- 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.