Saturday, September 29, 2007
Iowa State ran over 100 offensive plays today against the Blackshirts. Joe Torre won't even let Roger Clemens throw 100 pitches in a game. The Cycylone offense was on the field for damn near forty minutes. An episode of Curb, it should be noted, wraps things up in less than 30 minutes every week. Iowa State also had 415 yards in total offense, which means Super Grover's defense has allowed....over 1,000 yards in the last two weeks. In Lincoln.
But this game gets lost thanks to the fact that there were literally 7 other colossal upsets, which makes the Corn coming out with a win enough to be considered passable (plus USC only won by 3, Good God what the fuck was going on Saturday???). OK, understood, it was that kind of day, but Billy C better be praying to his Little Tin God that his team wasn't amongst the nuttiness.
It's this simple really. If Nebraska keeps this shit going on defense, they can't expect to escape many more Saturdays. Especially not at Missouri next week. Hell, not at home against Kansas State. If they can somehow figure out how these maligned schools can walk into Lincoln and shred them a part, well, there's enough fucking parity this year where they can slip to another Big 12 North Title.
Whatever, you just can't count out Saturday as being a day of "nuttiness" as everyone in Husker Nation is already claiming. What is "nutty" is that going into October, the league's two only undefeated teams are...Kansas and Missouri? And that's probably because those two teams had BYES today!
Fine, so the whole conference (and really all of CFB) has been turned upside down. That's no excuse for what Super Grover struts out there week after week after week. His defense hasn't regressed back to late '80's Husker style; they've managed to pre-date the 1962 Devaney era. For the past three weeks, Grover's defense has played in what's supposed to be one of the most feared places for any road team. A sea of red, some 80,000 strong that actually get loud and rise to the occasion. You know -- the sort of place where it should be relatively easy to force some 3 and outs. This defense has got to get shit fixed and fixed fast, because guess what? There are no more Ball State's or Iowa State's on the schedule. And if Saturday was so nutty, just how much more nutty does a trip to Boulder sound now?
As LD would say sarcastically, "pretty......pretty good." CLICK TO READ ENTIRE POST!
Thursday, September 27, 2007
In 1997, the Huskers needed a miraculous "flea-kicker" with time expiring in regulation to tie at Columbia, Missouri, and then eventually found a way to win 45-38. The Huskers went into Columbia ranked #1 in both polls.
By Monday, they were #3 in each poll. All because they WON on the road, but evidently not in convincing fashion.
So nobody is ever satisfied with just winning, no matter how ugly or lucky the situation. I don't think I've ever been as shocked in the Billy C era -- and yes, this includes the 70-10 Texas Tech debacle -- as when I looked at the TV screen and saw "Ball State, 40" late in the 4th quarter. Seriously, Ball Fucking State put up 40 points in LINCOLN??? But most importantly, how did we not include Ball State in our little executive game?
Style points be gone, the Executive Game is back in play, and it's time to grab that big ass notebook out of Kevin Cosgrove's crotch, shred it to death, and tell him how he can join the club this week:
- Alabama (+3) against Florida State. Nick Saban isn't as great of a football mastermind as he thinks he is. Bobby Bowden isn't as dead as we all really think he is. But Saban's the type of guy who could care less if Bowden up and died in the middle of this game.
- Hawaii (-25) against Idaho. The Rainbows are officially on their roll we've all been expecting to see them on. Face it, Hawaii is this year's Bosie State, this year's Rutgers, the team that will go unbeaten and get screwed out come BCS time. Style points matter for this team. They should win by 50.
- Texas (-15) against Kansas State, at Austin, Texas. Texas did not look the part of a contender during the first 3 weeks of the season, but they seem to have their act together now. This game will epitomize the differences between the Big 12 South and North. The South can play with the big boys while the North is just JV.
- Ohio (+3) over Kent. Frankie Solich is an underdog at home? Which of course begs the question, one I think is very fair in year four of the Billy C era: Would the Huskers be better or worse off had they kept Frankie and his coaching staff around a few more years? If Solich still had Bo Pellini and company among his assistants? Don't you wonder from time to time how a coach could go 9-3 and get fired and find the only good job available was at Ohio? Don't you think Stevie P threw him under the bus in the coaching fraternity in ways we'll never know?
- Wisconsin (-7 1/2) against Michigan State. At Wisconsin. You know, the school where Kevin Cosgrove used to be Defensive Coordinator. One of my favorite memories from October, 2004 was meeting some Wisconsonites on a flight home from Vegas. After we told them we were from Nebraska, they looked at us like they just met Jesus Christ himself. "Thank you, thank you," they pleaded. "Thank you so much for taking Cosgrove away from us. We can't thank you enough....Oh, uhm, good luck to you.
- Mississippi (+15) at Georgia. Here's the craziest stat I heard all week: Georgia has lost something like only 3 road games in past 8 years. They're unbeatable on the road. But it's at home where they have their problems.
- Iowa State (+21) at Nebraska. I'm sorry, but what I saw last week looked like one of those old Jimmy Johnson Miami teams whipping up on a slow Osborne led Husker squads from the '80's. It took TO a few years to learn to recruit speed on defense before he could win titles. If Bosie State can come to your back yard and play touch football, anything's possible. Plus this Iowa State team beat Iowa. I'm thinking Nebraska wins by 17, but there's a home upset in the making sometime this year. It's probably not this Saturday, but it's in the air.
Season: 10-7 CLICK TO READ ENTIRE POST!
The Executive Game is next. As soon as I get over this book not coming out. I want my 20 bucks back.
CLICK TO READ ENTIRE POST!
Sunday, September 23, 2007
- At the end of Tootsie, Dustin Hoffman is strolling through Central Park when he passes by a mime trying to show off. A frustrated Hoffman just walks right up to him and knocks him over.
- One of the better tellings of the joke in The Aristocrats comes from Billy the Mime (played by Steven Banks).
Other than those two gems, Mimes drive me to drink. Oh who am I kidding, I can drive myself there.
Saturday, September 22, 2007
Hell, it's a win, and in this era of College Football, you take the W's and run over to the female sideline reporter to tell her how proud you are of your team for being so resilient in a game where there were 9 lead changes. My favorite Billy C quote: "There are probably a few things that we need to work on." No shit? The 2007 Huskers are the equivalent of the late 1980's Denver Bronco's teams. A horrible defense, an iffy at best running game, and an all-everything quarterback who can always someway, somehow, find a way in the end.
