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Meet Our New Contributor Leslie Micek

Hey there, remember us? Hope so because our off-season hiatus is back off, again. We trust you’ve been having a great summer, staying cool, never changing, and catching a boatload of that Pokéyman.

Before we resume our usual Husker high jinks, we’d like to introduce you to Leslie Micek, a five star recruit who’s joining the Big Red Fury squad this season.

If you’re a regular participant in #Huskers Twitter, there’s a good chance you’ve seen her hot takes and observations on game day. If you haven’t, follow her here. Leslie is a world-class smart-ass, probably knows more about the Huskers (and sports in general) than you do, and can pound Bud Heavies with the best of them. (Actually, she’d probably put you under the table.)

Since there’s really no way to improve upon an intro like that, let’s get to her interview.

You hail from the land of Kool-Aid, aka Hastings, aka Tom Osborne’s hometown. What was it like growing up in the southern corner of the golden triangle that is Nebraska’s tri-cities area? 

Perfect. Nebraska is a great place to be a kid, you can always be outside with a relatively low chance of finding any real trouble. I played with a lot of fireworks, rode my bike a lot, and constantly bothered all of the neighbors. I moved in 3rd grade, but my dad still lives there so I go back a lot and do Nebraska things like go fishing and attempt to learn how to play pitch. Not many people can say they were at the very first Kool-Aid Days back in 1997 (or something like that). And yes, that’s a real thing.

Leslie Micek
Leslie Micek, Husker fan, catcher of delicious bass.

What’s your earliest Husker memory? 

Winning. The teams of the mid 90s set me up for a lifetime full of disappointment. Thanks a lot, Tommie Frazier. Sometimes I get on YouTube and watch things like this- –

–it doesn’t help. I think I thought Nebraska was supposed to play in the championship every year. I mean, they are supposed to, they just don’t.

What’s your all-time favorite moment in your history as a Husker fan? 

A couple of years ago I sneaked onto the sidelines of a game at Northwestern. My friends had media passes and passed one back to me. I got to witness my boys Ameer and Randy Gregory up close and personal. It was awesome, until they figured out at the end of the third quarter that I wasn’t supposed to be there and kicked me out. I tried to say I lost my badge but the security guy wasn’t having it. It was just fun to know that I could yell at Bo if I chose to…I didn’t. By the way, that Northwestern stadium is pathetic.

Leslie
Not many fans can say they’ve had a Husker coach send them their own HUDL highlight of their sideline freakout. See if you can spot Leslie going nuts at Northwestern.

What’s the one loss that still sticks in your craw the most? 

One?? Besides the obvious big losses, some personal memories have to include that very special BYU game last year. I decided last minute to go with my mom. I needed to be part of Mike Riley’s first game. I needed to be there. I did not need to see that BYU Hail Mary. Also, a special memory from the UCLA game in 2013 taught me to never make fun of my friends and their team until the game is over. The 18 point comeback by UCLA was brutal, I ended up being at Barney’s Beanery in West Hollywood from 9am-2am that day.

EDITOR’S NOTE: That’s a 17 hour(!) shift at a sports bar.

Who’s your all-time favorite player?

I’m bad at favorites. I would say either Tommie Frazier or Lawrence Phillips. There is a video compilation on YouTube of Lawrence Phillips running all over everybody for like 5 minutes.

He was just unreal. His story is heartbreaking but I find it very interesting. I think he is tied to be my favorite but he is the most interesting to me. Hope the upcoming 30 for 30 does his story some justice because I don’t think people know or understand the whole story of his life.

What’s your outlook for this season? Do Mike Riley and company have you feeling optimistic? 

HCMR and Co. have me pumped. They are recruiting really well and the energy is contagious. As Phil Steele said, the Huskers were 5 plays away from being 11-2 last season and has them as his No. 2 most improved team this season. To be honest it’s the best time of the year, the time to be delusional and say the Huskers are going undefeated. Everybody tweet to me after the Huskers first loss and remind me that I’m a moron (but I see them at least getting to the playoffs, their schedule is pretty good, minus the Ohio State part).

What are your feelings on the phrase “Run the damn ball?” 

I scream it at my TV enough that I suppose I like it.

You went to a “certain college” that was a former conference rival to Nebraska. You don’t have to name it, but was it like being a Husker fan behind enemy lines?

It was always fun to bring people from the school that will not be named to Nebraska for the games. They knew I wasn’t there permanently and referred to me as a tourist. I enjoyed showing them around Lincoln and introducing them to my Nebraska friends, and of course the local Runza. They always had a good time and the trips usually ended with us staying awake in the Cap City long enough to see the sunrise. It was quite a different experience for Nebraska fans making the trip to Columbia, they have some unwelcoming fans. I remember a story about some Mizzou fans letting all the air out of some Nebraska fans tires.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Um, I think you just named the school. 

Rank the following Big Ten teams from least to most hated: Iowa, Michigan, Michigan State, Northwestern, Ohio State, Penn State, Wisconsin. 

1.Ohio State
1.Michigan
1.Michigan State
1.Wisconsin
1.Northwestern
1.Penn State
1.Iowa 

I’m an equal opportunity hater. I hate them all. Also, I have never understood the root for your conference stuff. If Nebraska loses, why do I want their competition to win? No thanks. Sorry to break it to Ohio State, but I will never be cheering for them.

