Sunday, September 17, 2006

The Storm That Never Happened

Here's something we've never done before, and probably never will again (quoting this fella, but back in 1985 it would have been considered OK):
  • "So it would seem we've still got a long, long way to go. I've seen all I want to see today."
    --Phil Collins, "Long Long Way To Go", No Jacket Required

And here's something else I never thought I'd say, or at least didn't after spending an entire week licking my chops and coming up with new ways to totally diss the guy: You really can't blame what happened at the coliseum last night entirely on Billy C. Oh how I was waiting for this, I might have even considered just running the old "Billy C Might Not Be For Me" blog. We still get our digs in at the guy though. Does he really have to wear those fake glasses that Stallone used to wear back in the late '80's to look smarter?

He made two great decisions that made me think for a minute that somebody else was coaching:

  • The fake punt that worked brilliantly (Something that you almost have to do if you're a big underdog; Osborne was big on this too, especially in bowl games when the Corn would be heavy dogs).
  • The bootlog on 4th and 2 that went for a touchdown. Everyone in the world was worried about a run up the middle that the Trojans would have absolutely stuffed to smithereens or one of those WCO passes that USC also knows too well. The bootleg was the only way, and you gotta give Billy C credit on this one.

The bottom line is that the Corn are nowhere near being considered among the elite anytime soon. Oh, they're probably good enough to win the Big XII North, which in these days is akin to winning the National League Wild Card, but it's gonna be enough to buy Billy C and his crew at least another year until they can find a way to get invited back to the elite table. Right now, they're like that poor sap Robert Patrick played back during season 2 of the The Sopranos, standing outside the "Executive Game" while Frank Sinatra Jr and the boys played big time cards for big time bucks. And like the character Patrick played, NU in the Executive Game right now would lead to disasters of epic proportions. The first weight Billy C has to get off his back is Nebraska's 0-7 road record against ranked teams since 2001. Now I know a lot of those losses are on Solich's bill (in fact, 5 of them are his), but for the Corn to even get a sniff at that executive game, they gotta kill this stat quick, and might get the chance on October 28th, if Oklahoma State runs the table and somehow finds themselves in the Top 25 (Have you seen Okie State's schedule? This is a possibility!).

And while today I see no reason to sharpen the knives for Callahan, Husker Nation of course is ALL over him, saying he played the game way to close to the belt and that he should have opened things up more. Hello? This is exactly where I give Billy C and his staff credit for growing. Try running against the Trojans in a shootout, and it's the 70-10 Texas Tech debacle all over again. I think in their time to prepare and at halftime the Corn Staff knew that the only way to keep things relatively close would be to try to do some sort of running game while effectively executing the WCO. Problem is, anyone on that Trojan sideline -- including that nutty Pete Carroll, who just seems born for this job, why he'd ever consider the NFL again is beyond me -- knows the WCO like the back of their hands.

Meanwhile, back home, as everyone was waiting for some storm to erupt from the coliseum in LA, there really was one coming through Omaha. We all kept looking out the windows for scenes from the actual movie Twister, including the cows flying around and maybe even a Helen Hunt sighting. Finally at halftime, the local ABC affiliate, KETV, had no choice. They went to their local newsroom for halftime, confirming Tornado sightings and therefore tornado warnings in all of the nearby counties. But they couldn't leave, so we got the infamous split screen for the entire 3rd quarter. It was like watching More American Graffiti, the movie where they decided that a sequel to a classic movie would work if they did it split screen for almost the entire film. It's probably one of the top 10 worst movies ever made, so really don't look for an endorsement here. OR from what KETV pulled. Seriously, in this day and age, isn't it enough to just run a crawl during the game mentioning all of this, tell people to take cover or shelter immediately and if they really need more info, direct them to your website or the Weather Channel. I mean, this is now ESPN sports on ABC, and if this game were actually ON ESPN we wouldn't have had the split screen interruption for most of the second half. Thankfully, next week's game (against Troy, who's hungry for a big road win) is on pay per view and nobody's gonna mess that baby up by trying to chime in with some weather.

