “holding” right on cue with everyone else who noticed penalties that the Big Ten refs are seemingly blind to.

Marc’s big observation involved the lack of creativity the Huskers’ offense.

1st down: Get stuffed with a run up the middle.
2nd down: Swing pass to the sideline that goes nowhere.
3rd down: YOLObomb that lands in a green sea of empty turf.

At one point Marc sincerely asked us if Tommy always played like he did against Iowa and how much worse the Huskers backups had to be if they weren’t getting any PT.

After explaining that Tommy was basically playing on one leg and how the holder was the emergency third string quarterback, he simply shook his head in awe that we’re able to saddle up Huskers week in and week out.

It’s what we Husker fans do. Ride or die, ya know.

On to the usual stuff…


Mike Riley’s Balloon Watch
mike-riley-flaming-pile-of-poo
Oh how we didn’t miss you, flaming poop emoji.

Our Score Prediction

Honestly, I should have known the Huskers were going to be doomed thanks to the random drunk Jedi. I only wanted Chewbacca in the video but he insisted they worked as a team so I gave him $7 thinking they’d split it like a couple of Hollywood Blvd’s Spider-Men do. When we were done filming, which took exactly as long as the video above, he asked for his cut. I told him I only had a buck left and that’s all I could give him so homeboy had the audacity to pull out a Square credit card reader and had the balls to ask for $20 for his performance.

The last costumed weirdo to pull that move was a Captain America before the Miami game last year and we know how that one turned out.

You’re dead to me, Chewie.

What a Husker crowd looks like after Iowa has walked most of the room.

NUMBERS TO DEPRESS YOUR FRIENDS WITH

I don’t even want to look. Enjoy this courtside view of the Husker basketball team instead. They didn’t look to bad against UCLA.


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The Best of #IowaHateWeek

While the Big Ten rivalry between the Nebraska and Iowa is still in its infancy, Husker Twitter is doing its best to make it happen with #IowaHateWeek.

Since the final whistle of the Maryland game, zingers have been lobbed over the Missouri River 140 characters at a time.

Before you get your classiest fans in college football panties up in a bunch, keep in mind that #IowaHateWeek is all in good fun and it’s all funny because it’s all true.

Solid and timely. Next time use a current photo of Memorial Stadium though ; )

Who says millennials  contribute nothing to society?

(Oh wait. This tweet was probably written by a member of Generation Z. Haha, Millennials. You’re getting old.)

Props the Big Red Cobcast dudes for using a $5 word like celestial.

ProTip: Use 0s instead of Os to make a password stronger.

That last query is due to this…

That is a real newspaper headline and it led to this…

Good ol’ Iowa. Terrified by the guy who ate 1995 Tommie Frazier.

This one goes out to my brother and his family.  We visited them for Christmas last year and the most fascinating thing about Des Moines was that Iowa’s largest city boasted not one but TWO video stores and they were BOTH hiring.

If you get punk’d by a squirrel, give up.

This one gets self-promoted solely on the basis of how much work it was to hit Google Image Search gold and find an Iowa fan using a computer.

The most disgusting part of that photo is the black and yellow overalls. Such a horrible combo.

I hope drunk stepdad gets a shirt for Christmas.

Lil’ Red threw so much fire his suit got a lil’ melty.

So dumb. So perf.

We’ve ALL dated Iowa.  And speaking of crazy chicks, you definitely want to swipe left if you run across this felon on Tinder.

Marvel at Iowa City’s best worst criminals by scrolling through the Iowa City Crime Report and you’ll be convinced Iowa is the Florida of the Midwest.


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Sunday Evening Hot Takes: Maryland Edition

As an In-N-Out enthusiast, Mike Riley might be calling the Maryland game his coaching Double Double.

OK, probably not. But get a load of the ways the Huskers doubled up the Terrapins.

Total Yards

Nebraska 401
Maryland 207

Time of Possession
Nebraska 39:00
Maryland 21:00

If this recap is already dripping with all the excitement of an owner’s manual for an alarm clock, it’s because there isn’t much to work with on this one.

Outside of oohing and aahing like it was the 4th of July every time Ryker Fyfe completed one of his 23 passes, this was by far the most non-exciting game of the season. Even the vanilla Fresno State game had the newness of a season opener going for it and a 22 point 4th quarter to make sure everyone paid attention to end.

