I told someone I know last week that Michigan State was a trap on the order of the 2020 Minnesota Covid game when the Fightin’ Flecks brought like 46 scholarship players to Lincoln and handed the ‘Skers their asses. Michigan State was on a 6-game skid, but had entered the 4th quarter with leads on three of four opponents who could be considered on the Nebraska Big 10 West level. They were dangerous and we hadn’t perfected that 4th quarter thing yet.
He wanted to talk about how the Huskers were perfectly positioned for a division title.
And that also seemed to be a lively topic of conversation on many social platforms. Bowl eligibility was now a given. And I really wasn’t sure how to feel about that having spent more than a few minutes in the previous weeks warning people against looking ahead.
Oh wait - yes, I was.
But now with three games left to win just the one we really need, I won’t remind everyone to continue to take it one game at a time. I definitely won’t chastise the miserable fools STILL talking about how to win a division title, no matter how badly I want mutilate voodoo dolls made in their likeness, and slap the backs of their collective heads with snow shovels, then selling the teeth which fall out of their empty heads to dental schools. OH NO, THAT LEVEL OF PAIN IS NOT HIGH ENOUGH FOR THOSE MISERABLE SONS OF BITCHES!! THEIR FAMILIES MUST BE -
Nope, Thorny is right. We all make mistakes - correct, B1G referees? - and the important thing is not to lose our shit. It is to learn from those mistakes and find ways to enjoy life. Yes, it is.
WHO DO YA’ HATE? B1G COACHES EDITION
So let’s just have a little fun this week - and we’ll start with a poll!! We need need to vent a little so let’s start by embracing the hate. And I am genuinely curious to see how this plays out.
Which Big 10 coach do we hate the most? (Only those worth our wrath to be considered)
This poll is closed
Bert B. - Illinois - yeah, we finally got another win against him, but that doesn’t forgive everything.
Ryan Day - Ohio St. - I know, he’s never done/said anything awful, but…Ohio State. Has to be included.
Jimmy Harbaugh - Michigan - the arrogance…the ego…and, of course, the cheating. He always nibbled at it - then embraced a WHOLE new level.
PJ Fleck - Minnesota - He will always be there to let you know he’s the most important person in the room. Takes "What an ass," to boss levels.
Greg Schiano - Rutgers - Yeah, he’s lower key now but carries much crappy baggage.
Kirk Ferentz - Iowa - Besides always being in lemon-sucking mode? The nepotism of enriching his inept son & the behavior of both of them costing the school $4M+ and then still crafting a 1940’s-looking roster merits inclusion.
James Franklin - Penn State - just seems irritating at times. And also - Penn State.
WHAT DID WE LOVE? NEBRASKA - THE DARK YEARS EDITION
There’s going to be a little effort required here, but I’m gonna look for that game which was a ray of sunshine in each season of the Riley/Frost Era. It was an era which proved to be a boon in Nebraska only to bars, liquor stores and various mental health and depression counseling professionals.
We never went 0-12, so there had to be some light poking through the clouds occasionally.
(I’m getting an ugly feeling this may not help?)
2015 - Nebraska 39 #6 Michigan State 38 - Gifted with an incredibly soft schedule in his maiden season, Mike Riley still managed to turn it into a 6-7 record. The only ranked teams they played were the grossly overrated Iowa & Michigan State squads (see 2015 College Football Playoff, Rose Bowl and hideously unwatchable Big 10 Title Game). Michigan St. managed to lose to the mediocre Huskers and still make the CFP where they were curb-stomped by Alabama.
Still, they were ranked #6 on November 7th and when Tommy Armstrong connected with Brandon Reilly for a very questionable but upheld on review 30 yard TD pass, the state exploded as the Huskers knocked the Spartans from the ranks of the undefeated. They have not beaten a top ten team since.
2016 - Nebraska 35 Oregon 32 - The 2016 team managed to match 2015 Iowa & Michigan St. for being massively overrated. They raced to a 7-0 record and #8 ranking on the strength of close victories against teams who could only be generously described as the dirt of the earth. They would drop 4 of their last 6 as actual competition entered the fray, several in blowout fashion.