Enough with weather for a tornado that never hit, in Nebraska or California. Still early, but it looks like USC with an even better defense from last season is all but set to play for another national championship, and Nebraska will get a return trip to California via the Holiday Bowl in late December. They'll probably play somebody like a California, and by then Billy C and the crew won't have anything to lose in opening up the wild WCO. I also just realized something and should have my head examined for not realizing this earlier. If NU wins the Big XII North and then obviously gets the bowl game, they'll have played 14 games, and could realistically finish the season with an 11-3 record. So relax a bit Husker Nation, 11-3 actually looks pretty good on paper, doesn't it?

And another thing, you certainly should fell better about things than Notre Dame fans can. Charlie Weis sure went from glorified savior to Rick Majerus trying to coach football in an awfully big hurry, and Brady Quinn looks more like the second coming of Ron Powlus than he does a Heisman hopeful or an NFL QB. I can't even imagine how sick Beano Cook is about this today. This is the guy who went on about how much we'd enjoy watching Powlus "play on Sundays" for the next 15 years after his Irish career ended. Eight (8) ranked teams lost yesterday. But really, nobody lost more than the Irish.


Gorgar said...

West Coast Offense - short, precisely timed passes which stretch the defense and open up lanes for zone-blocked runs. "Establishing the run" in the WCO is done by passing the ball.

Once you do this, you can keep the defense on its heels because your play-calling options open up.

You do NOT establish the fucking run in the WCO by having Marlon Lucky run into the middle of the line for 1 yard on first downs.

If you look at the play-by-play you will see that Nebraska ran every single stinking first down. Not only does this render you predictable and easy to stop, it is NOT "establishing the run" in the WCO.

I'm gonna go postal if I see one more sports pundit misuse that phrase.

The Dar said...

Dirty Laundry, I should think you are quite pleased by his reference to you as a "pundit." Well, either that or disgusted. Either way, good read.

I'm a die-hard Trojan, but more power to the Huskers for covering the spread. They are getting better.

Anonymous said...

Callahan knew he had to keep it close to keep his job. He knew there was no way he could win the game so he tried to slow it down and keep it within 30. NU is still a long ways from the big boys and might be lucky to win the north is Mizzou can keep it up.

husker J said...

Nebraska will be fine against most teams. Fine, meaning competitive with a chance to win. USC is not "most teams". Still, if the first Blackshirt makes the tackle instead of missing, getting dragged or needing help, it would have been a different game. USC looked bigger, faster, stronger, etc.

Jimmy said...

I applaud Nebraska fans for trying to be positive in the face of a defeat. As an SC fan who was at the game, I enjoyed having the Nebraska fans show up- they were friendly and we got along well. I think you guys are a classy bunch and your enthusiasm is admirable.

That being said, Nebraska did not play to win in this game. Sure, it was evident even from the stands that USC was faster, bigger, stronger, smarter. That being said, scrappy teams like Fresno State last year have given USC their all and almost come away with major upsets. Nebraska's coaches were just embarassing. They played to "avoid getting slaughtered." How much of a turkey of a coach does it take to do that? How cheated must those players feel?

The game was unsatisfying as a USC fan, because Nebraska threw in the towel from down 1. The prime example happened with 6 minutes left in the game and Nebraska down 28-10. While USC had just had a long TD march, the Huskers had scored on their last possession (albeit only on busted plays).

What does Callahan do? Run the ball up the gut for no gain on first down. The clock marches on. What a joke. I was absolutely shocked- why not try to win the game? Sure, it's 3 possessions, and only 6 seconds, but crazier things have happened (like Oregon's ref-assisted 2 scores in 1 minute against OU).

This game did not prove to be an improvement for Nebraska. It was an embarassment- your coach/OC sold out your players. I wish the best for the Huskers as I found their fans to be great, and I look forward to next year in Lincoln... but this was NOT a performance you can put a good spin on.

HUSK said...

The 2 and 1/2 minutes before the half was enough for me--lynch Callahan. We need to go back to the days when we actually paid recruits decent money to come to Lincoln. The Husk are barely a shadow of what they were in the glory days--a' la the mid-90's.