Not that there’s ever anything wrong with boring when the Huskers leave the field with a win AND hold their opponent to 11 yards rushing. The seniors got a great sendoff, a touching tribute was paid Sam Foltz, and the newest Husker Jack Johnson had the best day ever.

Meanwhile, 15 of Husker Nation’s finest rolled out of bed to make a 9am kickoff.

Before you label us a boring crowd of Husker fans, just know that we were saving our energy for the social event of the season- #IOWAHATEWEEK.

Mike Riley’s Balloon Watch
mike-riley-happy-balloon9a
Did you know one of HCMR’s nicknames is Ol’ Nine Balloons Riley?

Our Score Prediction

Had we known back in August that Ryker would be starting this one we certainly would have dialed down the offensive output a smidge.

NUMBERS TO IMPRESS YOUR FRIENDS WITH

3: It was a career Senior Day for Terrell Newby as he found the end zone three times, setting a personal single game record. One more and he would have entered Al Bundy territory.

175: The yardage Terrell Newby needs to hit 1,000 on the ground for the season. Still not outside the realm of possibility.

.705: The Huskers are batting over .700 on 4th down, going 12 for 17 on the year so far.

9, 10, 11: As a college coach Mike Riley has hit the 9 win mark four times and got to 10 once back in 2006. He’s never had an 11 win season.

60/40: The run/pass split is currently a dead even 60/40. Last season it was 52/48.  This isn’t by any means a sexy statistic but keep in in your back pocket if Uncle Run the Ball Guy goes on a rant about the Huskers running less this season over Thanksgiving dinner. You’ll show him who’s boss.

6: This one is really going down the rabbit hole of extreme randomness but did you know that six different Huskers attempted a pass back in 2006? Zac Taylor, Joe Ganz, Dan Titchener, Maurice Purify, Marlon Lucky, and Jake Wesch?  Maybe you could win a bet with Uncle Run the Ball Guy with that useless nugget.

Oh the things you find skimming through seasons of stats when you’re trying to avoid writing about a boring game.


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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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A Husker Fan Walks into the Rose Bowl…

Call me slow in the uptake but it only took 15 years of living in Los Angeles to realize that I could go to the Rose Bowl anytime. Among the Rose Bowl committee’s labyrinth of rules, there is no stipulation that says one must be a fan of either team playing.

Plus, it helped that my lovely wife let it slip a little too early in the afternoon of New Year’s Eve that our plans for the next day were going to include painting our guest bathroom. I needed an excuse to get out of the house quick and Iowa playing in the Rose Bowl fit the bill quite nicely.

There was just one problem.

Paying actual money to see Iowa play football was not my idea of a good time, even if the alternative was painting a bathroom.

Lucky for me, I had yet to make my annual pilgrimage to Coinstar.  If I only spent a year’s worth of loose change on a ticket, I wouldn’t technically be spending real money per se.

In short order, I established some ground rules for this potential field trip.

1. No antagonizing Iowa fans. As a representative of Husker Nation, I shall conduct myself in a classy manner (unless heckled first). Consider this my version of Top Gun’s big rule of engagement: Do not fire unless fired upon.

2. The maximum amount I could spend on a ticket is whatever loot I get from the Coinstar gods + a $16 buffer. ($16 was the amount I declined to spend to see Mötley Crüe’s penultimate show on Wednesday night. Even at less than $20, it just wasn’t worth it to put on pants to see a pudgy Vince Neil.)

Off to Coinstar I went…

COINSTAR
C’mon, big bucks. No whammies.

COIN STAR TICKETBoom! $93.66 + 16 = $109.66 with which to score a ticket.

Cut to the next morning and my wife kicked me out of the car at a nearby subway station and I was off to Pasadena.

LA RED LINEDid you know that Los Angeles has had a subway system since 1993?

LA RED LINE 1
And it is always packed.

IOWA FAN RIDES THE SUBWAYAn Iowa fan totes all 12 of his Rose Bowl essentials.

Within approximately two minutes of stepping foot into Old Town Pasadena, I crossed paths with a scalper holding a handful of tickets high above his head. Contrary to what Dirk and “professional scalper” Joey from Kansas City might think, it is always possible to get into any event on the cheap.

