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The Saddest Thing I’ve Ever Done

Saturday, November 5: 6:47pm

It’s 13 minutes before the Ohio State game and I am weirdly calm. Mike Riley has even coached me to stay calm and just relax at game time. It’s oddly reassuring. I’m just over here sipping a Budweiser and waiting for the game to begin. The Huskers have a chance to pull this off. My score prediction is 28-21. I think it’s going to be close but the Huskers want this. They know what it feels like to have a failed season and don’t want it to happen again. This Ohio State team doesn’t really know that feeling. Something just tells me that this game is going to go to the good guys. The Huskers. I know this team is beaten up and I’m sure I will be posting my post game reaction and feeling totally different. Like a moron. Because that’s what Husker fans have come to expect. Disappointment. But not tonight. I won’t accept that this season is ending tonight. I can’t.

7:15pm

Tommy threw a pick six on the first drive… might start watching Bama LSU

8:18pm

Ohio State: 21, Nebraska: 3

Actually might start watching Bama LSU

8:28pm

Punt recovered by Nebraska. I see hope. But it might be the beer talking.

8:38pm

It’s been a few minutes since Tommy went down. I’m scared. He is being carted off. He just gave the thumbs up. Who cares about this game at this point, just want him to be OK. Tommy has been the heart and soul of Nebraska for the past few years. He really is the best player on the team just because I never ever see him give up. And that’s all I can ask.

8:42pm

Ryker is in after Tommy is taken to the hospital. Morale is low. Hope is disappearing. I’m running low on beer.

9:25pm

12 seconds into the second half. Touchdown Ohio State. I feel like I’m watching a train wreck. Why am I still watching this?

9:41pm

So Tommy is just running back into the stadium in scrubs right now. The guy is a damn robot. Just happy to see him back.

10:09pm

Ohio State: something over 50, Huskers:3

I’m done with this blog

Tuesday, November 8: 6:20pm

Remember when I thought it was smart to attempt to live blog a Nebraska vs. OSU game? I do. And I’m a delusional idiot.


For real time hot takes from Leslie, follow her on Twitter- @lesmicek

 

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Sunday Afternoon Hot Takes: Ohio State Edition

In case you were lucky enough to miss last night’s debacle, here’s a recap of all you need to know.

Where do we even begin? This was such a vicious, unbridled ass kicking it should have come with a trigger warning.

Without subjecting myself to the digital paper cuts of verifying exactly where this loss ranks among historical beat downs, these are the first pummelings that come to mind that no amount of therapy has been able to erase.

Texas Tech, 2004 – Remember how we were tricked into thinking  this game could be chalked up to the growing pains of installing the West Coast Offense and not the harbinger of doom that Bill Callahan was a lousy coach?

Colorado, 2001 – The go-to game when it’s time to point to the one that ruined it all.

Miami, 2002 – Proved the previous game wasn’t a fluke.

Miami, 1992 – The shutout that led to a dynasty.

Arizona State, 1996 – The shutout that ended a dynasty.

Missouri, 2008 – Remember how we were tricked into believing that these meltdowns would stop when Bo Pelini had “his” players and not the harbinger of doom that Pelini was a lousy coach?

Wisconsin, 2014 – OK we get it now. Please make it stop.

Laser Tag, 1987 – Out of all the savage and merciless beat downs I’ve ever endured, this one hits the closest to home and is the most analogous to what transpired last night in Columbus. This one bubbled up while listening to Big Red Overreaction on the way home. Thanks, Damon Benning.

Buckle up, kids. It’s story time.

The scene, Grand Island, NE. 1987. Fifth grade. The martial arts fad inspired by the Karate Kid had finally died out and what had been a downtown dojo was transformed into a futuristic Laser Tag arena.  No longer would we be subjected to playing in dingy basements. (Playgrounds and parks were off-limits after a kid in California was shot by a police officer who thought he had a real gun.) We finally had a real Laser Tag arena that was worthy of the booming metropolis that was Nebraska’s third largest city.

My friends and I played there every chance we could. The arena boasted pro-level equipment, a maze of unfinished plywood, and more black lights than an above average bong store.

It wasn’t long before the management invited us to join a league that was forming. We knew right away that this was destined to be our first step on the path towards becoming professional Laser Tag players. There was no professional league yet but there would be. Laser Tag was the sport of the future and we weren’t going to waste this opportunity.

In the two weeks leading up to our first match, we put ourselves though boot camp. We had conditioning workouts at recess and strategy sessions after school. Down in our basement we built a replica of the arena out of refrigerator boxes that we dragged home from an appliance store so we could practice close quarters combat in secret. We were so driven and obsessed we should have planned a bank robbery instead. We probably would have gotten away with it.

Our debut match was on a school night which made it that much more special. After enduring the longest day ever, my mom dropped the four of us Lazer Boltz (the still crummy team name I had to think up on the spot when we signed up for the league) off outside the arena.

We were still on the curb when our competition pulled up.

In their own cars.

Not only were they high school kids, they were the kind of of long haired metal heads you avoided at the pool and ran from at the mall. The deep end and arcade was their turf and we were grateful to be occasional guests.

Now we were about to be locked in a pitch black room with them and would be trapped in there until victors emerged.

Still, we liked our chances. While these kids were busy smoking cigarettes and listening to records backwards, we were training. In an egalitarian and utopian sport such as Laser Tag, it didn’t matter that we were each outweighed by 100lbs.

Until it did matter.