Which one of the following Husker media types would you most like to have a beer with? Dirk Chatelain, Sam McKewon, Mike’l Severe, Tom Shatel, Steven M. Sipple.

Probably Tom Shatel because I don’t follow him so he hasn’t gotten on my nerves yet.

You’re one of the fortunate people who can claim being both a Husker fan and a Dodger fan. How would you say the two fan bases compare? 

I think they both are similar because they have very dedicated and loyal fan bases. It’s pretty easy to be dedicated for 12 games a season for football fans but I meet Dodger fans that watch 162 games a season. I would like to think that’s what Husker fans would be like if there were that many games. They are both also very knowledgeable fan bases. I think Husker fans know more than the average football fans, especially regarding recruiting. Dodger fans are the same way, they are very educated about their team and their opponents.

I’ve always thought of LA as sort of like a United Nations of college football where you’ll go to a bar and see many different colleges represented. Is there a school’s fans that you find almost likable and is there a group that you find completely obnoxious?

 I don’t know about a likable fan base but as soon as I thought of an obnoxious and unlikable fan base, my first thought was The U. They are all unbearable.

 How would you say the overall college football knowledge base of an average Nebraska fan compares to other college football fans? 

Husker fans blow everybody else out of the water in the category. I don’t know a lot of other fans that follow the recruiting process so closely. When I talk to other college football fans they don’t usually know who they are after and don’t attend any of the camps. Nebraska fans are big football dorks and will attend almost anything. I drove an hour and a half and through a fire in Calabasas to a Nebraska satellite camp last month and didn’t think twice. But speaking of recruits… Darnay Holmes, please come to Nebraska.

On those rare occasions that Nebraska loses, what’s your mood like after a game? How long does it take you to recover? 

Such a rare occurrence that I can’t remember the last time that happened. But for future reference, nobody should contact me the rest of the day.

Who’s your number one QB if you’re building a team? Tommy Armstrong, Eric Crouch, Tommie Frazier, Joe Ganz, Taylor Martinez.

You go Tommie Frazier 100% of the time. As Tommie Frazier says “T Fraz, he was too smooth, he was too fast” in this classic rap song by Terrel Farley and Tommie Frazier:

Would you rather have one Ndamukong Suh or two Peter brothers anchoring a defensive line? 

It’s had to turn down two DTs on the greatest college football team of all time, but when Suh is the other option. You pick Suh. Plus he is the size of two people but only one scholarship. That’s a bargain.

Amigos or Taco John’s? And what’s your go-to order? 

Amigos. I love their chips and cheese and their crisp meat. The crisp meat is like a crispito from school lunches, I’m sure nobody will know what that is either. But I could really go for some Potato Olés right now.

How would you explain a Runza to someone who’s never heard of one? 

This actually comes up a lot. I say its kind of like a cheeseburger baked into a roll. But better. Then I just usually talk about the mini corndogs and fries and people are on board.

Finally, let’s say you have a Kool-Aid stand out in the desert and from over a sand dune appears Bo Pelini, He’s been lost and wandering for days. How much would you charge him for an ice cold and refreshing glass of Kool-Aid? (Hypothetically, you’d have a square reader and he’d have a black AMEX.) 

 He better hope there is another Kool-Aid stand around.

Leslie Kool-Aid Stand
That’s right, Bo. Keep steppin’.

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Nebraska: Where there is no off-season

Hey there. Remember us?

Yes, us. Big Red Fury, that Nebraska Cornhusker site that fell off the radar on the eve of the of the most important Spring Game in nearly a decade.

Well, there’s not much to say other than we got busy and by ‘we’ that is the proverbial royal we as this place is mostly a one-man operation but that is soon changing. We’re about to become a multi-person operation.

The last time we checked-in, Mike Riley was about to do his first Tunnel Walk and we were about to head out to scenic West Covina (aka the hometown of Lawrence Phillips) to play in the annual Dodger Blogger Softball Tournament.

Luckily for those of us on team Sons of Steve Garvey, we had a two game bye when Jon Soo Hoo, the Dodgers’ Team Photographer, was on-scene so our “athletic” exploits weren’t documented for posterity but we did succeed in having the drunkest team photo.

Anyway, we rolled our way to the semis which was no small achievement for us. Plus, we had our own team photographer to capture us at our best.

Todd Flailing
Your humble author, holding down the hot corner. Photo: Scott Killeen

The whole reason for bringing this up is that one of our female ringers on our team ended up being from Columbus. Once we discovered our Nebraska connection, that thing happened when you put two Nebraskans together and they instantly start speaking their own language.

“Runza!”

“Dorothy Lynch!”

“Potato Oles!”

“Dannebrog!”

We had a great Nebraska bro-down and it made the anguish of missing the Spring Game a little more bearable though it did get a little stressful checking Twitter between pitches. Depending on the source, players were either crushing it or forgetting how to play football or were already filling out their transfer paperwork on the sideline. Oh how the rumors swirl when you’re the last quarterback to take the field. (Looking at you, Johnny Stanton.)

