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Interrupting All Programs—Think Before You Troll

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Alligators in sewers, masturbation blindness, Big Ten > Big 8 & Other Fairy Tales     

Coach Tom Osborne Being Carried by His Team After Football Game Win

Oh, the irony of trolls on sports radio.

They yelp with glee that “Huskers fans are living in the past,” and then THEY bring up the past, and often comically incorrectly to boot. Accuracy is important, even in sports radio, the toy department of what is known as the toy department in newsrooms—sports.

In Omaha, Mike’l Severe is back on 1620AM after having turned the well-resourced platform he was given by the Omaha World-Herald with the online/radio show “The Bottom Line,” into the local media version of the Hindenburg before it’s merciful cancellation last spring.

I’m guessing his bosses and the advertisers looked at his plummeting ratings his trolling produced and felt like that fateful announcer from the 1930s zeppelin tragedy, “Oh the humanity…”

Severe was in full force doing the same troll act on a new gig with a promo called “Taste Of Our Takes!” (maybe “Taste Of Our Trolls!”?), with an absurdly inaccurate comment.

NOTE—1620AM/NRG refused to make the quote available for this column’s accuracy, despite multiple requests to the station and Severe’s bosses in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. In fact, they said a subpoena was needed. So much for being accountable. Bolded below is his main points to the best of my recollection from that “Taste Of Our Takes,” but without his mouth-breathing in his excitement to troll NU fans.

Severe’s Comments:

*Nebraska is now in a conference where they take football “seriously” in the Big Ten and they are struggling because of it.

*The Big 8 was a basketball conference, like the Big 12, when Nebraska came of age and was winning National Titles.

I have to admit when I heard Severe’s rant, I about had to pull over to the side of the road as I felt like the dad in “American Pie” when he walked in on his son getting BUSY with that steamy and voluptuous apple pie…where to even start with the multiple misguided thoughts devoid of facts and common sense?

It seems obvious not having a Bob Devaney or a Tom Osborne around anymore and a succession of average coaches post-Osborne are the main reasons for Nebraska’s struggles, not being in the big, bad Big Ten. In fact, the past three years, NU would not have fared well in some G5 conferences, but for internal reasons, not external.

Also, growing up in later half of the 1970s and 80s and remembering how NU, Colorado and Oklahoma had their way mostly with the Big Ten, just like the Pac 10 did in the Rose Bowl, I would have guessed the Big 8 would win a head to head match-up of conference teams in the time referenced by Severe.

But I was surprised with the Big 8’s margin of wins in head to head match-ups with the Big Ten from Devaney’s start in 1962 to the end of the Big 8 in 1995.

However, I’ll dig into this Take/Troll as 1620 was Paul Rhoads’ “proud” of this comment, so much so that they made it into a promo. But you will have to take my word for it as they refused to make it available. So much for integrity in the toy department.

The Big 8/Big 12 was a basketball conference?

First off, I’ll say calling it one or the other makes little sense anyway as multiple sports can be taken $eriou$ly by colleges. But either does Severe’s rambling make sense with even a cursory look at some facts.

So in what years was it a basketball conference and what years was it a football conference?

Was it a hoops conference in 1971 when the Big 8 had the first three teams in the final rankings with Nebraska, Oklahoma and Colorado? Did the mighty SEC ever do that? I know the Big Ten even at 14 teams has never done that.

What was it at the end of the regular season in 1975 when the Big 8 again had four teams, half of their conference, in the top 20 before Oklahoma defeated Michigan in the Orange Bowl to be crowned National Champions?

That same New Year’s Day of the Big 8 over the Big Ten in the Orange Bowl, Ohio State was busy on the other coast losing ANOTHER Big Ten Rose Bowl to the Pac 8 (and UCLA) by two touchdowns.

Because facts are important and the Big Ten is central to Severe’s troll attempt, before Penn State beefed up the “serious” Big Ten in 1993, the Big Ten had lost 20 of the previous 26 Rose Bowls to the Pac 8/10 dating back to 1965. In that time frame, Woody and Bo, held in such high esteem in Big Ten territory, went 2-4 and 2-8 respectively in Pasadena for a 4-12 mark.

And of course in that time the Iowa guy, aka “The King” so-called by an Iowa writer after his recent passing never won a Rose Bowl. Actually, “the King” never even put up a good fight in three attempts versus Pac 10 teams losing by an average of almost 20 points a game.

Also, in 1975, and 1977, Big 8 teams (Missouri and Nebraska) had non-conference wins over Alabama…not bad for a hoops conference I must say.

Speaking of Missouri, besides beating #3 Alabama in 1975, in 1976 they won games at #2 USC, #8 Ohio State and #14 North Carolina before having a losing Big 8 season.

What does that tell you about the quality of the Big 8 in the mid-70s?

Funny that in the mid-1970s, MU had to schedule Ohio State and Alabama to get wins over ranked teams. Also, Mizzou won at #2 Notre Dame in 1972 the week after losing to Nebraska, 62-0.

Or was it a hoops conference in 1978 or 1981 with three top 20 teams in the final top 20 poll?

Or was it 1984 or 1987 when the Big 8 had three of the top seven and 11 teams respectively in the final poll?

These numbers don’t mean every year the Big 8 was the best conference, but many years they could claim it was the toughest/best conference in the country and hold their own other years. And I’m sure the Big Ten had some banner years too.

One of those teams both years in 1984 and 1987 was Oklahoma State, who had three top 11 finishes in the 1980s…just imagine if they only took football “seriously” in Oklahoma what they could have done with Barry Sanders, Thurman Thomas and Hart Lee Dykes!?

