With the Spring Game kicking off in less than 24 hours, it’s about time we dusted the cobwebs off this site.
Did you miss us?
When we left off, hopes were running high that the Huskers would leave Nashville with a victory in the Music City Bowl. That didn’t exactly happen and we’ll just leave it at that.
In the meantime, the Big Red Fury World Headquarters relocated from its Hollywood adjacent location to the hills of Northeast Los Angeles, not far from the Rose Bowl. My wife and I bought a house that included a daggum fort in the backyard. And if that wasn’t enough, it came equipped with a TV, a bar, and a Kegerator.
The previous owner, a retired Naval Aviator built this fort with his bare hands and now that it was in my care, the first order of business was getting it set up as a proper Husker hangout.
Over St. Patrick’s Day weekend I was back in Lincoln for a buddy’s wedding and on a mission to bring home some Husker collectibles.
As the luck would have it, I stumbled into a Husker store in the Haymarket that was so brand new its owner was still getting settled in.
Vintage Red Sports Gallery is nestled into the ground floor in one of the Haymarket’s many new buildings and is the creation of JC Wickstrom. It’s half vintage Husker store, half Husker museum, and 100% incredible.
Wickstrom has been obsessively and methodically collecting Husker memorabilia since he was a kid and his collection in the museum section of his store rivals anything you might see in that stadium across the road. In fact, it was so impressive that I went back for a second look instead of making a pilgrimage to Memorial Stadium before heading to the airport. On both visits, Wickstrom was available to play tour guide and his stories were as fascinating as everything he has on display.
Here are some of the many highlights.
If you ever feel the need to chill among Husker artifacts, Vintage Red Sports Gallery is your spot.
Everywhere you look you’ll see a piece of Husker history. Wickstrom plans to use the museum space to host signings and special events during football season.
The pink #12 jersey was game worn by Bobby Reynolds. According to Wickstrom, an equipment manager kept it as a souvenir and his young son would often wear it when dad was gone. One day, the jersey picked up a little dirt during a backyard football game and the son tossed it in the wash, thinking dad would be none the wiser. Unfortunately, he didn’t account for the possibility of the red numbers bleeding onto the white of the jersey. Whoops. Also, it should be noted that I forgot to ask Wickstrom if the kid survived.
You’re going to need to stop in and ask Wickstrom about how he came into possession of the ORIGINAL Memorial Stadium horseshoe. It was totally legal but still required years of waiting and an Ocean’s Eleven amount of planning to pull it off.
The 1996 Fiesta Bowl case.
NBD. Just Tommie Frazier’s Fiesta Bowl cleats complete with Fiesta Bowl dirt.
Lawrence Phillips’ and Mike Minter’s Fiesta Bowl jerseys.
This case is filled with items Mike Rozier had laying around at his mom’s house. Seriously.
The Turner Gill case. Look close and you’ll see the ‘G’ doesn’t match. Back in the day players got one home jersey and one away jersey and that was it.
This glass from the 1940 Rose Bowl is the only one known to exist.
TO’s Orange Bowl headset. Frankie’s practice jersey.
Ameer Abdullah’s Holiday Bowl uniform.
Yep. Looks legit.
Speaking of bowl games, here are the programs from every Husker bowl game.
When I asked Wickstrom if I could shoot some photos, his only stipulation was that I had to include his all-time favorite player, Derek Brown.
Vintage Red owner JC Wickstrom shows off one of his latest finds.
The retail side of Vintage Red is loaded with one-of-a-kind items.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Northwestern, you had a good three year run as a brainy thorn in Nebraska’s side but know this: last year’s 38-17 throttlingon your home turf was just the tip of the iceberg.
It’s high time you accept the fact that your rightful place is down in the dregs of the Big Ten as the purple clad Wildcat that gets an annual beat down from the Big Red.
It was really nice of the Big Ten to ensure that the Huskers would still be able to pummel some purple every year just like the good ol’ days of the Big 8/12.
Speaking of good ol’ days, the 1995 Husker squad, aka thegreatest college football team in the known universe will be in attendanceto celebrate the fact that 20 years have passed since they graced us with their presence on the gridiron. Just the fact that they’re assembled within the same area code as Memorial Stadium is good for at least two bonus touchdowns for the Huskers.
The over/under for the number crab legs Tommie Frazier would take down was set at 62, as in 62-24. Don’t ever think Vegas doesn’t have a sense of humor.
With Mike Riley finally taking down his first legit opponent as head coach of the Huskers last Saturday, he got his first taste of Big Ten blood just like C. Thomas Howell in Red Dawn.
Killer Mike and his new protege Killer Mike Junior.
In other words, you’re doomed, Northwestern.
Granted, you little Wildcats had a nice win against Stanford in theNerd Bowl and looked pretty impressive blanking Minnesota but you’re coming in to Lincoln just when things are starting to click for the Huskers. The offense is starting to remember what it’s capable of and while the Blackshirts might still be more than a little shaky defending the pass, they at least remembered they too can catch passes and score touchdowns of their own.
And if that wasn’t enough bad news, Northwestern, one of your dozen or so loyal fans had to go make a video that proves Evanston truly is the place where Ivy League rejects find refuge.