Alright, so let's dissect a few things about this wild-shoot out:
- "Nice catch, Matt" Davison is now doing color for FSN. Or at least he did for this game. He's no Andre Ware (which is a plus), but he's certainly not Chris Collinsworth either.
- Keller went 7 for 7 on that final drive that ended with the Maurice Purify touchdown. I'm going to go out on a limb and suggest that Joe Dailey wouldn't have been able to pull that off a few years ago.
- Bo Ruud is officially the most overrated defensive player in Husker football history. He was a complete non-factor the entire game...and then wouldn't you know it, Ball State QB Nate Davis makes the one critical mistake that falls right into Ruud's lap. So Ruud gets more headlines because he took that one back to the house. But real defensive leaders don't let a team like Ball State come into your home stadium and hang 40 points on you.
- My first experience watching a game at the infamous "Callahan's Sports Bar" in Kansas City (actually in Lenexa, KS, and no it's not named after Billy C). The bar is owned by the same people who own Sandy's Bar in Lincoln, and they even serve Elk Creek's on game day. Every television was tuned to the Husker game. It was jam packed by 10:45 AM with literally every person there wearing red (with the exception of one K-State fan, who loved every minute of the game until poor Jake Hogue missed that field goal). Callahan's is known as the Kansas City "Husker" bar, and it didn't disappoint one bit. You'd be hard pressed to watch a road game in a better Lincoln or Omaha bar. They even had a big 8 x 10 framed picture of Billy C, and surprisingly nobody had marked it up with devil horns.
- Oh yeah, Sam Keller passed for 438 yards, which is an NU record. Of course, Nate Davis threw for 422, and if one of those nice passes wasn't dropped for an easy touchdown, you're talking about a 450+ yard performance by the opposing quarterback.
- Kevin Cosgrove looked every bit as intense and angry as Tommy Lee Jones did in The Fugitive. That is, if Tommy Lee Jones character walked around with a huge ass notebook hanging out of the front of his pants and having his hair go grey by the minute. Is it just me, or is this look of Cosgrove's a big problem? Do you think the players laugh about the notebook look when their on the field? I can't emphasize this enough. Get a fucking clipboard and walk around without looking like your about to go Pinocchio and turn into a jackass. Then maybe a few of your players might focus on something like, I don't know, tackling, per se.
- Something to be very worried about as the Corn enters the Big 12 schedule: The blackshirts provided absolutely NO pass rush, letting Davis throw the ball 43 times and even run for 57 yards.
- Just so you all know, Doc Sadler is not going to stop trying for more and more face time on TV during football games. While Ball State was tearing the Husker Defense apart, Doc was too busy in the booth begging fans to go out now and buy their Husker Basketball season tickets. I don't know Doc, but if memory serves, there were some games last year where your team couldn't even put up 40 points.
- I don't know if I've said anything about the defense yet, but Ball State had 610 total yards in offense.
- There were no commercials during the pay-per-view game, only Nebraska promos. And not a one of them was voiced by Dick Cavett. Although it was good to see our old friend Bruce Chubick show up in the "I'm aboard" spot for Nebraska men's basketball. I could just see old Chub before shooting that promo. "Now, you're going to pay me after this, right? In CASH?"
- Callahan gave the rather ordinary looking female sideline reporter interview time at the end of the first half and the end of the game. Let's just say this: Billy C could give two shits about that mid-field prayer meeting that some players and coaches choose to participate in; he's all about helping our female journalists.
- The reason I called the sideline reporter "ordinary" looking is because three girls who were sitting next to me kept going on about how bad she looked, from her outfit to her hair. One of these girls had a T-Shirt that read "Leave Me Alone" with a picture of Grumpy the Dwarf on it. But at least it was a red t-shirt.
- The new Billy C joke everyone has to use at watch parties and bars: "Don't you think Callahan is Beau Bridges twin brother?"
- More on Grover. In the 4th quarter, he grew more nervous with each new reaction shot. I might be crazy, but I'd bet the house that Cosgrove keeps a big bottle of Crown Royal in his desk. Or down his pants with that playbook.
- Nebraska had two receivers go over the 100 yard mark (Purify and Sean Hill), and Marlon Lucky had 81 yards receiving to go with his 102 rushing yards. I'm only bringing up the rushing yardage because I don't really remember any rushing yards in the 2nd half. Must have been the Elk Creeks.
- The game was officially over when that poor kid was asked to go out and win it for Ball State on a 55-yard field goal. He even looked puzzled as to why he was out there. During both "icing" time-outs, Jake Hogue kept looking around as if to say, "Seriously, he's gonna call me back to the sidelines and we'll just pick up these 5 easy yards, right? RIGHT?"
- Almost everyone left Callahan's more pissed off than relieved, and most used a refrain that you read on these pages about every other week: "You think they'll fire Cosgrove in the middle of the season?"
I doubt that's going to happen, but it does lead us up to why this is a Broken Record edition (as opposed to the Bill Murray movie Broken Flowers edition) of our game recap. Firing Cosgrove as early as this week would send a major statement to not just the team, but all of "Husker Nation" if you will. This was last year's Oklahoma State game all over again at times. This was USC running for 11 yards a carry. If you're Callahan, and you admit at Tuesday's presser that the current defense is unacceptable, you get everyone's attention. The only problem is, who comes in to save the day at this point? The good thing is that the entire conference is beyond soft this year. The Corn can win games like this with Keller's arm and confidence. We're probably stuck with Super Grover through the end of the year...
...But with his Helen Keller defense, there's no place this team is going further than a Big 12 North Championship. And with Missouri still left -- at Missouri mind you -- that's not going to be easy. If I have to be in the area for that game, I just hope I'm at Callahan's instead of Columbia.
Thursday, September 20, 2007
Executive Game: Special Never Brand A Former NFL Coach a Genius With an Extended Contract Before He Wins a National Championship Edition
- Neither one of them looks at a loss as the end of the world. It's almost like they still think there's some sort of playoff system that's in place. Take Callahan. He still expects to win the Big 12 North (even if he loses a few more games along the way), and then thinks if he somehow could beat an Oklahoma, he gets into the BCS, and that's all he has to do. I firmly believe that both Weiss and Callahan don't understand that in college one loss is devastating.