My chat with the scalper went like this…

Me: Got any singles?
Scalpler: A few. What are you looking for?
Me: Don’t care at all. Whatever gets me in for $60.
Scalper: Sorry. Can’t help you.

And then right on cue…

Iowa Fan: Excuse me? Are you just looking for just one ticket? We have an extra right on the 40-yard-line.
Me: That sounds great but I’m only spending $80 today. You could probably get more for it.
(Iowa fan confers with her friends)
Iowa Fan: That’s OK. We just want to get rid of it. It’s all yours. Oh my God, you’re a Husker fan!?!
Me: Yep. And while I won’t be cheering for y’all, I won’t be rooting against y’all either. Just want to put that out there.
Iowa Fan: Oh, it’s OK. Us Big Ten teams gotta stick together.

NEW IOWA FRIENDS
Me and my new Hawkeye friends. My only regret about the transaction was not asking the scalper to take the photo.

Rose Bowl Ticket
A close up of my ticket. 56% off face value isn’t too shabby.

WALKING TO THE ROSE BOWL
For the record this wackadoo wasn’t an Iowa fan. This group’s signs are always black and yellow.

Upon entering the Rose Bowl grounds, one thing immediately struck me. You could never tell that the Rose Bowl was Iowa’s consolation game. Everyone in black and/or yellow was thrilled to be there and it was an amazing display of spirit for their team. With the way Hawkeye fans were running around and soaking up the January sunshine, they made a great case for the entire state of Iowa to be the Whoville of college football. Nobody seemed to care about missing the playoffs.

IOWA TAILGATE

IOWA FANS
Hawkeye fans as far as the eye could see. Sanford fans remained pretty well sequestered among themselves before the game.

IOWA SUPER FAN
This dude ruled.

BLOWN COVER
This is a look an Iowa fan makes when he realizes there is a Husker fan walking among them. We ended up having a very cordial chat.

OUTSIDE THE ROSE BOWL
Obligatory I’m-at-the-Rose Bowl photo. I like to think the camo hat gave me Milhouse levels of invisibility while walking among Iowa fans.

As the world saw, things didn’t exactly go Iowa’s way starting with the very first play of the game. Christian McCaffrey (aka football’s Frankenstein’s monster built from a blend of Ameer and Rex) took a short pass 75 yards for a touchdown. It was all downhill for the Hawkeyes but this guy never gave up hope.

Best Iowa Fan Ever 1

He simply got a fresh tall boy of Coors.

Best Iowa Fan Ever
Being down 35-0 was not a problem for Iowa’s biggest fan. This guy was awesome.

At halftime Hawkeye Nation was treated to a special Farmer’s Only themed serenade from the Leland Standford Junior University Marching Band. As a not-easily-offended and (mostly) impartial observer, it was a hilarious shit show that made me feel like I was whisked back to that magical time when Andy Kaufman was wrestling women. I’ve never heard such glorious booing in my life.

Of all the ways the LSJUMB insulted Iowa, having a “Wisconsin dairy cow” (as one Iowa fan kept shouting) traipsing across the Rose Bowl turf may have been their biggest offense. Perhaps it was a mistake but knowing those scamps, it was probably intentional that the wrong breed of cow was used.

Either way, it was genius and a nice flashback to 1996 when I got to enjoy a game at Stanford sitting with the band. A dear friend was one of its directors back then and was the devious mastermind behind their infamous potato famine themed show that still sends Notre Dame fans into a fighting mood.

Be sure to enable sound so you can hear the LSJUMB getting booed off the field.

Tom Arnold Rose Bowl
Until Iowa got on the board with field goal to make it 38-3 in the third quarter, proud Iowan Tom Arnold held the distinction of receiving the Hawkeye faithful’s biggest cheers of the day. Apparently all 14 members of Slipknot were busy.

Stanford mercifully took their foot off the gas in the second half and Iowa was able to mount a small rally much to the delight of their fans who refused to leave early. I’d be lying if I didn’t say I was kinda, sorta hoping for a Hawkeye beat down but seeing it happen in the most brutal way possible gave me that feeling of remorse you get when the yokel part of your brain momentarily gets excited about seeing a car crash until you remember there are people trapped inside the twisted wreckage and that they will have to deal with their One Sure Insurance company.