That revisionist history lesson was so much worse than Dick Cheney‘s recollection of Iraq War Numero Dos that we were forced to reply via the Twitter just to set the record straight on Cabbage Patch Kids and parachute pants. Seriously, WTF?
While Nebraska’s capital city may not seem like the most exciting destination, the town does have a couple things going for it.
1) Even without a GPS (and even with impaired brain function), it is absolutely IMPOSSIBLE to get lost in Lincoln. Navigation is easier than making a Jell-O salad. The streets run on a brilliant grid system of numbered and lettered streets.
The lettered streets run east/west with O Street considered to be main street. The numbered streets go north/south and any address north of O is considered north and anything south is south. Most folks will give directions based on an intersection e.g. Misty’s Steakhouse (home of the best prime rib in Lincoln and Modern Monks Brewing) is at 11th & P. Boom. Easy, right? Its real address, 200 N. 11th Street, translates to two blocks north of O Street on… wait for it… 11th Street.
If you’re staying downtown (as you should be) consider the Capitol (that 400 foot tall building that looks like a p-e-n-i-s) to be your southern boundary and Memorial Stadium (can’t miss it) to be your northern boundary. Anything between those two monuments is your weekend playground.
2) BOOZE while the streets of Lincoln may not literally flow with beer like the streets of our Big Ten rival up in Madison, the Star City is no slouch when it comes to ease of opportunity to get wasted. Bars are sprinkled throughout downtown as liberally as cheese on Funeral Potatoes. Walk ten feet in any direction and you will find one.
Duffy’s – Home of the Fishbowl. You can literally get a fishbowl filled with booze. Perfect for sharing and making friends. Stay in town until Tuesday and take advantage of Dad’s Beer Night. In 2015 you can still get a beer for only a buck.
Yia Yia’s – Great selection of regional and national microbrews. Best pizza in Lincoln.
Sandy’s – Get an Elk Creek or five and spend a nice night sleeping on the sidewalk under the stars.
O’Rourke’s – Last call in Lincoln is 2am for most spots and O’Rouke’s will keep serving right up until the moment the clock strikes 2. Plus, you can get beer to go here or “off-sale” as the locals call it.
The Brass Rail – If Greek letters permanently adorn any part of your person, you’ll be right at home. Often named one of the best college bars in the US by the scandalous Playboy Magazine.
Zoo Bar – While Donnie and Marie would never play here, this is a great place for live music.
Cliff’s Lounge – Pay tribute to the guy who invented Cliff’s Notes (seriously) by ordering a cocktail served in a pint glass.
Lazlo’s – Home of Nebraska’s largest microbrewery and one of the best restaurants in Lincoln.
Barry’s – Can’t go wrong with making this classic Lincoln sports bar your game day HQ.
Vega – Live music venue with a tailgate parting on game day.
Brewskys – The most self-explanatory place on this list.
If you need caffeine the morning after, The Mill is the best coffee shop in Lincoln.
HOW TO DRESS: When you step out on the town, be sure to proudly, but not boastfully, wear your BYU gear, so you can be easily identified by any Husker fans who’d like to buy you a drink. As strange as it sounds, Nebraska folk love being good hosts to out-of-towners. Anyone living outside Nebraska’s borders is considered an exotic specimen who will no doubt add a dash of excitement to another humdrum day of watching the corn grow.
Like politics and religion, there’s is some decorum that must be followed when talking football with Husker fans. It’s always best to keep things on the complimentary side. If you stick to the following talking points, you’ll be the new best friend of everyone wearing red in no time.
“Coach Osborne sure is a legend. You can almost feel his presence in the air.”
“No matter what they say, I still believe the 1995 Huskers squad was the best team of all-time. The Heisman should have gone to that Tommie Frazier.”
“Ameer Abdullah and Ndamukong Suh are both on my fantasy team.”
“I’d love to see Nebraska go back to the option some day.”
“After everything that happened last season, I’m just glad to see Nebraska moving in a positive direction.” **
TAILGATING: While the campus is technically a dry one, authorities tend to look the other way when it comes to adults with valuable booster money drinking. The key is to put whatever adult beverage you’re drinking into a plastic cup. And the best part, the same rules for walking around Lincoln apply to tailgating but even more so. If you’re hungry or thirsty before the game, just walk among the throngs of tailgaters and marvel at how quickly a Husker fan fixes you a plate and hands you a beverage.
If you ever wanted to have strangers hand you assorted meats, a Husker tailgate is the place to be.
FINAL BIT OF ADVICE: If you’re roaming around downtown and feel the need to tinkle, it’s totally cool to dip into an alley to relive yourself. In fact, it is heartily encouraged. Those Lincoln bike cops cruising the streets like they’re on a mission? They won’t give you a ticket. No way, no how. Heck, they’ll even play lookout for you. Scout’s honor.
**Like those of the Jewish faith not mentioning g-d or Muslims drawing a portrait of Allah, it is best to save yourself any potential trouble and never mention former head coach Bo Pelini by name.
He is still quite the polarizing figure among Husker Nation.