By the time it was over, Tommy is still the man, there’s going to be a logjam for the backup spot, DPE will go HAM next season, Imani might not be the featured back, and if the defense can get any linebackers on the roster, things might be OK for the Blackshirts.

Then good ol’ Lawrence Phillips (TODAY is his birthday, btw) popped up in the news for being suspected of murdering his cellmate at Kern Valley State Prison. Apparently it’s not sounding like the most difficult case to prove. Two guys are locked in a cell, one guy ends up strangled.

Lawrence Phillips Murder Suspect

Look, I’ve had some annoying roommates in my day and I know I’ve also been that annoying roommate but stone cold murdering one of them wasn’t exactly high on the list of options much the same as I hope I was never a potential “murderee.”

Ever since we shared our bizarre Lawrence Phillips story, I’ve kicked (OK, maybe not the best word) around the idea of reaching out to the guy to see how he’s been doing after being locked up for a half decade. Has there been any remorse? Is he working on his GED? Is he trying to mentor any short-timers?

Clearly that was not the case and for a guy who was on target to be released at the spry age of 57, tacking on a murder charge isn’t exactly the best move.

In better news though, Randy, Kenny and Ameer all got drafted by the NFL. Here’s hoping they all have long and illustrious careers.

Randy Gregory Dallas Cowboys
If Randy Gregory can make it through camp, look for Macho Man Randy Sackage be snapping into some quarterbacks this Fall.

Then how about that Coach Who Shall Not Be Named 2.0? Dude is  will be getting paid $128,009 a month for the next four years to not coach the Huskers. While a crappy lottery ticket every month sounds like a lot of money, believe it or not he’s actually saving Nebraska $1.4 million thanks to landing on his feet back home in Youngstown.

And finally, we’re thrilled to announce that Haley Archer, aka the Harchinator, is joining Big Red Fury as our first-ever student contributor. Hayley is a Broadcasting student from Minneapolis who made the very wise decision of defecting to Husker Nation. Sorry, Gopher-land. She’s one of us now.

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Old Guys Attempt NFL Combine, Flail Miserably

With the NFL Combine happening this weekend, I came up with hair-brained idea to find out how mere mortals would stack up against this year’s Husker invitees Ameer Abdullah, Kenny Bell, and Randy Gregory.

One of the best parts about living in Los Angeles is that fellow idiots are only a text message away. It didn’t take much convincing to get my friends Brent and Ray from the hilarious Ray’s N’ Brent Podcast to meet up bright and early on a Saturday morning knowing the only outcome would be self-induced internet embarrassment and shame.

Not long after Kenny Bell broke off a 4.42 40 yard dash at the combine, we met at the 50 yard line of one of the most hallowed football fields in all of Los Angeles- Van Nuys High. You may know it better as Ridgemont High.

Yes, it is that Ridgemont High. Unfortunately the doors were locked so we couldn’t sneak in and sniff Phoebe Cates’ locker.

Brent Todd Ray
It was an honor to stand on the very field where Charles Jefferson single-handedly destroyed Lincoln High.

Van Nuys High Wolves
True Story: After Fast Times at Ridgemont High was filmed at Van Nuys High, the school’s mascot remained the Wolves in honor of Ridgemont’s mascot.

Ray, Todd, Brent
Tale of the tape: Ray was a Randy Gregory like 6’4″ 240, your humble author was a doughy Kenny Bell at 6’1″ and 212, and Brent came in at 5’9″ and a stout 255 (aka Ameer Abdullah plus 4 bowling balls).

Our agenda for the day was the same as many prospects working out at the combine. After checking to see how we measured up/how much we’d let ourselves go, we set out to do the 40 yard dash, 20 yard shuttle run, 3 cone drill, standing broad jump, vertical leap and in lieu of decapitating ourselves trying to bench 225lbs, a push up contest would be our grand finale.

And we got it all on video.

If you’d like to rock the 8-bit Husker style, Nebraska Red Zone can hook it up. And be sure to listen to Ray and Brent’s post combine analysis and smack talk on their show.

Going from the couch to the combine is not a move many fitness experts would ever recommend. Writing this a day later, my shoulder is still sore from failing to stick a landing in the vertical leap, some side fat is feeling the pain of being stretched in a direction it shouldn’t have been and there’s a hitch in the ol’ get-a-long thanks to  shanking one too many attempts at a 20 yard field goal.

Finishing the day within two seconds of Ameer in the 40 yard dash felt pretty good but any shred of glory got washed away as I did some math while hobbling off the field.

A two second margin of victory in a 40 yard footrace means that Ameer would win by nearly 20 yards.

His top performances in the vertical and the broad jump are even more ridiculous. In our tryout tape, we jumped from the edge of the sand because we didn’t know if we could even make it to the sand. And we used the soccer goal as our vertical measuring stick because none of us could even graze the bottom of the goal post’s crossbar, we are not who to ask if you want to increase your vertical jumping.

With actual, real training (and maybe 15 years rolled off the odometer) could it be possible to even hang at the combine?

Maybe. But then there’s that whole also-having-to-excel-at-playing-football thing that gets thrown in the mix as well. Not even The Ocho has room in their schedule for pro shuttle runners.