Colorado was also one of those highly ranked Big 8 teams in the late 1980s. In the second half of College Football Hall of Fame coach Bill McCartney’s Colorado career, the Buffs ran rough-shod over the “serious” Big Ten. McCartney went 7-1 versus Big Ten teams from 1988-94. But the Big Ten did have some success versus CU in McCartney’s first few years while re-building.

Lastly, the Big 8 every year from 1990 to 1995, placed at least three teams in the Top 25 with four teams in 1993 and 1995, including four in the top 10 in 1995…WOW!

Did the Big Ten, ever do anything similar with half of their conference in the top 10 before PSU joined? Or even after Penn State became a Big Ten member?

Then was the Big 12, another “basketball conference” with five ranked teams in the football poll at the end of 1998, 2000, 2003, 2007, 2008 and 2010. And just like 1985 to 1994 when the Big 8 had three different teams win National Titles, from 1997 to 2005, three different Big 12 teams won National Championships.

Not bad for being a basketball conference. Again, out of the blue Severe brought up “the past,” not me.

I’m sure any research would tell me about all the stadium upgrades and coaches fired and hired in the Big 8 to show they took football “seriously.” Just like I’m guessing it would show the same upgrades in Big Ten in that time period as well.

Also, head to head the Big 8 was significantly better than the Big Ten in the regular season with an 86-62 advantage in 148 games. A winning percentage of almost 60% shows that even Jim Delaney himself could not argue the Big Ten was better during the time period Severe referenced.

Five Big 8 teams had a winning or .500 record versus the Big Ten in NU, Oklahoma, Colorado, KU and Missouri. Only Iowa State struggled with a decent sample versus the Big Ten and they have a bigger Big Ten institution in-state.

Maybe Severe has an excuse for this, but not sure there is a world in which head to head over 30 years would not give a clear winner between the conferences, especially with an 86-62 total?

By the way, the Pac 8/10 held a similar advantage in that time period over the Big Ten. A likely reason for the Big Ten fallacy is so many big media markets are in the original Big Ten footprint in Chicago, Cleveland, Cincinnati, Milwaukee and Detroit.

Nebraska Versus The Big Ten, 1962-2010

Now to the specific victim of the rubbish by Severe, the Nebraska Cornhuskers.

And by the way, for all the fans, like Severe, who try to discredit NU with the nebulous line of, “the game has changed” when Nebraska accomplishments are talked about around the water cooler with 10 National Title games since 1965. From Devaney’s first National Championship appearance in 1965 to Osborne’s first Natty appearance in 1981, football had changed drastically on and off the field, but guess what, the Huskers were still playing for rings.

And again, college football changed drastically, on and off the field, from 1981 to 1993’s Natty appearance and onto NU’s last National Championship appearance in 2001 with the remnants of Osborne’s culture and roster.

However, Devaney and Osborne were witches on the sideline, it didn’t matter the year, or the rules (Prop 48 impact myth), or the conference, or steroids like Tony Mandrich of the Big Ten used, they were going to play for National Championships.

But this isn’t a National Championship discussion, it just deals with Nebraska facing the Big Ten on the gridiron before they were members of such a “serious” football conference, referenced by Severe.

From the Devaney era in 1962 to 2010 when NU left the Big 12, Nebraska faced Big Ten teams 41 times. What do you think would constitute a good winning percentage in those games?

You have the number in your head?

I asked former Husker Rob Zatechka the question as well. His broad shoulders shook and he chortled with laughter when told NU won 37 of 41 games, or 90%, of the match-ups versus the Big Ten in that time.

In addition, NU had only one bad defeat in those 41 games and it was versus a non-original Big Ten Ten member, PSU, in 2002 with Coach Solich. Incidentally, Solich brought the blowout loss back on the reg to Nebraska from the Bill Jennings era…but that column is for another day.

While 37-4 is great, just in case you want a serious flexin stat, look up Nebraska’s record versus the SEC in roughly a 30-year period from 1969 to 1999…trust me Husker fans will be strutting’ around like Dachon Burke after that “And-1 Dunk” versus Iowa. The SEC was lucky they had Bear Bryant in that time period or they might have gotten goose-egged by those Huskers.

Speaking of goose eggs, the next time an Iowa fan tries to run down the Big 8, they should look up Hayden Fry and Kirk Ferentz’s record in a five year stretch from 1998-2002 versus three teams of the old Big 8.

I’ll help, it was 0-8 (five losses to ISU, two to NU and one to KSU).

And for Fry’s career, if you throw out the Iowa State games as Iowa has significant built-in and multiple in-state advantages over the Cyclones, Fry versus the rest of the Big 8 conference would not put him in a good light I’m guessin’.

Again, I’ll help…he was 3-6 versus Big 8 teams he had no in-state advantages over. Enough about Iowa, back to the program that has REAL 12-0 rings, Nebraska. See the ridiculous rings the Hawks gave themselves for the 2015 season with two losses.

In regards to NU’s accomplishments in the Big 8 and the Big 12 and looking at the numbers and common sense, it’s more than reasonable to assume they would have done the same, or better, in any other conference in the country, not named the American or National.

Now some people might say I’m goin a little H.A.M. (Hard-Asa-Mutha on Severe, to quote the kids today), but his inaccuracy about Nebraska and the Big 8/12’s history is a pattern of behavior, so a little chin music is warranted here. Charlie Murphy might call him a “habitual line-stepper.”

I’ll just call him a troll.

Part Two of this column will run next week and look at Nebraska’s start in the Big Ten and look ahead to 2020. Lastly, my mustache in my picture was grown last year for the Mustaches for Kids local charity, which will happen again this May. For more information, please see and consider donating or participating,