- Both spend way to much time talking about making the next step to "the league." I imagine that on recruiting trips -- and granted, with both of these guys, they've been relatively successful in this regard -- that they talk about their own success in the NFL, how they're running NFL type schemes and how it's going to be so much more beneficial for them in terms of getting drafted to "the league." OK fine but...
- ...For the most part, these pro schemes are so complex, that it's unexpected for college students to grasp them immediately, let alone four years. Nobody's naive enough to think Maurice Purify and company spend that much time in the classroom, but they do have to maintain a certain GPA and technically they are STUDENTS. So they aren't like say, oh, Rich Gannon or Tom Brady, where all they have to do is learn and study football. The college game has always used simpler schemes on both sides of the ball. What Billy C and Weiss are doing is putting way too much on a lot of these kids.
- Finally, and I have no clue where they get this: They think they're allowed a rebuilding year, as if a big draft pick awaits them next spring. I'm sorry, but at the big time programs, there's no such thing as rebuilding. Billy C sold us on the 5-6 disaster in 2004, saying, "We're building towards our championship season." Notice how he said SEASON, singular. And how Weiss can possible explain the possibility of going 0-8 this year while selling how great the Irish will be in 2008 is beyond me. Pete Carroll has the advantage of getting the lower hanging fruit first because most of the stud athletes are right there in his own backyard. But Callahan and Weiss better realize soon that it's all about constant reloading. In big time NCAA football, there is no such thing as rebuilding.
Now that we're determined that this season consists of four ten-foot tall bullet proof gorillas (USC, LSU, Oklahoma and Florida) against a bunch of also rans, picking college games is more difficult than ever. But screw it, that's what the executive game's about. We don't rebuild, we just reload and hopefully now in our case, REBOUND. On to the picks:
- Miami (-3) against Texas A&M: Yes, the Big 12 is "soft" this year, which means even though they're somehow ranked, Miami will open up the proverbial can of whoop ass against Bill Byrne's Aggies. Plus it's at the "U", which is good for something.
- LSU (-17) at the old ball coach at South Carolina: LSU is just one of those elite teams. Deal with it.
- Michigan (+3) over Penn State. Lloyd Carr is playing for his job with, going into the season, a very overrated team. The truth is, Michigan's been on the decline for a while, but Penn State isn't nearly as good as everyone thinks. It's been that sort of season, Michigan can start out 0-2 at home and then knock down Joe Pa from the ranks of the unbeaten.
- Wisconsin (-8) over Iowa. Iowa got beat by Iowa State, a team that's more of a mess than Colorado was last year. Wisconsin got their scare last week, and even though the Big 10 is also down, Wisconsin is still more than a touchdown better than Iowa.
Last week: 5-4
For what it's worth, tickets to go see Hannah Montana in concert in Kansas City sold out in less than 11 minutes. I have no idea who Hannah is, I guess the kids love her (mine don't), but when I asked somebody who Hannah Montana was, they cried out, "You don't know? She's Billy Ray Cyrus' daughter!"
Monday, September 17, 2007
Sunday, September 16, 2007
- USC back Stafon Johnson: "Those holes were big, real big. My eyes got big every time."
- USC coach Pete Carroll: "We're going to run the ball every time until we score."
- More from birthday boy Carroll: "To do that here and to be able to capture the momentum of the stadium and all of that early on and then in the third quarter come ripping out there with a couple turnovers and away it goes -- it's a beautiful thing." Whoa.
- But of course, our fearless leader Billy C remains every the optimist: "It's the third game of the season, and we plan on playing 14. We'll see how it turns out." Wait a second, he's planning on 14 games? So he's guaranteeing the Big 12 North already. Whoa.
- Hopefully nobody's putting this game on Sam Keller's shoulders because it wasn't his fault. Ask Stafon Johnson about those big holes. Did Keller open those up for him?
- Understatement of the day, again from Carroll: "Once we got going, geez, we just took control." Oh, you think so do you doctor?
- Uhm, here's another chilling stat: USC outrushed the Corn 313-31. As Vincent Vega would say, "That's a bold statement."
- "As it turned out, the act of running on Nebraska, the team, was a lot like driving through Nebraska, the state. You could go a long way before you ran into anybody." Ouch, thank you to Mark Whicker for that one.
- "The last time we saw this many empty seats at Memorial Stadium prior to the start of the fourth quarter, it didn't turn out to be a good thing for the guy in the head coach's office. A Husker Nation that continues to remain divided on the progress and direction of this staff won't be any more settled after what went down Saturday night in front of a national ABC television audience." This from the Grand Island Independent, who unlike the World Herald, isn't afraid to call a spade a spade.
- However, one World Herald staff, Lee Barkfnecht, did the right thing in questioning the direction of Nebraska football. Barkfnect reminds us of what Stevie P said when he was looking for a new coach after Solich. "No one should apply for this job who doesn't plan to win national championships."
- We'll also give Lee the final word on these stud recruits who are alleged somewhere in Lincoln: "I've got stars in my eyes from reading all this baloney about these super-duper, 'multiple-star' recruits on a five-star scale that get major headlines for signing with Nebraska.OK, if all these hotshots are on campus, where are they? Why hasn't the system been tailored to get them on the field sooner? Where is the speed? Where are the offensive game-breakers? Where are the defensive playmakers?" Great questions.
Saturday, September 15, 2007
- Colorado 62, Nebraska 36, 2001 (the beginning of the end)
- Texas Tech 70, Nebraska 10 (the first real sign that Callahan might have been a bad hire)
- Washington 36, Nebraska 21, 1991 (in Lincoln, made everyone, including Osborne, rethink things, the score wasn't an indication of how bad the game really was)
- Miami 37, Nebraska 14, 2002 Rose Bowl (the official sign that times had changed and programs were miles ahead in terms of talent)
- Arizona State 19, Nebraska 0, 1996 (Really just a speed bump, but at the time it was absolutely devastating and felt like the first loss in something like ten years -- actually, it was only three years, also made everyone liken Scott Frost to Cousin Oliver of The Brady Bunch as our bad luck charm for a few months)
- Kansas State 38, Nebraska 7, 2003 (worst home loss in the "modern" era, the game where Stevie Peterson walked around the sky boxes and literally decided at that moment to fire Solich)
Revisionist history won't be necessary to tell us that tonight's embarrassment immediately goes to the top of the list. This was 1987 Mike Tyson breezing through a fight in less than 3 minutes. In what was the most anticipated game in Lincoln since either 1978 (#1 Oklahoma losing to NU) or 1987 (#1 Nebraska losing to #2 Oklahoma), this was beyond humiliation, and what makes things even more worse for the wear is that this could have been yet another statement game during the Billy C era. We've been hearing about a "statement" game ever since Billy C and the WCO landed in Lincoln, and there's yet to be one that has a W next to it. All you needed to know about the Huskers took place in the first half when Kirk and Brent rolled out this week's AFLAC Trivia Question:
"When was the last time Nebraska beat a top ten team?"