Ultimately, the jaw dropping numbers you see put up at the combine are the result of a decade or so worth of focused, hard work. And that’s on top of a no doubt strong foundation of natural talent.

Each and every single one of those guys who make it that far all had a coach at some point who gave them the hustle beats talent when talent doesn’t hustle speech and realized talent that hustles could be unstoppable. You just gotta commit and do the work.

We’ll go ahead and end there.

I’m running late for my nap.

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Holiday Bowl Recap: The Pelini Era Goes Down To The Wire

It was only fitting that the seven years of the Bo Pelini era at Nebraska remained a thrill ride down to the last damn second.

In a Holiday Bowl match up against USC that very few pundits gave the Huskers any chance of winning, the Big Red showed up ready to play and ready to honor their departed and beloved coach.

There would be no Hail Mary magic this time around but the stage was set for amazing irony when Holiday Bowl officials put a final second back on the clock after a review proved Kenny Bell scrambled out of bounds with a tick to spare on the penultimate play.

While the record books will say the Huskers came up three points short, those guys played their hearts out and Pelini’s remaining staff proved their mettle on the sidelines. Every single one of them gave a reason for Husker Nation to stay proud.

Nebraska USC Stat Line
Nebraska handled USC except for where it mattered the most.

The result of their efforts was arguably the most Pelini like game of the past seven years and it was the only one that had Bo watching from parts unknown.

Explosive plays, mind boggling miscues, clutch defensive stops, a momentary sideline meltdown thanks to Coach Kaz, and a never say die attitude- all the signature elements of a Pelini lead team were present and accounted for.

Kenny Bell Touchdown
Kenny Bell added one more touchdown reception to his record-setting Husker career.

Three out of the Huskers’ four losses this season ended with Nebraska still in position to win at the very end. While the near-miss 19 point 4th quarter rally against Michigan State will be hard to ever top, Nebraska didn’t flinch when down 45 – 27 with 2:24 left to play in the 3rd quarter.

Instead, the Red Storm responded with a big score of their own, a 65 yard #TommyBomb to Jordan Westerkamp barely a minute later. Offensive Coordinator Tim Beck never strayed from his playbook or his quarterback.

Tommy Armstrong vs Cody KesslerThanks unwavering confidence and the stone hands of the USC secondary, Tommy Armstrong ended the night with a better stat line than Cody Kessler. As Mike Purrriley pointed out, the Blackshirts held a 70% career passer to under 60%.

As the game transitioned from shoot out to  heavyweight slug fest in the 4th quarter, we did our best to just sit back and enjoy the final twists and turns of the Pelini roller coaster. The Huskers had nothing and everything at stake in their final 15 minutes of their season and, for some, their careers at Nebraska. Playing for just for the sake of playing is when any sport is at its most pure.

While the 4th and 3 that came up short and effectively ended the Huskers’ chances at winning will go down as one final boneheaded move by Tim Beck in the eyes of many arm chair coordinators, we have to say the call was sound, if not for the logic but for the symbolism.

With USC no doubt keying in on Abdullah (save for that defender locked in on DPE like a heat seeking missile), giving the ball to anyone but Ameer wasn’t bad entirely bad thinking. Instead of being furious that Ameer was lead blocker on the play, think of it as a Husker legend paving the way for a future Husker legend.

And if it makes you feel any better, USC did the same thing in the 2006 BCS Championship against Texas. Facing a critical 4th and 2 with 1:49 remaining, temporary Heisman winner Reggie Bush stood on the sidelines as LenDale White (who fumbled on the previous play) was stuffed by the Longhorn defense.

The Huskers may have closed out the Pelini era with a loss but the future is bright.

Just wait ’til next year.

Go Big Red.

NOTES:

Like everyone else, we were pretty far off base with our prediction.

“Honestly, this game could go either way with a blowout for either team being the most likely outcome. It’s hard to imagine the Holiday Bowl going down to the wire so we’re gonna stick with our way early prediction of a 38 – 17 Husker victory.

We are so dumb.

Apparently Mike Riley left after the third quarter with a tuckered out grandson on his shoulder. Even by flaky Dodger fan standards, that’s leaving awfully early.

Someone please tell him that in Nebraska it’s still socially acceptable to leave your grandchild locked in the car as long as you leave the radio on and crack the window.

If the 2 point conversion to Kenny Bell looked familiar, it’s because you saw Nebraska win at Michigan State in 2012 with the exact same play.

Finally, does anyone know this guy?

Drunk Nebraska Fan

Kudos to him for keeping it classy and making sure Nebraska stays relevant to Deadspin now that Pelini is gone.

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Song Girls vs Scarlets: Your Holiday Bowl Preview

It’s fitting that the epilogue to the crashed and burned Bo Pelini era at Nebraska will be written on the same field as his career’s finest moment- the 2009 Holiday Bowl.

Pacific+Life+Holiday+Bowl+Nebraska+v+Arizona+Bo+Pelinil
Things would only be downhill from here for Bo Pelini.

What followed that 33 – 0 victory over the Arizona Wildcats was the most hopeful time of Pelini’s seven seasons at Nebraska. It was the perfect salve to the one more second debacle against Texas and had Husker fans licking their chops at a run for a National Championship in 2010.