The Lazer Boltz started out strong but we were soon over matched when our foes realized that no referee in the arena meant that an abstract concept such as “rules” didn’t need to exist. They systematically chased us down like a pack of raptors and wrestled us into full nelsons and executed us at point blank range.

The yellow belt I earned in that very room six months earlier would prove to be no match for brute size and strength but at least I knew how to take a punch.

The Lazer Boltz disbanded after our first and only match. My mom flew off the handle on the guy who ran the place when she returned to find a quartet of sniveling kids on the curb. Turned out we were the only actual children in the league and were invited to only to help boost the numbers.

None of us ever returned.  The arena went out of business a few months later.


By this point,  Husker Nation should know how to take a gut punch and roll with it. A team can practice hard and do everything right but sometimes it’s going to walk into a buzz saw from which there will be no escape. All you can do is take your lumps, move on, and get better.

Last night, Ohio State was that buzz saw and the Huskers were humiliated on the national stage. It’s wasn’t the first time and it won’t be the last time. Shit happens and sometimes that shit is a scoreboard that reads 62-3.

In my preview of the game, I said that Tommy Armstrong Jr. could cement his legacy at Nebraska by leading the Huskers to victory. Instead, he cemented it by walking back onto the field in medical scrubs 58 minutes after he was strapped to a spinal board and taken to the hospital with his future hanging in the balance. In a night marked by defeat, this was the bigger victory.

Now for the usual Sunday stuff.

Mike Riley’s Balloon Watch
mike-riley-happy-balloon-hindenburg
Shout out to @KingJHip for suggesting the Hindenburg.

Our Score Prediction

fullsizerender2Just a little off with the Huskers winning 28-21. Then again, nobody saw this one coming.

It should be noted that the contingent of Ohio State fans was (mostly) gracious in victory and just as concerned for Tommy as Husker fans were.

img_9974Hey kids, don’t lick dry erase marker.

img_9976Thanks for helping make us forget this game ever happened, Vinnie.

NUMBERS TO IMPRESS YOUR FRIENDS WITH

Add the first four items up and you get a pregame YOLObomb. (Click the link to watch a video of the shenanigans.)

img_9969
Nothing says eating your feelings like an ice cream sandwich of defeat.


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Sorry Ohio State, Nebraska Nice is Over

Another week, another big game for your still-in-the-top-10 Huskers.

Following last Saturday’s disappointing loss at Wisconsin, Mike Riley said that his team would be “playing mad” tonight against Ohio State.

The Huskers should be playing more than mad. They should be playing with the intent to rip the collective throat out of the Buckeyes. There’s no way to sugarcoat it. Their season is on the line.

If there was ever a time for this team to show the college football world the Huskers are back, it’s tonight.

Under the prime time lights.

On Ohio State’s home turf.

Imagine how hard Kirk Herbstreit will be losing his shit if the Blackshirts swagger onto the hallowed ground where he once posted a minus 200 QB rating and kicked the crap out of Ohio State like they were reenacting all the best parts of Road House.

It’s time for The Horseshoe to turn into the Double Deuce with Nate Gerry playing the role of Dalton. He needs to be the cooler who keeps the Buckeyes out of the end zone.

Tommy Armstrong can play the wise old sage Wade Garret because that’s who we need Tommy to be tonight. This evening is as good as any for him to solidify a place in Husker lore. Beating Ohio State in Columbus will go a long way towards forgetting all those YOLObombs.

However, if bad Tommy comes out to play, it will be yet another knife in the chest for Husker Nation- just like Wade Garrett.

Spoiler alert: Wade doesn’t make it out alive.

But the Huskers will be leaving Columbus with a win

Huskers 28 – Ohio State 21.


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Ohio State Fans Are a Burning Couch of Humanity

Nebraska and Oklahoma’s 1971 Game of the Century was billed as the “Irresistible Force Meets the Immovable Object.”

45 short years later, you could say the Huskers’ Saturday night matchup with Ohio State could be billed as the battle of “The Classiest vs The Trashiest Fans in College Football.”

A person only has to go as far as YouTube to find exhibits A-Z why Buckeye fans are absolute trash. Simply search “Drunk Ohio State Fans” and you’ll be rewarded with a never ending stream of tear gas, shit, and vomit.

I’m not going to lie, people. It was hard work wading through the Buckeye muck to bring you the following videos.

If you only feel like wasting 2 minutes and 17 seconds of your life, make this the one video you watch. It’s a 100% sincere hype video filled with Natty Light, bouncing boobs, and swimming pool basketball (wtf?) that an Ohio State student named Mitch Hoover made as part of his application to be a Shmacked Brand Ambassador. I hope his dreams of being a sweatpants rep came true.

OK, so this one technically didn’t come up searching “Drunk Ohio State Fans” but it is one of my all-time favorite videos ever. In 2006, Carl Monday, an investigative reporter in Cleveland, caught a young Ohio State fan pleasuring himself in a public library computer lab and confronted him about it. Right when you think things couldn’t get any more awkward, the kid’s parents show up.

Drunk Ohio State fan at Buffalo Wild Wings. The genius of this one is in its simplicity.

Fights breaking out during an Ohio State/Michigan game are about as not surprising as a crotchety old-timer yelling “Run the dam ball” at Memorial Stadium. The big twist to this fight is that it features Buckeye fans fighting each other. And the body slam is LEGIT.

Two things bro: 1. Act like you’ve been there before. 2. It was the team that did it. You were at home crying on the floor.

Once you notice this passed out fan is stewing in a Lake Erie sized puddle of his own chunky vomit, this video gets gross in a hurry. Watch at your own risk.