Not a top 10 team on the road. A TOP TEN TEAM, period. The answer, of course, is (or was) 2001. It was a short lived moment, in Frankie Solich's finest hour as Husker Head Coach, beating Bob Stoops in Lincoln and helping secure a piece of Heisman Hardware for Eric Crouch (which is really significant because it doesn't look like Crouch is going to do much else with his life). If you think about it, maybe 6 years isn't that big of a deal when you consider that it took Kentucky 30 years to finally knock off a top 10 team in Louisville tonight.
Nothing is as bad as getting destroyed at home. A close loss to a quality team is tolerable. But to let a team, even the #1 team in the nation, come in and make it look like a Red-White Spring Game, for storied program like Nebraska, is inexcusable. Instead of progress, the program looks to be mired in mediocrity for years to come. We've all bought into the bill of goods. We bought that there needed to be a change because Solich was too complacent. We bought the idea of Billy C bringing in the vaunted West Coast Offense because a change in philosophy would bring more talented (re: NFL ready) players to Lincoln. We bought that Billy C needed a year to get the right kids to run the right systems. We bought all of the lauded recruits destined to bring the Corn back amongst the elite. Hell, we bought into the idea that getting rid of "Movie Night" before gameday was a good idea. And we all bought into the hype for tonight, where at the very LEAST, most of us thought the score would have been a lot closer, that Nebraska wouldn't have been laughed out of it's own playground with plenty of time remaining in the 3rd quarter. I don't want to hear about how anyone "expected" this to happen. Or how classy some fans were who stayed to the bitter end in hopes of rooting their boys on. If it looks like a piece of dog shit, smells like dog shit, and tastes like dog shit, then by God it's FUCKING DOG SHIT! The mop up points at the end don't matter. This was a 56-10 blowout that proves what Barry Switzer once said about being the head coach of USC. "They drive by more blue chip recruits on their way home from practice than we'll see in one year." For all the hype this game got, didn't it feel eerily close to that Raiders/Bucs Super Bowl Callahan was a part of?
I wanted to dissect this piece of shit, but the better idea is to offer some advice to a coach who isn't going anywhere soon (and if you don't think anyone's happier that Charlie Weiss is 0-3 right now than Billy C, you aren't paying attention). After the debacle against Oklahoma last year, you might recall how we suggested reaching out to Bo Pellini, something Peterson is too proud or more likely egotistic to do. However, letting Pellini go during the purge of 2004 is turning out to be one of the most critical errors in recent memory. Besides, Pellini's too hot a commodity right now to even give a thought to coming back to Lincoln to be the Defensive Coordinator (not when he'll be the first name mentioned for the MICHIGAN head coaching position). The simple fact of the matter is that the Super Grover experiment has been tried, and frankly we've seen enough now to fully understand that it's just not going to work with Cosgrove. It's been a disaster since day one, and even if offensively the Corn has improved year by year, Billy C needs to learn what TO did: You aren't getting anywhere without a stellar defense. If Billy C is the devil we've got to dance with for another few years at least, he's got to at the very least show Peterson that he's committed to getting better by overhauling a defense that simply could...not...stop...the....run.
- Well, we actually got a game where Andre Ware wasn't the color commentator (and weren't those shots of Herbstreit and Musburger in the booth, complete with the State Capitol Phallic Symbol right in the middle to split the two, worth the price of admission?).
- The Trojans open up with four plays, 96 yards. Nothing fazes this team. Especially not Super Grover's defense.
- It's Pete Carroll's birthday. Yet something else the gambling community should have known about before kick-off. This isn't the sort of thing you want to hear first from Brent Musberger. The good news for Petey boy is I hear that the Sidetrack offers free upside down margarita's if it's your birthday. See you on O Street Pete.
- Brett Favre is comfortable in Wrangler while listening to BTO's "You Aint Seen Nothing Yet." He looks like he'd be a lot more comfortable in Wrangler if he chased some Vicodin with a few crisp cold Budweisers.
- Iowa State beat Iowa. Utah destroys UCLA. Louisville loses to....KENTUCY???
- Requisite highlight of how Sam Keller had USC beat 21-3 at halftime a few years ago. I guess some reason to be cautiously optimistic.
- Larry The Cable Guy gets 'er done by introducing the Huskers. To introduce the Trojans: Reggie Bush. What, OJ Simpson wasn't available? At least Will Farrell made the best career move of his year and stayed quietly on the sideline rather than make an ass out of himself on TV.
- Keler's been going to the sideline's to dialogue with Billy C a bit too much. As in, like Joe Dailey used to do. Can't Keller have everything he needs hiding up that big sleeve he wears on his left arm? Does he really need to run over to Callahan after EVERY play?
- Keller looked sharp early. Like I said, I don't worry much with Keller under center, but I worry a little bit with that defense he needs to keep on the sidelines for as long as possible.
- Crowd shots of Keller's dad in the 1st quarter: I stopped counting at 106.
- OOOH -- here's something. Billy C is politicking for the same sort of helmet communication that the NFL uses. Is that because it worked so well for him in that Super Bowl against Tampa Bay? If Callahan really wants to keep up with the NFL, he'd just have spies on the USC sidelines like Bellicheck does.
- Hey, but our man Sam Keller did throw for over 380 yards, and I still like this kid alot. In fact, I still like the Holy Trinity of Keller, Lucky, and Purify. Hey, it aint Gill, Rozier and Frazier, but these days, you take what you're given.
- We already know the story this year in college football: There are three programs head and shoulders above everybody else (USC, LSU, Florida and Oklahoma). Everyone else is simply playing for scraps.