That season began with the Huskers ranked #8 in the polls and unknown redshirt freshman Taylor Martinez lined up in the shotgun at quarterback. His jaw dropping speed lead the Huskers to a 5 and 0 start and a national coming out party for Martinez in a Thursday night match up against Kansas State on ESPN.

Nine days later, the wheels would fall off the Big Red Express when the unranked and hated Texas Longhorns  came to Lincoln and left with a 20 – 13 victory. In that game, the Huskers’ offense was absolutely stuffed with the lone touchdown coming off a 95 yard return of a pooch punt late in the game by Eric Haag. Martinez was benched as senior and 2009 starter Zac Lee entered the game for a rare appearance.

In retrospect, all the the negative aspects that would be a hallmark of Pelini’s tenure bloomed on that day.
Texas Commentary
(Screengrab via Huskermax.)

A month later, Pelini’s temper would take the national stage as he gave Martinez the ass-reaming of his life against Texas A&M. By Sunday night Martinez was already enrolled at UCLA (if message boards were to be believed).

A month after that, Martinez and the Huskers limped through a 19 – 7 loss against Washington in the Holiday Bowl- the same Huskies team that Nebraska destroyed 56 – 21 back in September.

Fast forward four years. Taylor Martinez is a mobile game developer and budding real estate agent (thanks for the hook up, Uncle Warren) and Bo Pelini has packed up for the gloomy pastures of his native Youngstown, Ohio.

At the helm for the Huskers in Saturday’s Holiday Bowl is the much maligned Barney Cotton. After the game, he’ll leave the Huskers (for a second time) for his new gig as UNLV’s Offensive Coordinator. With the exception of John Garrison and Charlton Warren, the futures for the rest of Pelini’s staff are up in air. The seniors have one final game together and the underclassmen will likely finish their careers as Mike Riley’s players.

About the only thing left for the Huskers to play for is pride. Pride for their team. Pride for their teammates. Pride for their coaches who deemed them worthy of playing for Nebraska.

Pride can be a dangerous weapon, especially with a healthy Husker squad and an offensive coordinator off his leash.

Scouting Report: USC started the 2014 season with a 52 – 13 win over Fresno State. Two weeks later, the Huskers muzzled the Bulldogs 55 – 19 while USC lost on the road to Boston College 37 – 31. The Trojans’ three other losses came at the hand of Arizona State, Utah, and UCLA. Their crosstown showdown was the only game the Trojans lost by more than a touchdown, falling to the Bruins 38 – 20, a game in which the USC defense got flustered and all but gave up in the second half.

The Trojans’ most notable wins of the season came against Stanford, Arizona on the road, and a 49 – 14 punch out of the Fighting Irish at home. In case you’re wondering, they did beat Mike Riley’s Beavers 35 – 10 in LA. Like the Huskers, the Trojans have the potential to run with anyone- if they can harness it.

The Trojan offense is lead by junior Quarterback Cody Kessler. He can sling the ball but he isn’t exactly fleet of foot having “rushed” 52 times for -149 yards. On the season, he’s been sacked 30 times.

An immobile quarterback has to have Defensive Coordinator John Papuchis licking his chops, right?

John Papuchis
Confidence is high for Papuchis.

USC may have the better team on paper but the reality is there is truly only one edge the Trojans have on the Huskers heading into the Holiday Bowl.

Song Girls vs Scarlets
Sorry, Scarletts. All the glitter in the world is no match for the simple white sweaters that are a trademark of the USC Song Girls.

And that’s about all the “serious” preview you’ll get from us.

In our defense,  we did reach out to our friend Mick, an LAPD Sergeant and quite possibly the Trojans biggest fan. Seriously, he’s “The Dude” of USC football right down to his tattoo of Tommy Trojan holding the severed head of Notre Dame’s mascot whilst standing on the beaten pulp of UCLA’s Bruin.

This is the entire transcript of our chat.

Hey Mick-

What is your prediction for the Holiday Bowl and who are the USC players the Huskers need to watch out for?

Let me know and I’ll quote you in my preview for my site www.bigredfury.com

Mick- We ARE.. SC! Beat the Huskers!

Before we even had a chance to even think of being offended by such an epic brush off, we realized Mick had to already be in San Diego making his tailgate preparations and had no such time for silly questions. We’ve been his guest at USC games a few times over the years and aren’t kidding when we say he’ll show up at 6am to stake out his tailgate spot for a game that doesn’t start until 7pm.

MICK_TODD
Mick and your humble author at the 2006 edition of USC vs Nebraska.

Ideal Scenario: The Huskers close out the Bo Pelini era with a bold exclamation point with a fun and dominating performances on both sides of the ball reminiscent of the 2000 Alamo Bowl- arguably the Big Red’s most fun bowl game of the 21st century. A Kenny Bell to Ameer Abdullah touchdown pass would be absolute gravy.

Look for Tim Beck to empty his playbook with enough #TommyBombs to reenact Operation Linebacker I and II. That is of course when Ameer isn’t running wild on the Trojan defense.