Don’t let the humble title fool you. This six minute vignette filled with countless crushed beer cans is the Heavy Metal Parking Lot of college football tailgating videos. In 20 years historians will look at it as an anthropological masterpiece.

Did you catch the 434 minute Godfather Saga when it was on HBO GO a while back? This is like the same thing. Parts 1-6 of the great Ohio State Michigan Riot of 2002 are combined together to make one epic 9 minute video.

This one is 7 seconds of sheer brilliance.

Hey lady, you’re not really supposed to dance like nobody is watching.

This Ohio State fan really did try to steal “literally an entire cow of meat.”

No fists fly in this video but the Michigan State fan throws a mean one two punch of insults. I know we’re not supposed to use the word ‘retard’ anymore but this video makes a great case for it to be used when the time is absolutely right.

This dumb ass Ohio State fan probably could have made it across the field if he wasn’t trying to run in loafers.

This girl probably loves glow sticks.

This guy gets a shout out solely on the merit of looking like the Kylie the Possum in The Fantastic Mr. Fox.

Does anyone know if this drunk girl ever stopped walking?

Last, but certainly not least, we have the most embarrassing Ohio State video of all. This is how Buckeye fans act when they beat IOWA in overtime.


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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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View From The Red Zone: Ohio State

Ahh, yes. THE Ohio State Buckeyes. In all of my time here at UNL, their men’s basketball team is one of the few (relevant) B1G teams I haven’t actually seen play in person. Naturally, I was pretty excited.

ohio state
You’re in our world now, Ohio State.

I spent my time before tip-off roaming around PBA with my BTN Instagram cutout, asking random strangers if they wanted me to take a picture for them. Because, you know, that’s never awkward or creepy at all. But there was one bright side to working that game—it was the first time I didn’t injure myself on the cutout as I swung it around like an idiot. Progress!

I’ve been getting to that weird overly-nostalgic still-trying-to-deny-the-fact-that-I’m-graduating part of this season with this game being the second to last home game. Suddenly, everything from the starting line-ups to hearing GDFR makes me weirdly sentimental.

The Red Zone introduced a few new fatheads this game, including Eli Manning during Super Bowl 50, puppy monkey baby, and Jean Ralphio (who I’ve been pestering The Red Zone directors for for months). Although, I’m not sure what’s more terrifying: puppy monkey baby or the fathead of Austin Powers with Tim Miles’s face on it, which I hadn’t even realized was an altered image until someone explained it to me.

Let’s start off by saying that the first half was one of the most uneventful things I’ve ever seen in a game. You could tell The Red Zone was getting impatient as they complained about their newspaper getting sweaty and their hands getting covered in ink. Thankfully, Andrew White saved us just over three minutes in, putting the Huskers up 2-0.

For the first half of the game, it seemed like the Huskers couldn’t do so much as take a step without getting a foul. It was like the refs had just gotten new whistles and couldn’t wait to try them out… Just not on Ohio State. After two technicals had been called, one on Nebraska and one on Ohio State’s JaQuan Lyle, I started yelling at the refs to just T themselves up for their horrible job. I’m sure they appreciated that.

I do have to say that my absolute favorite part of the entire game was the infamous floor slap from Ohio State’s Jae’Sean Tate as he was defending Tai Webster. Hopefully he didn’t hurt his hands too badly—his dignity has been hurt enough.

Shoutout to everyone that’s posted a GIF of the floor slap to Twitter, though. I’ve probably wasted nearly an hour of my life rewatching it over and over again. It never gets old.

The other Ohio State player that really stood out to me was Marc Loving. Not for anything basketball related, but rather the fact that after nearly everything good that Ohio State did, Loving seemed to immediately flex his biceps in celebration for the entire crowd to celebrate. Calm down over there, Hercules, we can all tell you’re really loving yourself.

With just seven seconds left in the game and the Huskers up 56-54, the refs called a foul on Webster. Not only was this Webster’s fifth foul, but it allowed JaQuan Lyle to score two more points for the Buckeyes and send the game into overtime. Flashbacks to Miami earlier this year, anyone?

Final Score
The heartbreak of an overtime loss never gets any easier.

And yet again, victory was in sight for the Huskers, but managed to slip away yet again. Hopefully Nebraska will be able to break their three-game losing streak with a win on the road against the Penn State Nittany Lions.

The Huskers will return to PBA to take on the Purdue Boilermakers next Tuesday for their final home game of the season. Not only am I going to be an emotional wreck at my final Nebrasketball game, but my BTN call time and the beginning of my live newscast just so happen to be the exact same time. Should be fun!

Hayley Archer is a senior Broadcasting major at UNL. Follow her on Twitter at @Harchinator.

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Diminishing Returns: The state of Nebraska’s National Prestige.

You may have noticed something curious with the latest AP poll in regard to Nebraska.

Since dropping a heartbreaker to BYU two weeks ago and looking quite polished against South Alabama (in a week in which many schools up and down the AP Top 25 struggled mightily against lesser competition) Nebraska has failed to collect a single vote from any AP voter. In the meantime, the Comeback Cougars have climbed steadily up the AP ladder with dramatic wins over both Nebraska and Boise State.

BYU currently sits at #19. And, as well they should. Both victories were hard-fought and gutsy.

But when you add up the number of teams ranked below BYU along with those unranked schools receiving votes, you find a whopping 26 football teams.

Zoinks!

