As June creeps towards July, the dog days of the Husker off-season are upon us.
If you haven’t been swayed by summer and all her lovely distractions, you may have noticed the full-time Husker media has been chiseling away at the bottom of the Husker news barrel since just after Memorial Day. They have an unbelievable amount of air-time and column inches to fill and somehow, they’re making it work.
I imagine they all gather for regular meetings in Tom Shatel’s basement to discuss their story ideas for an upcoming week and draw their daily topics of discussion from a well worn bingo ball tumbler that was a solid find at a church garage sometime during the Solich era.
How else can you explain the magic that no talk radio show or writer ever covers the exact same topic on the same day?
One area that has yet to become a topic of open discussion is the elephant in the room that is Husker Nation.
What will be the reaction if a Mike Riley led Husker team ever loses?
Please note: I said if. Not when.
I am by no means advocating for a Husker loss.
But I do know that during slow periods, it’s standard practice for news outlets to write obituaries in advance so that when a person famous enough to warrant a pre-written obituary kicks the bucket, they can have one ready to go with minimal updates.
With any Husker loss feeling like a death in the family, I’d bet a stack of Runzas there at least a couple sportswriters who’ve been outlining what they’re going to write following the first loss of the Mike Riley era- should one ever occur, of course.
With that in mind, we’re going to make some bold predictions, aka hot takes, on what might be said following such a tragic event.
If Mike Riley’s Huskers ever suffer a loss, we’ll come back to this and see how we did on our cliché predictions:
“Well, the honeymoon is over. Like any marriage, this day was inevitable. The first test between Mike Riley and the state of Nebraska is upon us.”
– First writer to file their post game analysis gets dibs on the most obvious lede ever.
“The life of Riley just got a lot harder.” – The second most obvious lede.
“The Mike Riley era began with a humbling loss in front of a nationwide television audience but when the final whistle blew, the Huskers and their new coach were not the laughing stock of the country unlike season’s past.” – On the off-chance BYU opens their season with a win in Lincoln.
“This defeat doesn’t sting or humble any less than the others but Husker Nation can show some pride in knowing this setback was taken on the chin with dignity and class, elements missing from the Husker sideline for far too long.” – Losing with class will be a major theme. (If a loss ever happens.)
“Sorry, Coach Riley. This is where Nebraska nice gives way to Nebraska expectations.” – This one is right in Dirk Chatelain’s wheelhouse.
“Those shallow wrinkles on the 62-year-old coach’s boyish face are about to become etched a whole lot deeper.” – Again, this one is all Dirk.
“Coach Riley is going to start looking his age real quick.”
– The over/under on sportswriters using this one is 5.
“Gone are the jaunts down to the Haymarket for a happy hour beer and a photo or two with the fans.” – Sipple. Naturally.
“It was a loss that will give Riley’s coaching staff dream team nightmares for days to come.” – This one better not happen. The Justice League of America is not as well assembled as Riley’s crew.
“After today’s humbling defeat, there’s no way the happy go lucky coach could ever be brave enough to bum a ride home from a fan.” – Not to worry, Coach. The code uberBigRedFury will get you a free ride from Uber. (This deal also applies to you, dear readers.)
“The trio of coaches who failed to escape the long shadow cast by Tom Osborne’s 25 year legacy has now become a quartet.”
– Sam McKewon, Omaha World-Herald.
The Nirvana of coaches who failed to escape the long shadow cast by Tom Osborne’s 25 year legacy has found their Pat Smear in Coach Riley. – Sam McKewon, back in his Nebraska State Paper Days.
“When the consistent mediocrity of a 9 win season, suddenly becomes a pie in the sky dream…” – Worst case scenario if the Huskers lose more than once.
“No matter which way you slice it, losing with class is still losing.”
– An average member of Huskermax.
“Maybe he should have kept paying by the night at the Embassy Suites.”
– A below average member of Huskermax.
“If you take I-80 west for 140 miles or so, you’ll be able to pick up the Oregon Trail and follow that home.” – A Huskermax member who thinks the coaches actually turn the forums for advice.
“The special, allergen-free paint in the home the Riley’s spent so much time searching for is barely dry and it may already be time to put it back on the market.” – Nobody better say this one. I feel bad for even thinking it.