On the other side of the ball, Randy Gregory and Jack “The Beastmaster” Gangwish will pin their ears back and give Cody Kessler a late Christmas gift of a world of pain. USC may get a couple of deep balls early but don’t be surprised when Papuchis stays calm under pressure and readjusts once he realizes no one is going to scream at him on the sideline.

Honestly, this game could go either way with a blowout for either team being the most likely outcome. It’s hard to imagine the Holiday Bowl going down to the wire so we’re gonna stick with our way early prediction of a 38 – 17 Husker victory.

Over/Under on Angry Bo Close Ups: 3 — ESPN will surely start the game with a montage of Bo’s “finest” moments.

Question That Needs an Answer: Will Barney Cotton finish his Cornhusker head coaching career undefeated?

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EXCLUSIVE: USC Staffer Hopes Trojans Beat Huskers

Greetings from the Waffle House clogged bowels of SEC country!

While we’re traveling cross-country on Christmas Eve, we stumbled across an incredible scoop. A scoop that none of the mainstream media was even close to sniffing out because: A) it was 8am and B) none of them were posted up at LAX.

Are you ready for it? Make sure you’re sitting down before you read any further because this scoop is bulldozer sized:

On our flight from LAX –> ATL were staff members from USC and Alabama.

Here’s how it played out in real-time two days ago:

In LA, you’d never see anyone dressed head to toe in team gear all the way down to embroidered roller bags unless they were affiliated with said team. Gotta give ‘Bama guy bonus points for going Southern Preppy with a cardigan over this Crimson Tide t-shirt. Outside of the South, Southern Preppy = metro sexual and is a bold choice.

Neither our pals Dirk or Sean offered any tips.

Here’s Tee and Marques along with a stonewashed Peyton Manning.
Peyton Manning Tee Martin Marques Tuiasasopo
If you recall, both Tee and Marques know what it’s like to get shellacked by the Cornhuskers.

Note how intently USC guy is reading his new Sports Illustrated with cover boy Marcus Mariota.

Here’s the transcript of our chat:
BRF: You guys feeling good about the Holiday Bowl?
USC GUY: Yeah.
BRF: Think you can beat Nebraska?
USC GUY: Hope so!
BRF: Good luck!

Also, it’s cute that USC guy and ‘Bama guy got to sit together. While it may seem odd, if you’ve ever seen college coaches in airports, they tend to roam in packs.

Be sure to follow us on Twitter for more exclusives and other semi-witty banter and observations.

RANDOM CHRISTMAS DINNER OBSERVATIONS: With in-laws from Tennessee, Alabama, and Georgia at the dinner table, the consensus was that Nebraska was crazy to a consistent nine win coach even with his history of “transgressions.”

On the flip side, they all thought it was hilarious that Barney Cotton was given the reins for the Holiday Bowl. Of course the hilariousness only kicked in after we explained Barney’s status among the Husker fan base.

They really got a kick out of this video:

We hope you all had a wonderful holiday.

RANDY GREGORY'S CHRISTMAS CARD
Randy Gregory’s Christmas card.

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Macho Man Randy Sackage – A Photo Tribute

As the storied career of Macho Man Randy Sackage draws to a close at Nebraska, we look back at some of Randy’s finest moments.

In other words, we got blasted on Rumple Minz and put our cave man level Photoshop skills to work and created a photo gallery to document the man, the myth, the legend that is Macho Man Randy Sackage.

Macho Man Randy Sackage 1

Macho Man Randy Sackage 2

Macho Man Randy Sackage 3

Macho Man Randy Sackage 4

Macho Man Randy Sackage 5

MACHO MAN RANDY SACKAGE 6

MACHO MAN RANDY SACKAGE 7

MACHO MAN RANDY SACKAGE 8

MACHO MAN RANDY SACKAGE 9

MACHO MAN RANDY SACKAGE 10

Thanks for the bone crushing memories, Macho Man Randy Sackage.

Please come back next year.

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Ten Great Holiday Gifts for Husker Fans

With Christmas closing in faster than Randy Gregory in pursuit of a dead-in-the-water quarterback, here’s a breakdown of these cool products that make great holiday gifts for your favorite Husker fan.

Please note: These gift ideas are not “sponsored.” These are just things we’d personally love to have if we don’t already own them.

8-Bit Husker T-Shirt from Nebraska Red Zone

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Tecmo Bowl and the Huskers collide in this 8-bit inspired tee. While we’ve never visited their physical store, Nebraska Red Zone has a great line up of Husker gear and rock solid reliable shipping. We’ve turned to them a few times when getting a fresh t-shirt for a new season and have always been pleased with their service.

Husker Bikini Bottoms
Husker Bikini
Every day can be spring break with a Husker bikini for your special lady friend. Mmm… Husker bikini.

A Case of Runzas

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To those of us Husker fans who live outside of Runza territory, these puppies are worth their weight in gold. In the days leading up to the Huskers playing at UCLA back in 2012, we cashed in some Southwest miles, hopped a flight to Denver, rented a car and drove up to Ft. Collins to visit the westernmost outpost of the Runza empire just to grab a case of these delicious beefy Twinkies to ensure our tailgate was all it could be.

Josh Eating a Runza
Our friend Josh, a Los Angeles native, enjoying his very first Runza outside the Rose Bowl.