Like, where's NebraskaGranted, it’s merely Week 2. There are plenty of undefeated teams out there for voters to consider before factoring in the 1-loss teams. But when a team has another team dead to rights for the win and only gives up the victory on a last second miracle, shouldn’t that losing team at least get a look from the voters as being in the same general ball park as the winner?

Instead of wedging 26 friggin’ teams between them? Maybe it’s just me… Call me crazy.

It’s a disheartening lack of respect in general for a program that, from 1969 to 2002 was ranked in 397 out of 400 consecutive AP polls. (And never, over that time, did the Huskers fail to at least receive votes.)

It was such an amazing run of national relevance and esteem for Nebraska that, when the Huskers’ remarkable high-level consistency came crashing down with the 7-7 season of 2002, the Los Angeles Times sports page ran an article with the following gist: There was no surprise that Nebraska suffered a slump that year. The surprise was — why did it take so long?

The article went on to detail the amazing level of performance sustained by Bob Devaney and Tom Osborne and then, briefly, by Frank Solich. It was a nice bit of Chicken-Soup-For-the-Soul for a Nebraska kid living in LA and suffering through what I’d hoped would only be a temporary downturn for the Huskers.

[Editor’s note: The article in question is seemingly impossible to find but this one from October of 2002 will give you a nice flashback to just how dire things were for the Big Red.]

Twelve seasons later, we’re all still waiting for a full recovery. While only two subsequent seasons have been worse than 2002, Nebraska has failed to reach the 11-win mark even once since then. By comparison, Nebraska racked up twelve such 11-win seasons in the 31-year span from 1970 to 2001. And those were mostly done in years in which Nebraska played just 12 games in total. Not up to 14 like they do now.

Nebraska’s string of success during the Devaney/Osborne/Solich years was a remarkable feat contributed to by an array of ingredients — great coaching; high-level recruiting; low coaching staff turnover; a pioneering strength and conditioning program; and a passion-fueled walk-on program like no school has seen before or since.

But one has to wonder how much of “getting the benefit of the doubt” by the national sports media also contributed to Nebraska’s success.

Looking back over Nebraska’s rankings compared to teams with similar records reveals just how far Nebraska has dropped in national prestige over the last 13 years.

Entering the 1970s with back-to-back National Titles, Nebraska saw teams with equal-or-worse records ranked ahead of them eight times in the final AP polls. On the flip side, the Huskers themselves were ranked higher than 51 other teams with the same or better records over the course of that decade.

In the 1980s, that trend continued with Nebraska finishing the seasons of 1980 through 1987 behind only seven teams with identical or worse records, while finishing ahead of 28 with identical or better records.

Then the late-1980s/early-1990s hit the Tom Osborne era. This was that brief tumultuous period in Osborne’s career when the Huskers suffered a string of seven consecutive bowl losses and were regularly torched by the speed demons at Florida State and Miami and saw Colorado leap ahead as the Big 8’s heavy just as Oklahoma had started to slip.

The national perception of Nebraska football from around 1988 through 1992 was that it had become a paper tiger under Osborne. That his teams would always be good for nine to ten wins thanks to a conference slate that wasn’t exactly a murderer’s row of competition.

From 1988 to 1992, Nebraska saw its final AP ranking higher than teams with equal or better records ten times. Not too shabby, right? Fairly respectable, sure. Until you realize that 27 teams over that same five-season span with the same or worse records finished ranked above Nebraska.

The Huskers were no longer getting the benefit of the doubt.

To encapsulate all this data, the eighteen seasons from 1970 through 1987 saw the national media rank the Huskers ahead of all teams with equal or as good of resumes 84% of the time. During Osborne’s “dark period,” that percentage dropped to just 27%.

Let me tell you, an 84% benefit of the doubt ratio is as good as what the SEC Conference enjoys in the same category even today. And, as we all know, that ratio is pretty ridiculous.

The success of the Huskers from 1993 to 2001 catapulted Nebraska’s prestige ratio back up for a good decade run. But, since then, it’s gotten pretty grim.

If you thought 27% was bad…

So far this decade, Nebraska has finished in the AP poll higher than a team with an equal or better record just once. Meanwhile, 17 teams with equal or worse records have landed higher on the final tally than Nebraska. That’s about a 5% benefit of the doubt ratio.

Over Bo Pelini’s entire run in Lincoln, his teams have finished better than five teams with equal or better records while landing lower than 25 teams with equal or worse resumes. A 17% ratio, that bump up from 5% is entirely attributable to Ndamukong Suh.

Now, one might argue, “So what?” You win, people give you the benefit of the doubt. You lose, people don’t. So winning takes care of the problem, right?

The short answer is, yes. But there’s more to it than just that. Let’s take a look at the SEC’s string of seven consecutive BCS Titles.

Before Florida State and Ohio State came along to put a cork in it, SEC Conference honks were wondering out loud — and in all seriousness — whether or not a non-SEC team would ever win a National Title ever again. Outside of a return by Pete Carroll to USC, these blowhards could not imagine a scenario in which the SEC’s BCS Championship streak ended.

As they saw it, every year the SEC Champion was a defacto place-holder for at least one spot in the BCS Championship Game. And, whomever landed in the other spot simply could never be good enough to defeat the SEC Champion (unless that team is another SEC team, ala the 2011 season). Therefore, the string of BCS Champions from the SEC would continue again and again in the same way, forever. Ad infinitum.

Jameis Winston and Florida State became the St. George who slew that dragon. But even then, the SEC supremacists rationalized that it took a program which essentially exits in the heart of SEC territory and amid the fertile SEC recruiting ground to do it. In other words, only a defacto SEC team like Florida State was capable of stealing a title from the SEC trophy corral.