As is always the case during the newly dubbed "Callahan Era", Nebraska is STILL not ready to make the leap. And the program is stuck with an Athletic Director and Head Coach who are more and more looking like they're most definitely not the one's to lead the program out of the doldrums. And tomorrow a group of faithful fans will read quotes from our beloved salesman, buy into the fact that "there were some good things out there", and think that eventually, this NEW era is going to take that first step forward. Billy C can't rest on that contract extension. He's got to do what Osborne did after embarrassing defeats. He's got to learn the importance of defense.CLICK TO READ ENTIRE POST!
Thursday, September 13, 2007
And at least we weren't like Travis Roastbeef and predicted some big Michigan comeback. Boy was that a dead fish he laid on all of us late last week. But the good news is, I've been to the buffet for this week, and I see a lot of things I like. Some tasty things to see if we can't climb out of our rabbit hole. But first, regarding USC...
Somebody ran around the office this week saying, "USC is only a 5 1/2 point favorite over the Huskers! This is gotta be a miss print. Who do we call to bet the house." Yes, it was printed in the Kansas City Star on Wednesday as being 5 1/2, and I was like Steve Martin in The Jerk when he saw that first check he got for $187,000 for inventing the opti-grab.
As usual, Vegas gets it right. They don't continue to build new hotels on misprints int he KC Star. The line is actually USC by 10, which is probably about right. I've been having some visions of the Corn keeping the game close, ala Texas last year, and losing by a touchdown or less. A year ago I saw 56-10 Auburn. But here's why Billy C has the perfect storm going for him...
- USC isn't the USC of old, or at least not the Carson Palmer/Matt Leinart versions of USC. After getting my inside source on LSU, and looking more at the Trojans, it's so obvious that everyone in the media grabbed the low hanging fruit. USC was such the easy, sexy pick that nobody dared go against them. Everyone looked at them as Tiger Woods and all other teams as the field. They had all of their defense coming back. But they also still have a quarterback who has three first names (never a good sign, and I will not argue that "Booty" is not a first name. Travis has a son named Booty.), and let's not forget, USC lost two games last year, and then got everybody salivating when they beat the holy shit out of a Michigan squad that in hindsight was and still is clearly overrated.
- Eventually, the clock's gonna strike midnight on this program. Pete Carroll has had one impressive run, and he gets all kinds of credit for being a great 2nd half coach, how his staff figures out everything over halftime. This run can't last forever. Even if he runs the table, I don't see how his team can handle an LSU team that's dripping with future NFL stars. But more importantly, the dynasty days in this new day of college football are going to be very short. It's impressive enough with what Carroll has done this decade. But sooner or later, Tatoo's gonna ask you to leave Fantasy Island.
- I firmly believe, that going back to January, 2004, when Billy C was introduced as the new sheriff in town, that he and Stevie P pulled out the 2007 calendar, and circled this Saturday's game as extremely critical. And it's all set up as the "turning point" game. As if to say no other game before them really meant all that much, but by the USC game in Lincoln, he'd better have a team that's at least extremely competitive. Remember, Frankie Solich had his fate sealed after getting embarrassed at home in 2003 to Kansas State. Stevie P hates nothing more than getting embarrassed at home. It's bad for business. This is the game they've both been waiting for.
- The Jekyl and Hyde Coach who Just got a contract extension from the University of Lincoln. He suffered one of the most humiliating losses in school history in year 1, getting pounded 70-10 at Texas Tech. The next year, Tech comes to Lincoln and he almost beats the Red Raiders. He had Texas beat at home last year. Billy C is just a different coach at home, no doubt about it. Which is to say that I'm not expecting him to keep it close to the vest like he did against USC last year.
- Sam Keller. I don't care if the Corn is losing 21-0, I feel safe with this kid. Does he still make mistakes that bring the Beavis-face cringe to everyone? Yes. But this kid is John Elway in his early days at Denver. Yes, he's going to throw some picks, but he's going to dazzle like that final touchdown at the end of the first half against Wake Forrest that more or less decided the game. You want an Elway for a game like this, for a team like this. What I'm saying is, if there was a 1st and 98 situation like "The Drive" in 1987 in that Cleveland playoff game, I'd be perfectly calm with Keller under center. Even if that bastard insists on wearing that visor. Somewhere, Steve Spurrier is happy for that look though.
- The line is 10, not 5 1/2 (if it was actually 5 1/2, the Trojans would be our #1 this week). It's a smart line, which leads us to our final, and most critical reasoning...
- The fucking kicking game. In the off-season, Billy C's smartest move was finding the absolute strongest and most reliable leg in the nation. He's got a field goal kicker who can hit from anywhere. And now with the new kick-off rules, this guy's hell bent on kicking every single ball through the end zone.
So let's get 1-3 out of mouths and go on to what you'll need to play this weekend, starting tonight kids:
- TCU (-8 1/2) against Air Force. This game's tonight, so get in early. TCU is a good team, and you're telling me they're only 8 1/2 points better than fucking AIR FORCE?
- Kansas (-23) against Toledo, at Lawrence. Here's something nobody's talking about. There's a big point shaving scandal involving Toledo that has really rocked the core of their football team. They might not even be able to bring enough players to Lawrence. Plus, KU coach Mangino is big enough to find a way to roll up 80 points in this game just because he's that fucking nuts. He might even leave his starters in with the score 50-3. I love this game more than anything else this weekend (except for when we get to something called the EMMYS....)
- Virginia (+3) against North Carolina. Is everyone now aware that Joe Dailey is no longer the starting quarterback at North Carolina? Not that any of that matters, but I think Virginia's only GETTING points because Dailey's not involved. Pretty please, with sugar on top, take fucking Virginia.
- Hawaii (-17) at UNLV. I'm sure everyone is now vastly aware of how incredible Hawaii's quarterback is. He's more accurate than the Doppler Radar System. Last week, a game they had to win in overtime, was this team's wake-up call.
- LSU (-40) against Middle Tennesse State. That's a lot of points, of course, but understand that even when LSU puts in their 2nd and 3rd stringers, those boys are better than some of the better teams in the nation. LSU looks a lot more loaded than USC. They've got a Reggie Busch/Leinart era USC about them. It can't quit LSU.