Fear the Corn T-Shirt from Big Red of the Rockies

Fear the Corn

Support the only Nebraska Cornhuskers themed store in Estes Park, Colorado that’s owned by a former Husker. For the record, Jesse Kocsh was the nicest Husker we knew during our time at UNL.

A Subscription to Hail Varsity Magazine

Hail Varsity Magazine

In an age where unsubstantiated tweets count as news, Hail Varsity is a modern twist on a bygone era offering insight far beyond what you can find in traditional media.

Tom Osborne and Bo Pelini Autographed Poster

Tom Osborne Bo Pelini

Yes, there is a certain amount of gallows humor in this suggestion but for some folks it could represent an time of hopeful optimism that never had a chance to be fully realized. Or, it could be one last sick joke to your friend who was on the “Bo Must Go” train since 2008.

Hear Nebraska Koozie

Hear Nebraska Koozie

Yes, we know this isn’t directly Husker related but beer and football go together like peas and carrots. Buy a koozie from Hear Nebraska and you’ll help support the Nebraska music scene which believe it or not is a pretty big deal outside of the Cornhusker State.

Through These Gates

Filmmaker Ryan Tweedy captured what it truly means to be a fan of the Nebraska Cornhuskers in a great documentary full of insightful interviews and game day footage guaranteed to send a chill down the spine of any Husker fan. Through These Gates also works as a great warning for anyone who may be be signing on to a Husker family for the long haul, as in this should be mandatory viewing before any engagement rings get slipped on fingers.

University of Nebraska Football Vault by Mike Babcock

University of Nebraska Football Vault

Written by renowned Husker scribe Mike Babcock, this is the definitive tome of Husker football. It covers the humble Bugeater beginnings to the skies-the-limit optimism of the start of the Bo Pelini era and everything in-between. It truly is a treasure for any Husker fan.

Tailgator Gas Powered Blender

Boasting a 25cc 2.25 horsepower two stroke engine, the Tailgator blender will make a round of frozen margarita’s faster than Ameer can break off a 40 yard dash. It’s a spendy item but worth it when it comes to ruling the tailgate scene. Without a doubt this is the Red Ryder BB Gun of tailgating accessories. Also includes carrying case!

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Breaking Badgers: Your Huskers vs Wisconsin Preview

If there was ever a time for the Huskers to summon the ghosts of Big Red past and kick the ever loving shit out of a team, it is now.

Here’s the brutal truth. Five minutes after joining the Big Ten, Husker Nation got scared and has been ever since. There’s no denying it. Even in the rock bottom Bill Callahan years, Husker fans may have felt a lot of dread but they never displayed the outright fear that is so palpable today. You can feel it week in and week out in how all the beat writers craft their stories framing Nebraska as the underdog no matter the game. And you can definitely see it on full display deep in the bowels of Huskermax.

It’s time for the Huskers and their legion of fans to remember who they really are, go kick some ass, and take a few names along the way.

In the immortal words of Ric Flair, to be the man, you gotta beat the man. And this week that man is named Bucky.

This year the Freedom Trophy is at stake for the first time. Fans have been moaning about this being a thinly veiled attempt to manufacture a rivalry. The Huskers and Badgers are going to be squaring off every year for the foreseeable future so why not put a little something at stake? Nebraska fans making the road trip to Madison could do their part  to make help this a memorable rivalry if everyone by celebrated the Huskers’ victory by stealing a porch couch on the way out of town. Imagine the reaction. They beat our football team and stole our shitty couches? Oh, it is on.

Speaking of Madison, for everyone butt hurt about rude Badger fans, three words- grow a pair. My very first football game experience was walking across Nebraska’s former Third City to attend the big Barr vs Walnut showdown as an 80lb seventh grader. If my nerdy 12-year-old self could make it through the junior high version of The Warriors unscathed, there’s no reason fans can’t handle the heckles of some drunken Badgers. If you can’t think of a good comeback, keep “Go eat some cheese” in your back pocket. Yes it’s dumb and yes sounds just like the “Go eat some corn” you’ve heard a million times and that’s just why it might work.

If you’re still not sold on the rivalry here you go.

Reasons to dislike Wisconsin

1. The Badgers’ turnaround as a college football program was modeled after Nebraska. We won’t even get started on the knock off uniforms.
2. Wisconsin is the only state in the union where your first DUI is a mere traffic violation.
3. All the goddamn mosquitoes.
4. Pabst was sold to the Russians.
5. A carney once ripped me off in Wisconsin Dells.

Confidence: Confidence? I’ve been listening to The Sword in heavy rotation since Tuesday. There’s no way I’m not going to show up to our watch site and eat nachos and yell at the TV like a boss.

With regards to the Huskers, here’s hoping the bye week plunge in the College Football Playoff poll put a chip on their shoulders that will carry them through to the Big Ten Championship Game.

In other words, this needs to be Huskers’ attitude.

(Apologies for the obligatory UHF post but hey, it just came out on Blu-Ray this week!)

Scouting Report: Ooooh… Wisconsin could use a different quarterback from play to play. Big deal. That’s just another QB for Randy Gregory to torment. For him it will be 2 for 1 day at Camp Randall Stadium. Don’t be surprised to see Joel Stave and Tanner McEvoy get in a sideline slap fight over whose turn it is to go in and get creamed.