But how did the SEC’s streak happen?

From 2006 to 2012, four different SEC schools produced seven consecutive National Titles. To do that, those schools had to win all seven of the final match-ups, which they did. And the rest of the world should salute that feat.

But the question is, should every single one of those BCS championship games even have had an SEC team playing in them?

In some cases, the answer is yes. In 2010, 2011* and 2012, no non-SEC school had equal or better records than the SEC schools who made the cut. The one caveat for 2011, is that there were two SEC schools in the BCS Championship. 13-0 LSU was the only undefeated team in the country and the only obvious participant that year. But the other SEC team, 11-1 Alabama, had an equal record to three other teams from outside the SEC — Oklahoma State, Stanford and Boise State.

Was Alabama the best team of 2011? Probably. The Crimson Tide soundly defeated LSU in a rematch. The question is, was it fair to block from the BCS Title game three other teams with identical records to Alabama based solely on assumptions? After all, Alabama already had their shot at LSU during the regular season and they lost. Rematches between two evenly matched opponents rarely go well for the team that won the first round. The BCS committee essentially handed Alabama a trophy, despite the Tide’s lack of even a divisional conference crown.

But there’s no guarantee that one of the other 11-1 teams couldn’t have also defeated LSU. Alabama got the benefit of the doubt, much to the distaste of most every fan outside the SEC. And so did most of the other SEC representatives in BCS Title of the last eight years.

Consider the pool from which those teams were selected.

Adding in the 2013 season — when Auburn played in the BCS title game, but lost — a total of 35 football teams had resumes worthy of consideration for a championship berth going back to 2006. Only nine SEC schools were in the mix. But, when it came time for selection, all nine SEC schools were taken along with only seven non-SEC schools, leaving 19 non-SEC football teams on the outside looking in.

That’s nine SEC teams in eight BCS Title games compared to just two for the Big 10, two for the Big 12, one for the Pac 12, one for the ACC and one independent.

Enter the College Football Playoff and the Ohio State Buckeyes.

The new playoff system had SEC honks salivating. How many all-SEC championship games would they get to see in the coming years? Could the SEC land three teams in the four-team playoff, instead of what would surely be their usual two? What about all four spots? Could that also be on the menu?

If you think I’m exaggerating, go into the archives of any national college football message board from about two years ago and you will see these scenarios suggested and debated. And without any reticence.

But the launching of the 4-team playoff produced, without question, a national champion that would not have existed were it not for the change in the system. Had the BCS Series method still been in play in 2014, we would have seen a match between 12-1 Alabama and 13-0 Florida State. Based on the results shown in the actual 4-team Playoff, the most likely outcome is that Alabama would have beaten the Seminoles — and re-tracked the SEC National Title-winning locomotive by defeating the very team that derailed it the year before.

Meanwhile, Ohio State, which tore through its three post-season matches like the Mongol Horde ransacking Anatolia, would’ve shown up in some unmemorable BCS Bowl consolation game. Probably against Oregon in the Rose Bowl. Which, if I’m not mistaken, would’ve been something like a 42-20 win for the Buckeyes. Good enough for maybe a third place finish in the final polls.

The Playoffs clearly now make it harder for teams to win Championships with the aid of mere assumptions. That aspect will still come in to play when figuring out who should fill the four playoff spots each year. Without Ohio State’s 59-0 demolition of Wisconsin in the Big 10 Championship game, the eventual 2014 National Champions would’ve been left out of the tournament in favor of either Baylor or TCU.

Seeing ten SEC schools land in the AP Top 25 for the second poll of the 2015 season clearly illustrates that the Southeastern Conference remains the darlings of the media. Gray area still exits. And that’s why Mike Riley needs to repair Nebraska’s national reputation as soon as possible. A 12-1 season might not be good enough to land Nebraska a playoff spot in this day in age. We’ve seen two dozen teams over the last decade who can attest to what that feels like.

But, beyond worrying about the pinnacle (which Nebraska is in no current contention for), rankings matter. Having a number next to your school’s name determines how much national press the football team gets. How much exposure to potential recruits your program receives. ESPN’s pumping up of SEC schools (never mind the conflict of interest with its TV contract) inflates the value of those teams, who are then ranked higher by the national media, who then receive more attention, who then reel in better recruits, who then win more games, who then get more and more benefit of the doubt.

It must be nice, huh?

Well, once upon a time, that was Nebraska’s luxury, too.

Quick trivia question: Name the only two college football teams to win National Titles in the AP era with two losses on their records.

If you said 1960 Minnesota and 2007 LSU, give yourself a cigar.

But did you know there was almost a third such team?

Indeed. On January 1, 1982, #1 and undefeated Clemson arrived at the Orange Bowl to take on the Big 8 Champion — 9-2 Nebraska, who held a #4 AP ranking. Between them sat #2 Georgia and #3 Alabama. Soon after the Huskers and Tigers kicked off, Bama and the Bulldogs took turns losing in the Cotton and Sugar Bowls, setting the stage for an outright National Title match in Miami.

Clemson jumped out to a 22-7 lead by the end of the third quarter, thanks to a pair of costly Husker fumbles. But, on the legs of Husker legend, Roger Craig, Nebraska mounted a comeback, picking up a 26-yard touchdown run midway through the final period. A two-point conversion put the Huskers within seven with almost eight minutes left on the clock.

Nebraska got two more shots after stuffing Clemson’s subsequent drives, only to see its comeback fall short with a final desperation heave toward the end zone in the waning seconds.