- Colorado (+4 1/2) against Florida State. Not a misprint. First of all, is everyone aware at how Bobby Knight-esque this CU coach is? It wouldn't surprise me if he decided to coach this game dressed up as Little Bo Peep. But more importantly, Bobby Bowden looks like Bob Hope in his final years. I'm not even sure if Bowden knows where he's at most of the time. In fact, I'm not so sure Bowden's still alive and his assistants aren't just hanging him around like the dead guy in Weekend at Bernie's. And to make matters worse, without Bowden's leadership, the inmates are running the asylum. Meaning, there are a bunch of assistant coaches trying to grab the brass ring. Lots of sloppy play, penalties, and oh by the way they're going to Boulder. The Bowden death watch is officially on.
- BYU (-7) at Tulsa. I've learned my lesson regarding Tulsa. BYU should win this game 42-17, but then again, I should have tried harder to have sex Cindy Crawford.
- NU (+10) against USC. I still think the Trojans win, but it'll be by something like a touchdown rather than the blowout I originally anticipated. I was so keeping away from this, but unlike Billy C, I learn from history. On year ago, I would have never thought of picking this game this way.
- Chiefs (+13) at Chicago. Insider tip of the week, and I'm STILL taking the Chefs: "That team's (Chiefs) GM and Coach are not on the same page AT ALL!" Yes, it could be an ugly season for the Chefs, but nothing's going to be as ugly as this game, in the rain, in Chicago. Hell, I figure the OVERS were at 13. The Bears could win something like 2-0.
- EMMYS: OK, for the first one I'm going to make you do some research and click on this link to read why this number one is an absolute lock. I thought so going in, but this just confirmed it. Finally, here's your Emmy cheat sheet. Who knew that in all the acting categories, the performer submits just ONE episode? You get nominated based on that one episode along, and then you WIN based on the single episode. So after looking at this of who go nominated and for what "episodes", that helps narrow down the field. All you need to do is put forth the performance of a lifetime in one fucking episode, and that determines who wins? No wonder people are all over the Emmys. Maybe you've seen most of these episodes, maybe not. But the one that our number 1 lock turned in assures he's walking home with new hardware on Sunday night. Again, we won't pick everything, just the one's we think are locks. So head to Vegas, because they let you wager on these sorts of things.
- Best Drama Actor, James Gandolfini
- Best Drama Supporting Actor, Michael Imperriolli
- Best Drama Supporting Actress, Lorraine Bracco
- Best Comedy Series, 30 Rock
- Best Comedy Actor, Alec Baldwin
- Best Comedy Supporting Actor, Kevin Dillon
- Best Drama, Sopranos
By that point in the weekend, we'll probably have to send a thank you card to the makers of xanax. As always, remember, that Makers Mark Whiskey aint gonna drink itself.
LAST WEEK: 1-3
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Monday, September 10, 2007
- High Fidelity (maybe his best)
- The Grifters
- Eight Men Out (one of the Top 5 baseball movies ever)
- Say Anything...
- The Thin Red Line
Ok, he might be right, I'm struggling with 2 more.
So perhaps Cusack is right. Am I missing anything?CLICK TO READ ENTIRE POST!
Saturday, September 08, 2007
- Groves Stadium (where the Demon Deacon's call home) seats a whopping 31,500. It's the smallest venue the Corn has played in since 1971 (the smart money was on a scrimmage I.M. Hipp threw in Billy Barty's back yard in the late 70's, thank God we didn't pick that in the Executive Game).
- "Everyone in Nebraska is related to a Ruud, has a cousin named Gilbert Arenas, or is somehow related to Ahman Green." This according to our play-by-play man Dave Pasch. I don't get it either, but he sure as shit said it, I even had to rewind during the commercial for Jodie Foster's new movie to make sure I got the quote right.
- Dave Pasch has one really, REALLY big nose. It's so big they only showed him once during the telecast, and I'm sure Kate Hudson will look to date Pasch soon.
- The best way to describe Pasch's nose is from Richie Aprile, talking about Chirstopher Moltisanti: "Did you ever notice he's the only motherfucker who can smoke a cigarette in the rain with his hands tied behind his back? That nose is like a natural canopy."
- The ABC/ESPN games now feature some player from each team to introduce the offense and defense. I'm just going to float this idea out here right now as a way to boost interest: Can we just get Al Cowlings to introduce everybody on both sides of the ball, for both teams next week? I'm sure nobody will be offended by this. I don't even think the Goldman or Brown families have a grudge against AC. You never shoot (or cut up) the messenger. An Al Cowings TV appearance will create a huge buzz, since the likes of an Appalachian State upset happening every week appears unlikely.
- Lloyd Carr is still knee deep in gin.
- Since insurance won't pay for these type of things, Billy C celebrated coming into some money but buying the same glasses Stallone used to wear to look smarter...
- ...but he for whatever reason took them off when it was time for Erin Andrews to interview him at the end of the first half. In fact, I think Callahan missed Sam Keller's great 25 yard touchdown pass to give the Corn the lead right before halftime because he was so busy trying to find Andrews. I'm sure Billy C got very worried when he heard that Andrews was interviewing somebody from the Wake Forest basketball staff in the first half.
- Song Callahan listens to in his headset right before kick-off: "Sex as a Weapon" by Pat Benatar. His song selection when it's 4th and short with less than than two minutes to play and it's so painfully obvious you should punt the ball away to pin the opponent back and put a lid on a road win: "It Don't Matter To Me", sung by David Gates and Bread. The song is like audio xanax for Billy C. Who knew? My cousin Gilbert Arenas gave me the inside scoop on this.
- I'd like to hear a story about how Callahan went over to Kevin Cosgrove before going for it on that 4th and short and said, "Let's see that big playbook coming out of your pants stop this offense now fuckface!"
- I thought Callahan was such the history buff. Did he learn nothing from the Cotton Bowl, when he pulled the same shit against Auburn? It worked out OK here, of course, but had Wake Forest even come back and tied the game, Billy C would have been putting his home for sale.
- Here's something fun to look forward to when you have Andre Ware is your color guy for a game. He has an Andre "Hard" Ware segment to go with an Andre "Soft" Ware segment. The good folks at Spyware evidently passed on a sponsorship opportunity.