I spent most of the fourth quarter trying to console the Iowa fans around me but they all seemed to be in mostly good spirits. By the final whistle, I came away with a new and healthy respect for the Huskers’ rival to the east. Hawkeye fans really aren’t that bad and dare I say pretty good people. There really might be more to Iowa than the Shelbyville vibe of Council Bluffs.

Weird Ticket CollectorThe guy in the Lane Kiffin visor gets the award for being the biggest kook of the night. He’s a ticket collector and was hounding anyone and everyone for their stubs. Even after getting blown out, Iowa fans weren’t too keen on giving him their tickets.

In fact, you might even say Iowa fans were ready to keep the party going. After all, bumping RATT in the frosty air of the Rose Bowl parking lot is way better than having to go back home to Iowa.

Stay gold, Hawkeye Nation. We’ll see you again in November.

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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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Bye Week Field Trip: A Visit to the USS Iowa

“So, what brings you to the USS Iowa today?”

It was an innocent question but it was as loaded as one of the battleship’s massive 16 inch guns back in the day.

I smiled at the lady on the other side of the glass while I bought my brain a little time to think of a good reason. She had a level of cheery pep not seen since Jan Hooks played Tina the Alamo tour guide. Between her enthusiasm and the layout of the ticket booth giving me a flashback to that one time I went to confession, I couldn’t lie. I had to spill my guts.

“Uh… I came here to poke fun at Iowa.”

Before her brow could even furrow, I stammered on.

“Not the ship or the museum but the state of Iowa and the Iowa Hawkeyes and their fans. My college team is playing Iowa next Friday and it’s their biggest game of the season so I thought this would be something fun for my football site. Don’t worry. It will all be very tasteful and in mostly good spirits.”

“So… you’re saying you’re visiting today because of a football game?”

“Yep. Pretty much.”

“That’ll be $19.95. Would you like to sign up for our email list?”

After 11 straight weeks of Husker football Saturdays, this late season bye week threw a wrench in my usual game day routine. Luckily, I woke up with the brilliant idea to roll down to San Pedro pay a visit to the USS Iowa, which is permanently docked in the Port of Los Angeles as a floating museum, and let The Big Stick know that the Big Red plans to break some Hawkeye hearts the day after Thanksgiving.

USS IOWA 16 INCH GUN
The 16 inch guns of the USS Iowa can launch a 2,700lb projectile 23 miles. They also make a nice platform to display the grim truth that the Huskers will be notching their 6th win of the season.

Before I hit the road for the 25 mile drive down to the home of Mike Watt, I did suffer a bit of an existential crisis when it came to my personal Husker fandom.

I didn’t own a Husker flag.

Good thing a Tunnel Walk of Shame YOLO f#*kwads t-shirt from BBB Printing makes a damn fine substitute.

Tunnel Walk of ShameSomewhere, not too far off in the distance beyond YOLO f#*kwads, Taylor Martinez very well could have been showing an open house.

Along with the life preserver, the USS Iowa boasts many more fascinating details, such as a bathtub specifically installed for FDR to use during his trans Atlantic journey to the historic Tehran Conference and this amazing sign found in the galley.

IMPORTANT NOTE IN THE KITCHEN
Pretty sure this sign is directed at you, people of Iowa.

The most amazing part of the tour happened below deck in near the stern of the ship. I was looking at a model of a Tomahawk missile, or maybe it was a Harpoon, either way, a woman noticed my shirt and pointed me out to her husband who gently shook his head in anticipation of what was about to follow.

“Are you a Husker fan? From Nebraska?”

“Yeah. I’m from Grand Island but I live out here now.”

“Cozad. Live in Seattle. Chris Dishman is my brother.”

“No way! He would have played there when I was in school.”

Thus began our quick bro-down in the bowels of the USS Iowa. We went from being strangers to speaking our own language and sharing a few laughs in a matter of seconds. It was a wonderful reminder that no matter where you go in the world there’s a pretty good chance you’re going to run into a fellow Husker.

We sure as heck didn’t run into any Iowa fans.