Oregon was one of those lousy teams, but we didn’t know it at the time. When Tommy Armstrong bolted 34 yards for a TD with about 2 1⁄2 minutes left, we thought we had a signature win against a non-con opponent. It wasn’t - Oregon would finish 4-8 - but for an afternoon, we dared to believe.
2017 - Nebraska 25 Purdue 24 - Mike Riley was a dead man walking when the Huskers arrived in West Lafayette in the midst of losing 6 of their last 7. Hopes weren’t high against an emerging Boilermaker team which would finish 7-6. We trailed 24-12 in the 4th quarter and the ‘Skers looked like a bowl of dog food with a fat-ass Corgi staring it down.
But then the Blackshirts would tighten and Tanner Lee would finish a 431-yard passing day with two TD’s, the final one finding Stanley Morgan with 0:14 left for a 1-point victory, Riley’s last as the Huskers’ HC.
2018 - Ohio St. 36 Nebraska 31 - I know, I know, it was a loss, but hear me out - I have a very stupid and petty reason for including it. The doom of the Scott Frost Era was foretold right out of the gates with a thunderstorm-cancelled game followed by 6 straight losses. The ship would right somewhat with a 4-2 finish and the two losses being - you guessed it - one-score losses - to Iowa and Ohio St.
So why include Ohio St.? Because Urban Meyer, that’s why. First of all, the Huskers put up a good showing against a Buckeye squad which was supposedly going to take Urban’s wrath out on them after being slaughtered 49-20 by Purdue the previous week. Didn’t happen.
But also, this was the season where Urban would resign in disgrace for covering up for his wife-beating ass of an assistant coach. And what does Urban do when it’s time to resign in disgrace? That’s right - he fakes a medical condition and this time he was going to add brain leakage to his heart and nerve issues.
And with the game in doubt, there he was grabbing his head on the sideline!! We were howling, convinced Urbs was putting on the brain show to ready himself to resign on the spot - the scandal and back-to-back losses to the Huskers and Purdue being too much to take. It didn’t happen, but even in the loss, we were highly entertained by it all and that was enough.
(For those who think me cold, Urbs did once again recover from near death, this time to take an NFL head job - just the prescription for someone with nerve, heart and brain issues. Thanks for letting me reminisce - I’ll speed things up.)
2019 - Nebraska 13 Northwestern 10 - 2019 would flip the script as the Huskers would implode losing 5 of their last 6. But right before the slide began, they’d pull out this ugly and heart stopping victory. Kicking had become a circus that year with extra points and short FG’s being adventures. But walk-on Lane McCallum’s 24-yarder as time expired gave us one last smile in 2019.
2020 - Nebraska 30 Penn St 23 - The Covid season stunk in so many different ways, it’s best just to move on. But beating Penn St. is always enjoyable. With Luke McCaffrey getting the start, the ‘Skers raced to a 27-6 halftime lead. Then, in what would prove a staple of the Frost years, they tried to back the car into the garage so to speak, by what looked like trying to just run 30 minutes off the clock. It didn’t backfire that day & they held on for the W. The rest of the year? Meh.
2021 - Nebraska 56 Northwestern 7 - This win evened the record at 3-3 and hope was in the air as the Blackshirts looked solid and the offense was flying high. It was all a damnable lie of course as Frost was about to kick off a 1-8 run to end his time in Lincoln. But that night, as the sun set, flame shot and “Thunderstruck” played, we were unbeatable and ready to turn the corner.
2022 - I got nuthin’ - Frost’s last three games and the rumors surrounding him off-field produced zero enjoyable games out of the three. Seems like a perfect place to end this.
So there we go.
This week - stay strong in the superstitious weirdness. We’ve seen how the fates react when we start talking about all the nice things we could have instead of just focusing on the game in front of us.
We’re 0-0 again and just need to go 1-0. On fucking Peacock, I might add - thanks Big 10. (I flip off the screen, not for the first time.)
Let’s do this.