- A good sign: Marlon Lucky gets better as the game goes on, something we really haven't seen since our cousin/uncle Ahman Green ran for the Huskers. Lucky keeps this up, there's a good chance the Corn will have a decent bowl game that Pat Summerall won't have to announce.
- Another little thing the gambling community might want to know about before kick-off: We had the Big 12 officiating crew at this game, and a few questionable calls went the Huskers way. Not that it would have mattered, but still, it would have been nice to know.
- Terrence Nunn actually becomes a receiver on the road. Six catches, 83 yards. He even caught all the balls that were right on the money.
- I like this Sam Keller. A lot. He's got a charismatic cockiness about him we haven't seen around these parts in ages. You know, the kind of thing Eric Crouch didn't have.
- Something we're just going to have to get used to during every Husker game that's televised this season: A segment on the Arizona State-to-Nebraska history of Sam Keller. Trust me, next week, Brent Musburger is going to act like he's the first person to ever tell the colorful story of Keller before the end of the first quarter against USC.
- Every road game televised will also feature at least five shots of some Husker fans wearing a Corn Cob head with an announcer saying, "Nebraska fans travel about as well as any in the country." Hell, this week, they found some clown amongst the 31,000 with an AUTOGRAPHED Corn Cob hat. Which means somebody doesn't wash their Corn Cob hat, which is just wrong.
- Nebraska is now 2-0 after getting a good road test. If the Billy C era has taught us anything (and yes, it's now officially defined as an "era"), it's that Husker fans should be happy with any win.
- Andre Kitchen Ware couldn't answer the AFLAC Trivia Question (Who Was the Only Nebraska Player to win the Butkus Award?), but he did drop Turner Gill and Mike Rozier References.
- The answer to the AFLAC trivia question is one Trev Alberts. You know, Ahman's Green older brother.
- Oh yeah, the Huskers have some big game at home next week. And much to the delight of the Nebraska football coach who signed a big contract extension this week, I have no idea what to expect. He's a completely different coach on the road. The real thinking here is that since USC had an open date this week, Billy C and the boys didn't want to show them too much as they prepare to hit Lincoln.
- This was the ultimate "trap" game. Even if it was in a stadium more suited for a Division III game, the Huskers get to fly home with the peace of mind that comes with being 2-0. As Ron Jeremy would say on the set of an 80's porn flick, Bring on the Trojans!
Thursday, September 06, 2007
SPECIAL THURSDAY EDITION
The Executive Game is something we're going to play here every Friday, as per the wishes of one Mackenzie and the chagrin of Kevin Bonny (Honestly, I never thought I'd type that name again in my life, let alone put it in a blog. I'm not even sure I spelled his name right, but man if he googles his name....well, you'd never have to worry about meeting up with him at any HS reunions because HE NEVER GRADUATED!). Here are the rules:
- We'll only pick things that we're confident will happen over the weekend (college football mostly, but a slam dunk LOCK next week in the Emmys, the day Dick Cavett or Emmanuel Lewis will die).
- We'll shy away from the NFL unless there's something really luscious, like last year when Peyton Manning was getting points to win at Denver. RARELY will there be an NFL pick, so if you see one here, I'd jump all freaking over that shit. The NFL is too unpredictable and frankly Vegas does plenty of homework on these teams that making any money off the league is impossible.
- To clarify a rumor, I didn't pick Michigan to LOSE last week, I just picked them to not cover, making me some sort of genius for one day anyway.
- We don't need to offer justification for every pick. We might from time to time, but that's just how the EG rolls.
- The Executive Game will have a new picture every week for your viewing pleasure, so even if you don't play, you'll want to go out of your way to see our photos.
- That Makers Mark sitting on your bottom shelf isn't just going to drink itself now, is it?
Our theme this week (which was previously how you can't trust fat coach vs. old coach): How financially security will affect some folks, in particular one Billy Callahan and a subdued Larry Johnson. One is in the NFL, and the other thinks he still is. So you'd think that since both of these fellas just inked some nice guaranteed money and I'm not sure how it's gonna affect either of them, I'd stay away from their games.
The problem with the Huskers last year on the road: They always, even in that bowl game, opened up big time and aggressive and scored, and then played all conservative for the remainder of the game so they could never blow anyone out away from Lincoln. So that could happen again with Billy C, I just don't know how he's gonna be since he's the cock of the walk with that extension. Plus he might play too close to the vest with USC on deck for next weekend.
EXECUTIVE GAME PICKS, WEEKEND SEPT 8
- LSU (-13) over Virginia Tech. From a former LSU player I had lunch with two weeks ago: "I wish I was still playing there, because that's the best team I've ever seen." And that was the most insightful thing he had to offer. The "take it easy on Va Tech" card went away after their emotional home opener.
- Hawaii (-28) over Louisiana Tech. I may just run the table and take Hawaii every week. Deal with it.
- Auburn (-7) over S. Florida. Auburn's pissed off about not blowing away K-State last week. Lots of style points come from the boys this time around.
- NFL: Kansas City (+3) over Houston. Why an NFL game here? This is maybe the most unsexy game on the schedule, but it's so tempting with those 3 points going the Chefs way(never mind the fact the Chefs have a rookie kicker who's already lost his confidence and barely makes half his kicks -- see, I told you Vegas knows right where to put those odds). I love the fact that they've got a stud running back who got to miss all of training camp and almost all of the pre-season (LJ) who, despite getting that guaranteed money he whined about, will still find some way to run with a chip on his shoulder (the fact that Priest Holmes is still around should be plenty incentive, even if he won't play for six weeks). And Houston is still Houston. Why is everyone in love with a quarterback named Matt Schaub?
- "Curb Your Enthusiasm" (pick 'em) over the Sunday Night NBC Football game. We've been without Larry David in our lives for almost 2 years. I finally got into "Flight of the Concords". It's funny, it has it's moments, but it's just visiting this planet. A new season of Curb is a great way to end the Executive Game.
Tuesday, September 04, 2007
Two other things to remember (and I'm just pointing these out):
- Notre Dame gave Charlie Weiss a long-term extension awfully fast (and frankly, I applaud NU for waiting to do this after a few years with Billy C. I mean, it wasn't like they were going to extend his deal after the Corn went 5-6 in 2004.), and I'm guessing right now they're thinking ol' Charlie aint putting the NASTY back in Dynasty anytime soon. Financially and stability wise, this is a good deal for NU and Billy C. Oh sure, if NU somehow beats USC and the Huskers get a BSC bowl, Callahan could become hot property and go Nick Saban. But from where Callahan's career was following that debacle in Oakland, I'm sure he couldn't ink this extension fast enough.