USS IOWA GIFT SHOP
The USS Iowa gift shop is stocked with all kinds of good stuff.

USS IOWA 2
Look! Off the port side bow, it’s the mythical island of Missing Iowan Teeth.

USS IOWA PLAQUEIn all seriousness, if you have any shred of historical curiosity, the Battleship Iowa Museum is a great place to visit. As soon as I walked aboard, I kicked myself for not going sooner.  Not to play tour guide but if you’re ever out in LA, it’d be quite easy to double up and visit the ship and the space shuttle Endeavor which is just 15 miles up the 110, aka a quick 20 minute or grueling hour and a half drive away depending on traffic. 

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Nebraska vs Iowa Recap: A Butt Punt Special Investigation

Things got off to a rocky start for the Huskers to begin the second half against Iowa.

First, Bo Pelini struggled to unwrap a piece of gum.

Bo Pelini Gum

Then, there was the Butt Punt.

BUTTPUNT  Full Speed

Then, Husker Nation was immediately all like-

Of course Omaha World-Herald staff writer Dirk Chatelain was quick on the draw with a below the belt tweet while the Huskers were at their arguably lowest point of the season.

Too bad the character limitations of Twitter didn’t allow Omaha World-Herald staff writer Dirk Chatelain to more accurately describe what happened on the Butt Punt, which is A Nebraska native scored a touchdown thanks to standing in the right place at the right time when a fellow Nebraska native rocketed a punt off the helmet of his teammate.

(And on a note Omaha World-Herald staff writer Dirk Chatelain would ever bring up, a Nebraska native on the Huskers’ defensive line is currently enjoying the season on his life.)

We’ll have more on the selective accuracy issues of Omaha World-Herald Dirk Chatelain later this week but until then, we’re going back to the Butt Punt.

Despite what Matt Millen said, the Butt Punt wasn’t a Butt Punt at all.

Butt Punt was a Back-Of-The-Head-Punt.

BUTTPUNT2
Wonder what Zach Hannon was thinking when a Thunder Leg special plunked the back of his head?

Here’s another angle.

BUTTPUNT1
If you look close, you can see Sam Foltz’ soul leaving his body as he is chokeslammed to the turf.

And not to be dicks but we hate to see the fruits of late night drunken GIF making go to waste so here’s one more.

BUTT PUNT SNAP
Don’t forget, Thunder Leg was the one who forced the Iowa fumble in the first quarter so cut the dude a break. Even with the Butt Punt his highlight to blooper ratio is off the charts.

So, about the game that Husker Nation either loved or hated depending on whether or not you like your team more than whoever is coaching it.

This is what we said in our preview.

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

If there was ever a moment to set the stage for the meltdown to end all meltdowns, it was a touchdown scored off a Butt Punt to give Iowa a 17 point lead.

Did the Huskers wilt under the embarrassment and pressure?

Nope.

Tim Beck flipped to the dogeared YOLO section his playbook and Huskers young and old stepped up on both sides of the ball to will their team to victory. It was a total team win that sent nine Husker fans into as much of a frenzy that could be mustered in an empty bar on Sunset Blvd the morning after Thanksgiving.

Before you mock our low turnout, the level of Husker fandom present was probably higher than most watch sites. Along with one mediocre blogger, there were not one but two champion podcasters. (Subscribe here and here.) Plus, Ryan from the Cobcast made that little film Through These Gates which would make an excellent holiday gift for any Husker fan ; )

So what’s next for Pelini and company? Who really knows? Half the internet says the guy is already fired. The other half says there’s no way you can fire a coach with his record.

Then there’s a tiny sliver of the internet (possibly confined to just this little corner) that almost wishes Bo would hit eject and peace out to greener pastures on his own accord. Imagine the reaction from the Boleavers if he set up shop at Florida and promptly took the Gators to the top of the SEC.

The guy certainly has his pros and cons. Do we love him? Nope. Do we hate him? Nope. We’ve never met the him so that’s about all the opinion we can have. But we would  shake his hand, offer to buy him a beer and remind that not every Husker fan is an internet Athletic Director.

Whatever happens with this Huskers team over the next few weeks remember, the reason why you’re a fan is because of the team- not just a single individual.

 

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