Macho Man Randy Gregory

Ooooh… Wisconsin has a Heisman contender in running back Melvin Gordon. Come at the Blackshirts, bro. He’ll be a refreshing break from having to deal with Ameer and Imani at practice.

Ooooh… Wisconsin’s offensive and defensive lines are forces to be reckoned with. Tell those thigh rubbers a Groupon for cheese curds just dropped and see how fast they find a way to waddle off the field.

Ooooh… Wisconsin has the Jet Sweep in their playbook. Um, that could pose a problem.

For a detailed breakdown of the Badgers that includes actual statistics, check out Corn Nation.

Ideal Scenario:  Somehow, someway the Huskers get the win and that way is by dominating on both sides of the ball. Over on D, Randy Gregory finally has his Ndamukong Suh Big XII Championship Game with his sacks coming after the Blackshirts shut down the Badger running game.

On the offensive side of things, the Huskers put together a mistake free game and the question about Ameer’s durability never comes up because it doesn’t have to. He runs wild and free for a couple big TD’s but otherwise doesn’t spend too many plays going between the tackles. In a flash of brilliance that impresses even his most passionate haters, Tim Beck keeps the Badger D off balance and guessing by running a lot of plays out of the seldom seen Diamond Formation. Imagine the havoc a backfield of Tommy, Imani, Ameer and De’Mornay could wreak.  Last but not least Kenny Bell finally and deservedly breaks Johnny Rodgers all-time reception record.

Over/Under on Angry Bo Close Ups: 7 – Not gonna lie. This game could get rough and ABC/ESPN will be all over it.

A Question That Needs an Answer: Is Ameer 100%? We. Will. Find. Out.

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Purdue Or Do Not. There Is No Try.

For the second consecutive year, we’re going to be away from the comforting bosom of our neighborhood watch site on Purdue weekend.

In 2013, the Huskers traveled to West Lafayette and rolled an 1 – 11 Boilermaker team 44 – 7 in a game that was decided well before halftime. It was a great, stress free Saturday, especially the part where I was able to venture out of the tiny bubble of free hotel lobby WiFi and spend the rest of the afternoon lounging on the beach.

This year we’ll be in nestled in the mountains in the new age hippie paradise of Ojai (with a requisite side trip to the nearby premium outlet mall).

In a season where the Huskers have been rolling, the Boilermakers come to Lincoln with a semblance of momentum and the proverbial elephant in the proverbial room looming larger than ever.

That elephant would be the Huskers’ seemingly annual crapping of the bed against a lousy team. With that in mind, Purdue’s visit suddenly adds suspense and anxiety to the mix. It’s like Husker Nation is one big traumatized family on pins and needles when they realize it’s been far too long since dad has come home piss drunk. A Husker meltdown is imminent. It has to be.

Or does it?

Confidence: Like any woman who has ever thought she could change her man,  the Huskers are wearing their new look and attitude well but have the potential to regress back to their old losing habits in a heartbeat. (Then again, that could be the years of psychological damage talking.) If Nebraska can get through this one with a W, they just might have turned a corner for both the season and the program.

Scouting Report: Purdue, the Indiana university that is neither Indiana or Notre Dame, is located in Tippecanoe County. Tippecanoe, as we all know, translates to “place of the succor fish people.” In our hearts, the Boilermakers will always hold a special place for ensuring Kansas State’s dream season of ’98 had a nightmare ending.

KYLE ORTON PURDUEIn Unbeaten: The Life of Brook Berringer, distinguished Purdue alum Kyle Orton explained how he wore number 18 as a tribute to Brook. It’s amazing how one little anecdote can instantly make a guy unhateable.

More seriously though, Purdue is a 3 – 5 team the Huskers can’t treat lightly. A week after Nebraska manhandled Illinois, the Boilermakers bumped off the Illini 38 – 27. They followed that up by playing Michigan State to within a touchdown until Boilermaker QB Austin Appleby threw a game sealing pick six with 1:29 to go.

The pessimist could look at that and conclude that the Spartans aren’t that good and Purdue is better than Nebraska. We’ll go out on that fragile limb of optimism and say Michigan State played poorly because they were still rattled from their oh-so-near miss against the Huskers the week before.

Long story short, Purdue is finally starting to click. Check out Hail Varsity for all the stats to back up that statement. Then again, they’ve also lost to Central Michigan, Notre Dame, Iowa, and Minnesota.

Ideal Scenario: The Huskers cruise into their bye week ahead of their big showdown with Wisconsin. Ameer, Kenny, Tommy and Randy all do their Ameer, Kenny, Tommy and Randy things. I don’t resort to hiding from my wife by holing up in a premium outlet bathroom stall and faking the worst dump of my life just so I can watch a too-close-for-comfort game in relative peace and agony.

Over/Under on Angry Bo Close Ups: 5 — Don’t expect the ABC/ESPN/SEC Network faction to cut him any slack, especially with Ed Cunningham in the broadcast booth.

A Question That Needs an Answer: Will Imani Cross ever score again? He hasn’t notched a touchdown since the Illinois game a month ago.

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