- This is now officially Husker post 66 on our little blog. I tried to make it post #666, but the blogspot people would have none of it.
But there are two movies I have no idea how they missed:
- American Graffiti: I started reading the list from 10 down, and I figured that this one would certainly be ranked #1. It's NOWHERE ON THE LIST! How is this possible? I love Rushmore as much as anyone, but does that movie really exemplify how one felt in high school? Not like American Graffiti does. The premise is simple: It's the last day before Curt Henderson (Richard Dreyfuss) flies away to college. The rest of his friends know it's their last day of freedom too, and things will never be the same after Dreyfuss gets on that plane. No other film comes close to matching the last summer before going off to college like Graffiti. It's set in the early '60's, but it could have worked in any era. How this one isn't in the top 5 is inexcusable. There's no other way around it. Christ, the movie was nominated for Best Picture!
- Ferris Bueller's Day Off: Like Graffiti, the entire movie is set in one day, only this time, it's during the school year, as our hero Ferris (Matthew Broderick at his finest) tries to play the ultimate game of hooky. Everyone knows the story, he gets his sad-sack loser of a friend Cameron (Alan Ruck) and super hot girlfriend Sloane (Mia Sara, who I haven't seen in a movie since, which is a shame because she still looks gorgeous) to skip school on a picture perfect day in beautiful Chicago. I know John Hughes fans are raising their hands right now also nominating Sixteen Candles (an underrated movie that holds up incredibly well, despite the somewhat racist scenes with Long Duck Dong) and The Breakfast Club (also holds up well, but where else did people go to school to spend 8 hours on a SATURDAY for detention?). Bueller's the winner here, because everyone gets that itch their senior year where they want a day to thumb their nose at everyone and go out and play and be the envy of everyone else stuck in class.
Saturday, September 01, 2007
I can't imagine how many times Pat Summerall was sitting at home, staring at his wife during the game and said, "He'd rather be Lucky than Good" about Marlon Lucky. I'm sure Summerall's wife wished he'd start drinking again. I'm sure Pat himself feels the same way. But screw him, he got his liver transplant, my dad didn't. And my dad would have never repeated the line "Better to be Lucky than good" every time Marlon Lucky touched the ball. Either way, big day for Marlon Lucky. I'm a fan of anyone who wears the #5, and I knew there was magic when Lucky chose to change from #20 (which should be retired by the way) to #5. I'm expecting big things from Lucky, as finally it looks like Billy C has confidence in one running back.
No need to look at any stats, but the thinking here is that Sam Keller's going to be a really fucking good quarterback. I can't even count how many bread basket balls that were dropped. Plus, as Dan Fouts pointed out, this is the first Husker QB who commands a huddle since Tommie Frazier. Now if he'd just lose that damn visor. I'm sure nobody's going to be happier to see Maurice Purify next week than Keller, because Terrence Nunn just can't get away from the fact that he's Terrence Nunn.
So what's there to bitch about really? OK, I really wanted to hang 60 on Nevada, something Billy C has yet to do and TO would do routinely in these early non-conference games. No big deal, I'm just pointing it out.
Dan Fouts also wants everyone to know there has yet to be a kick-off return for a touchdown in the Callahan era at NU. Fouts would also like to spoon tonight with Husker kicker Alex Henery, who ironically enough is wearing #20. Which means it's time for the annual rant. Retire #'s 7, 20, and 30 immediately for the three Heisman winners. Throw in Frazier's 15 if you want. You STILL have enough jerseys around for everyone to have their own number. But Johnny Rodgers old number is being worn by a kicker? Granted, it's worn by a kicker Dan Fouts would like to make sweet love to, but still. Just be sure if you're in downtown Lincoln tonight and some old bearded guy asks you where Alex Henery lives, you just run and hide.
I knew it would be fun from the opening moments, when Billy C tried to jump up and touch the sign during the tunnel walk. He looked like George Costanza trying to prove he could jump higher in those new shoes he wanted to impress Jimmy with.
The ESPN -- oops, ABC crew, had Tom Osborne introduce the Husker offense and defense. Meanwhile, Nevada had some overly excited (and not particularly attractive) cheerleader do the same for her team. You sort of knew then we had a blow out in the making.
Another TV highlight: The interview with Joba Chamberlain's dad, complete with his Yankee hat. Bandwagon fan. My favorite moment was when the old man was asked, "What's it like for your son to be sharing a locker room with Rodriguez, Clemens, Mussina and Pettite?" If Derek Jeter was watching at home, I'm sure he pulled an Elvis and shot the TV to death with a glock. If Joba's dad wanted to have some fun, he would have said, "A-Rod won't talk to my boy because he's native American, he's never even seen Clemens, Mussina gets teased all the time, and Pettite? Well, you know what they say about guys with big noses? Big breathe air strips, because that guy aint everything downstairs if you know what I mean." Who knew old man Chamberlain was an usher at the Stadium? Great, now another thing for me to hate the Yankees even more: A bunch of Huskers jumping on the Bronx Bandwagon because Joba has become some cult hero.
Nobody rushes over to a sideline reporter before halftime like Billy C. I swear he looks at the clock when there's 2 minutes left to go and starts figuring out where the cameras are so he knows where to run. Callahan still can't get over what a big deal the Big Red Breakfast is.
Lucky had 233 yards on the ground today, which is always nice. But I was more impressed when I looked at the Omaha World Herald this morning and saw that last year, Lucky caught 323 balls for 345 yards. Not a great average, but catching 323 passes has to be some sort of record now, doesn't it? Fucking typos.
Today though, 96 snaps on offense, and 70 of them were running plays.
In a non-Husker related issue, ESPN is proclaiming today's Michigan loss as the biggest upset in college football history. As Vincent Vega would say, "That's a bold statement."
Somewhere, Owen Wilson is still in a hospital, probably unable to watch or even care about anything that happened in Lincoln from 2:30pm-6pm. It was a nice opener, maybe even something Owen could hang his hat on. We'll learn a lot more next week. Probably not about Owen Wilson, but about the Corn. CLICK TO READ ENTIRE POST!