Orange_030_largeBut, had Nebraska completed the comeback, the Huskers would have collected their third National Title with a 10-2 record. A claim Nebraska would’ve had while sitting above a whopping nine teams with equal or better records. Including a would-be 11-1 Clemson.

Yep, getting the benefit of the doubt in college football is no easy task. Especially in today’s SEC-loving world. But, if Riley and crew can build some sustained success over the last half of this decade, well — it’s clearly a benefit worth pursuing.

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Nebraska Will Most Likely Win the 2015 National Championship

cfpchampWarning: This editorial may include sunshine pumping.

After carefully evaluating the upcoming college football season, the most likely outcome I see for Mike Riley’s maiden voyage out on the high Husker seas — is a National Friggin’ Title.

Burdensome expectations for the newly minted captain of Memorial Stadium, you say? A reckless forecast sure to undermine the confidence of a Corvallis crew all too used to Pac-12 participation trophies?

Yeah, well. Whatever.

If you want to rhetorically hold Riley and company’s hands through the tunnel walk on Saturday, start your own damn blog.

Big Red Fury expects Mike Riley to take the helm like the second-coming of Bob Devaney who saw a 200% increase in wins his first year at Nebraska over the previous season.

Granted, for Mike Riley to do the same, he will need to win 27 games in 2015 — a mathematical impossibility, unfortunately. But he can go another route to match the phenomenal improvement Devaney brought with him in 1962. The BobFather produced four fewer losses in his first season than Bill Jennings produced in his last.

As luck would have it, Bo Pelini left Mike with the exact number of losses he would need to match Bob’s improvement. Only this time, should Coach Riley strike the same lightning, it will mean a 15-0 record.

And a National Damn Title.

But, but, but — I can hear the carping now. Bob Devaney didn’t win a National Title in his first year at Nebraska. Bo Pelini didn’t put the ball on a tee with a 3-6-1 out-going record. And the atmosphere is just plain different now. College football of 2015 is a lifetime removed from college football of 1962.

Ix-nay on the ucking-fay excuses-ay. That’s right, I’m bringing Pig Latin to this here itchbe.

So maybe you wonder when was the last time a Division 1 college football team actually went 15-0? After all, the Buckeyes didn’t even do it when they picked up their 14-1 Championship last year.

The answer is Penn University in 1897.

Oh, some teams have come agonizingly close with 14 wins and no losses. Florida State in 2013. Auburn in 2010. Alabama and Boise State in 2009. Ohio State in 2002.

But come four and a half months from now — unless my crystal ball is in need of some Windex — Nebraska will stand shoulder to shoulder with the mighty 1897 Penn Quakers as the only 15-0 Division 1 football teams in the entire history of the sport.

Tall order? Sure. If you say so.

But what if Mike and his Corvallis mechanics stumble up somewhere while pimping out this Big Red Lamborghini they’ve been bestowed?

Like — and I know this is going to sound ridiculous — what if Michigan State comes to town and pulls out an inspired performance, while SIMULTANEOUSLY Nebraska plays a little bit flat?

It’s conceivable then, yeah sure, Sparty might actually sneak out a win while in Lincoln. Crazier things have happened, right?

So then Nebraska gets back on track, blows out Rutgers and Iowa and heads off to Indianapolis 11-1 to face, probably a 12-0 Ohio State.

No worries. We’re in like Flynn.

Nebraska then manhandles the Buckeyes. While Coach Riley goes to waggle Urban Frank Meyer III’s humiliated little grip at midfield, Mark Banker takes Meyer from behind, chucks him to the ground and puts his boot on his trachea.

Just to let him know the new pecking order.

Nebraska then goes on to the playoffs, tosses off some SEC champ like a gamy bit of ground squirrel, then pounds the hapless PAC-12 champ like a Sharknado slamming into the Santa Monica pier. VOILA! 14-1 National Champs, just like those tallywackers from Columbus last year.

Okay. So let’s say Nebraska bowls through its regular season 12-0 (or, at worst 11-1) and then loses (I’m just asking you to humor me here) to Ohio State and is then LEFT OUT of the playoff. Would that then derail Nebraska’s 2015 National Title run?

Absolutely not. And that’s one of the things I love about college football. Titles are subjective. It’s the only sport that has a long history of letting multiple champs stand together on the same gold medal podium in the same year.

Quick — who won the 1970 National Title? Depends on who you ask. A Nebraska fan will say, “Nebraska, of course.” And out the corner of their mouths, they’ll add, “And Texas, I guess.” If you ask a Texas fan the same question, they’ll say, “Texas! And some other team. Nebraska, maybe? Did we even play them that year?”

And the truth is they’re BOTH right. But ask an Ohio State fan, who won the 1970 National Title, they’ll say, “Buckeyes.”

What? The same Ohio State team that went 9-1 and lost 27-17 to Stanford in the Rose Bowl? National Champs over 11-0-1 Nebraska? And 10-1 Texas?

Indeed. Turns out a little organization called the National Football Foundation got all hair-triggered and awarded Ohio State college football’s 1970 crown in the afterglow of the Buckeye’s 20-9 win over 4th ranked Michigan, without bothering to see how things played out in Pasadena.

Nebraska 1970 National Co-Champs Ohio State, Nebraska, and Texas were all somebody’s National Champion in 1970.

What’s remarkable is that this Championship sits just fine with historically attuned Buckeye fans who unabashedly count that year as a notch in their title belt. Likewise, Texas fans are equally cool with their 1970 Title despite that the Longhorns also lost their bowl game (handily by 13 points to Notre Dame). The Coaches Poll was also prone to premature National Title ejaculation back then.

