“I don’t know what’s worth fighting for
Or why I have to scream
I don’t know why I instigate
And say what I don’t mean
I don’t know how I got this way
I know it’s not alright
So, I’m breaking the habit tonight”
So for the first time since the Pelini years, I just got downright pissed watching a Husker game. And I mean pissed because I wanted the win. There was no logic to it and I didn’t care. I wanted it for Trey Palmer who put on a Nebraska receiving show never before seen. I wanted it for Casey Thompson who keeps getting up off the deck. I wanted it for Anthony Grant who’d be running for 1600 yards behind a decent offensive line.
I wanted it in spite of an offensive line which is so obviously the weak link of the team - but couldn’t get significant help in the transfer portal to overcome the loss of Jurgens, Teddy and Nouli which is more significant than anyone seems to acknowledge. I wanted it in spite of a severely B1G-undersized defensive line (changing OLB designation to EDGE does not make them DE’s). And I wanted it despite an injured slate of ILB’s and an inexperienced secondary.
This year started as a mess and Mickey has done an incredible job of flipping the vibe and attitude. Things could have kept on spiraling after Oklahoma. It wouldn’t have taken much. For once, the schedule cooperated. Outside of a rematch with hapless Northwestern, they couldn’t have asked for better recovery games than Indiana and Rutgers - teams who played hard and physical while being short on athletes who could match Nebraska’s big play potential. They made the Huskers earn something they hadn’t done in what felt like forever - win games in the 4th quarter.
Then came a close call against Purdue - a superior, older, larger, more experienced squad with playmakers of their own. Statistically, they dominated every phase of the game, but the Huskers refused to go away losing another close one-score game. And selfishly, I gave virtually zero shits.
For whatever reason, my tank is empty on yahoo-ing close losses. Ask me to put a finger on why and I’ll order us each a shot, look you in the eye and say, “I don’t have a clue, I just know this - (chug) - I am fucking done. (Wave two fingers at bartender for refill) - Not with the team, no-no-no, I’m not one of those chodes who ‘checks out for good’ every other week, then fart-flames on Twitter. Not done with the players, hell they’re still just kids. I’m just used up on the positive vibes for another close loss, fine effort, darn-thought-we’d-lose-that-game-by-27-hohoho-well-met-chappy. Screw it. We may not have the guns to go snag those big wins this year and I don’t care. I’ll not be happy except when we get them. Now let’s drink these two I just ordered. Yes, I know we just did a shot, don’t be a goddamned child.”
Illinois has one loss, is ranked 18th and, depending on this weekend’s results, will probably be favored by 8 or 9 points. And I’ll only be happy with a win. We’re the ABC 2:30PM prime time regional game and another gutsy loss will send me straight home where I can cuss at the walls, maybe toss/punch an inanimate object for old time’s sake and then get some fine food for takeout while calming myself to the continued re-watch of Ted Lasso, that beautiful sonofabitch. And of course realizing I’m in full Roy Kent mode
(OK, this is him retired, coaching & cursing thoroughly thrilled primary school-aged girls but you get the picture. Also, wonderful message - “But only if YOU F*CKIN’ MEAN IT!!”)
If you’re reading this thinking therapy, possible medication, anger management classes and some sort of intervention are in order, then I have eloquently made my point.
Go Big Red and let’s get some W’s.
THE REMAINING SCHEDULE
While I’m in a bit of an unhinged mood, let’s go ahead and take a look at the remaining games on the 2021 schedule. Might as well make a few picks as well and map the route to bowl eligibility.
ILLINOIS - The blunt instrument of the Big 10 West. Bert Bielema’s wet dream as he gets to wield it against a division severely lacking in explosive playmakers this season. We have none of the blunt instruments and many of the playmakers. Our lines will do just enough. The upset against a ranked team finally happens 24-20 Huskers
MINNESOTA - PJ Fleck still lives rent-free in our heads. Playing eight offensive linemen against a Husker D-line with only one starting 300-pounder and two more over 250, they gain 340 yards on 88 carries. PJ gets so happy that his new facelift gets stuck in a creepy grin as he declares himself player of the game. 17-16 Gophers. I begin practicing meditative yoga. Serenity now.
@ MICHIGAN - The Huskers appear to have stunned the Weasels in Ann Arbor after a JJ McCarthy pass sails out of the end zone as the clock hits zero. Reminiscent of the 1972 Olympic basketball final, BTN Commish Kevin Warren comes out of the stands and tells the refs he saw a late hit. Flag flies. Two more stops, two more Warren conferences with refs and two late Husker offsides later, McCarthy sneaks it in for the 25-24 Michigan win. Sunday, I shop for a new big screen.
WISCONSIN - Did you all know Braelon Allen is 18 this year and squats a lot? So do I after last year’s announcers stated it on every carry and had squat videos after every commercial break. Fortunately, he twists his knee on a bad patch of Tom Osborne fieldturf in warmups and we are spared that happy horseshit this year. Huskers 34 Wiscy 18
IOWA - On Friday, there is a stir on Huskers boards as Urban Meyer is allegedly spotted multiple times by the runway at the Iowa City airport. It turns out to be a Corgi-sized rat next to a hanger dumpster humping an alley cat’s corpse while clutching a 3-day old rancid Jimmy John’s New Beefy Crunch in its jaws. ESPN issues an apology to both rats and Corgis for getting it wrong.
The Hawkeyes kick 3 FG’s, and get 2 safeties but still fall to the Huskers 17-13, especially disappointing on the inaugural Hawkeye Diversity Day, celebrated at halftime by having some old white U of Iowa administrator award a plaque of some sort to an older, whiter, higher-ranking U of Iowa administrator.
Ladies and gentlemen - the Huskers are bowl eligible.
WHAT’S THE NATION OF CORN STREAMING THIS WEEK?
This one requires no long lead-in. Here’s what I’m on besides actual games not involving us:
- Just finished catching up on S3 and S4 of Yellowstone. I feel bringing a ranch like 6666 into the show is weird - it suggests there are normal ranches in the world which involve being a cowboy in ways not including human branding, torture, child abuse, murders, shootouts and being fully grown and living on a creepy ranch down the hall from dad. Highly recommend. (It is a world where it’s acceptable for Rip Wheeler to utter threats like these to Jimmy because a girlfriend in the back seat gets chatty)
- Andor - in all seriousness, this is fantastic.
- The Mighty Ducks - Game Changers. Josh Duhamel in and Emilio out again for now, but I respect a kid’s hockey series ripping into the whole summer camp mentality. Fair warning - this is 100% a kids show.
She-Hulk: Attorney At Law - Just finished. Some people are complaining about this show. These people are
idiots dipshits humorless jackwagonsokay, it’s just not their cup of tea! This show is a riot. Tune in to laugh while the show crushes the 4th wall and mocks itself and the trolls who hate it.
Also - Daredevil.
- For All Mankind - started this on a rec from a friend, and as a huge fan of both The Right Stuff and From The Earth To The Moon, I have to say I’m all in on a drama that wants to know how history plays out if the Russians beat us to the moon as well.
- The aforementioned Ted Lasso rewatch. The best part of this is texting with my daughter who - like me - on her initial viewing has been blown away by the fact it’s so much more than a comedy (and, don’t get me wrong, it IS funny as hell). Shows like this can get you through the tough losses.
Happy bye week, everyone and stay Forever Red.