In fact, college football is so over-run with multiple national champions, there are actually 356 claimed titles despite there having only been 146 total seasons. Other sports aren’t quite so communistic. There have been 110 World Series and 110 Major League champions. There have been 94 NFL seasons. 94 NFL Champions. 76 NCAA Division I Mens Basketball seasons. 76 NCAA Division I Mens Basketball Champions. 64 NBA seasons. 64 NBA Champions.

You see where this is headed?

So “open-to-interpretation” are college football title claims, some programs have declared themselves champions of particular seasons decades after the fact. Alabama, Notre Dame, and USC are especially adept at retroactive trophy collecting. And some of their hardware requires assertions so outlandish, they’d make Baron Munchausen stand up and scream — LIAR!

So, back to our 2015 scenario. Nebraska beats everybody on the regular season slate. But then they go to Indianapolis and get beat by the Urbhio State Buckmeyers and the playoff selection committee does not ring up Mike Riley’s phone.

Shit out of luck?

No sir!

We simply need to refer to anything after the regular season as an “exhibition game.” As long as Nebraska survives the regular season with no more than 1 loss, what happens in the exhibition portion of the year is irrelevant. Per college football history.

Outside of the 5 seasons in which Nebraska was declared National Champions, my favorite year of college football was 1960. For no other reason than the leeway its sheer lunacy provides in allowing titles to be doled out to just anybody.

As some of you may already know, the Minnesota Golden Gophers were at one time college football juggernaut. This reputation stems largely from Minnesota’s four AP National Titles — including the very first Associated Press Title handed out in 1936.

AP titles are the longest running order of fully recognized “legit” championships and it is a pretty big deal to be awarded one. Even when you include the results of the 1960 football season.

As it turns out, the Associated Press changed their voting system in 1960 as a response to the embarrassment of the previous season in which 200 AP voters split their first place votes among SEVEN different schools. Syracuse was the overall winner in 1959, but Mississippi, LSU, Texas, Georgia, Wisconsin and Alabama all had enough merit to garner at least one media cheerleader in their corner for the final assessment of the season.

By the way, look how showered the SEC was with media love even back in 1959.

Now, to avoid such future logjams of varying opinions, the Associated Press trimmed their voting block down to the ballots of just 48 sports writers for 1960. And it was the first year in which they implemented the weighted vote of 20 points for first place, 19 points for second place, 18 points for third and so on. But still, the final vote would happen at the end of the regular season.

The result was, balls out, the most ridiculous AP champion of all time. The 8-2 Minnesota Gophers.

Minnesota’s AP trophy came after beating just one team with a better than 5-4 record — Iowa, who ended the year 8-1 and ranked #3 but did not compete in any a bowl game because of a Big 10 rule in which conference teams could only play in the Rose Bowl. And, as head-to-head winners, that trip belonged to Minnesota.

After beating Iowa, Minnesota subsequently lost to 4-4-1 Purdue by 9 points. They then beat a sub .500 Wisconsin, standing at 8-1, they picked up their AP National Title trophy and then headed to Pasadena where they were nearly skunked by PAC-8 Champion, Washington, to the tune of 17-7.

When all “exhibition” games were finished for 1960, these following teams all had better records than the Gophers: 11-0 Missouri (finished #5), 11-0 New Mexico State (finished #17), 10-0-1 Mississippi (finished #2), 10-1 Washington (finished #6), 8-1 Iowa (finished #3), 8-1 Rutgers (finished unranked) 9-2 Florida (finished #18), 9-2 Navy (finished #4) and 9-2 Utah State (finished the year unranked).

If the votes were cast after the Bowl games, it would be hard to see ranking Minnesota better than 4th or 5th for that year. The title would have probably gone to either Washington, Missouri or Mississippi.

And yet, the record book still says “Minnesota: 1960 College Football National Champions.”

This is the kind of racket Nebraska can get in on in 2015.

All we need is for Mike Riley to kick off his baptismal Husker season with an 11-1 or 12-0 run. And then have an organization declare a 2015 champion before the conference championship games.

That’s where Big Red Fury comes in.

I propose a new college football award organization. The Big Red Fury Collegiate Gridiron Association or: BRFCGA. This organization will be a panel of any such people willing to vote in a college football champion at the conclusion of the regular season — and unwilling to consider any team for the top spot not named Nebraska.

The panel will consist of the three members of Big Red Fury plus Jason Peter, Tommy Lee and Larry the Cable Guy.

Peter Lee Cable GuyThe greatest power trio Nebraska has ever known.

Jason and Larry will, no doubt, be in the tank for the Huskers. Heck, we may even get a #1 vote from Larry with three losses. Who knows? Tommy may take some cajoling to avoid throwing his vote away on somebody like San Jose State or Wake Forest. We just need to remind him that Dear Old Nebraska U is his alma mater for the three-week stint he had in Lincoln back in 2005. It’s quite possible that he doesn’t remember that far back, but showing him pictures of himself decked out in drumline gear ought to trigger some kind of cogitation.

As for the three Big Red Fury voters, at least one of us will be on board from the opening kick-off. The rest is up to Mike Riley’s orchestration.

So, sit back. Enjoy Nebraska’s 2015 National Championship run and give a little toast to the 1960 Gophers. Thanks to their precedent, we’ve got this thing in the bag.

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Best Reactions to Tim Beck Going to Ohio State

To the surprise of just about everyone, Tim Beck is joining Urban Meyer’s staff at Ohio State.

Yes, THE Ohio State University. The same one that is playing the Oregon Ducks for the National Championship.

And yes,  the Tim Beck. Public enemy number two to every arm chair coach in Husker Nation has been promoted from the thankless job of running the offense for the Scarlet and Cream to helping run the offense for the Scarlet and Gray.

Tim Beck Tunnel Walk of Shame
From Tunnel Walk of Shame’s comic for the Minnesota game.
How little did we know how bright Tim Beck’s future would be
.

While it is a surprising announcement, especially for a seemingly quiet Sunday, the move isn’t entirely out of left field. Beck will be teaming back up with Ed Warinner. You may remember their work together at Kansas when they torched the Huskers for 76 points and 572 yards and pounded a few nails into Bill Callahan’s coffin back in 2007.

If you tuned in for Ohio State’s playoff game against Alabama, you probably noticed how much the Buckeyes’ offense was reminiscent of Nebraska’s… except for that whole being able to knock off a top ten opponent part… and that whole being able to knock off a top ten opponent while using your third string quaterback part.

Needless to say, the news of Beck’s promotion was one that sent the Husker social media peanut gallery aflutter.

Lincoln Journal Star Facebook
This Lincoln Journal Star post and comments can be found here.

Tim Beck Heart Attack

Tim Beck FartedCarla, this comment makes absolutely zero sense. Surely the news about Tim Beck had the power to make 75% of his haters crap their pants, but mere farts? No way.

Tim Beck Urban Meyer
Good job looking on the bright side, Dot.

Tim Beck Ohio State
Yep. The state of Ohio (10x the population of Nebraska, btw) loves their football. Thank you, Jon, for that astute observation.

Tim Beck Comment 1
WTF, Dennis? Did you not at all notice the part where Ohio State hired Tim Beck?

And here’s what the Twitter had to say.

See if you can figure out which tweets came from Husker fans and which came from Buckeye fans:

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Field Trip: Lending Our Support to the Other Big Red

Yesterday sure was an amazing day in college football wasn’t it?

Thanks to the Big Red being absent from the New Year’s Day slate, I was able to kick back and enjoy a stress-free day of football from dawn to dusk.

Shortly after Jameis Winston suffered his season defining humiliation…

I managed to peel myself off the couch, find some pants and make the three mile journey up to The Happy Ending,  our local Husker watch site” which also doubles as a “backer bar” for the Buckeyes of The Ohio State University.

In the year 2015, it was nice to see regional dialects alive and well. Had no idea the term backer bar even existed until I mentioned the phrase watch site, which sent the table full of Buckeyes I was sitting with into a giggle fit.  And as they pointed out, calling a bar a watch site is strictly a Nebraska phenomenon. The Google doesn’t lie.

Anyway, I went to cheer on the other Big Red (tOSU doesn’t have an equivalent nickname as I learned) in support of a friend who bleeds the whole Buckeye color palate and in support of America in general. Any team that can make Nick Saban sad is a friend of mine.

This season, there were just a couple Nebraska and Ohio State games that overlapped and when they did, it was only for a few minutes with their game wrapping up as ours kicked off.  The only interactions us Huskers had with Buckeye fans went no further than a simple and respectful head nod as we weaved through their ground floor crowd to our upstairs party room. Things certainly weren’t like 2011 and 2012 when our teams went head-to-head and resulted in a bar full of fans ready to reenact the climactic rumble from The Outsiders.

Random observations from my time as a temporary Buckeye fan:

Much like Los Angeles being home to the greatest number of Armenians outside of Armenia, the same can be said for people from Ohio. I’ve seen a lot in my days as a Husker fan but nothing prepared be for the shock and bewilderment of seeing a bar at standing-room-only an hour before kickoff. We’re talking a solid 300 tOSU fans packed under one roof. In Husker Nation’s defense, we do have many more watch sites than tOSU has backer bars, causing our fan base to be much more diluted.

Why yes, Ohio State fans are getting pumped by listening to You’re the Best Around.

They all thought Pelini getting fired was hilarious.

They were quite welcoming to a Husker fan in their midst. Though one of them did crow about that one time in college when they beat a Ron Dayne lead Nebraska team.

Husker Hoodie
As an emissary of Husker Nation, I made sure my allegiance to the Big Red was front and center.

Buckeye fans are ridiculously coordinated in their cheering. Instead of only springing into action when someone randomly starts a Go Big Red, they had a guy with a whistle calling out cheers. Seeing them in action was like watching a bunch of pasty, Midwestern looking Brazilians cheering on the Canarinho during the World Cup. Gotta tip my Snap-On hat to that one.

Ohio State’s offense is eerily similar to the offense formerly directed by Tim Beck in terms of its explosiveness, curious play calls,  and straight up Yolo-ness.

Spend the 4th quarter repeatedly getting stuffed? Time to break off an 85 yard TD run. Just need to kill the clock to end the game? Dial up 50 yard bomb. Having trouble punching it in out of the shotgun? Better have a wide receiver make an impossible TD pass.

This is the sort of reaction a wide receiver’s needle threading touchdown pass elicits.

By the time Alabama’s Hail Mary was intercepted, I had developed a new appreciation for Ohio State fans. Granted, they might be a little too in love with the slop dished up by Skyline Chili but their love for their Buckeyes is truly a sight to behold.

OHIO STATE FAN

Hopefully, my new found Buckeye friends won’t be too crushed when my allegiance switches to the Ducks for the championship game.

Go Big Green!

Or whatever Oregon fans say.

 

 

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