- "Irving Fryar was on the take during the 1984 Orange Bowl." This one always seems to get lost because it was perhaps the greatest college football game ever (It's definitely Top 5, this can't be disputed) and it contained the signature moment in college football history (Osborne's decision to go for two points and the win even though a tie game would have assured him his first National Championship). I have always believed that Irving was paid to throw the game. Watch this compilation video of the game, starting at the 4:10 mark. Don Criqui, who was sensational calling the action, makes a point of saying "Fryar, who's been dormant..." after Irving finally came through with a great catch on the final drive. But the key evidence is at the 4:40 mark in the video. 2nd and 8, Turner Gill throws a perfect pass to a wide open Fryar in the end zone. The ball is right there. On the replay, it literally looks like he purposely DROPS the thing. And this was the guy who was an All-American and the #1 overall pick in the 1984 draft. Fryar did have 5 catches for 61 yards in the game, but I cannot get past that drop. It gets lost because later in the drive, on 4th and 8, Turner Gill pulls off that unbelievable option to Jeff Smith for the touchdown, and the failed 2-point conversion defines the entire game. And oh by the way, Heisman Trophy winner Mike Rozier got hurt earlier in the game. So in that respect, it doesn't matter whether or not Irving Fryar was involved in some fix. Or does it? Let's just pretend he really was. Is that a critical reason the game was closer than anyone expected? And would Nebraska have scored some more points if Irving was all dialed in, and maybe not even need a 2-point conversion to win? So many things wash over this story. Dean Steinkuhler's fumble-roosky was in that game. Rozier's injury. Gill's incredible game. Fryar has completely gone to Jesus and part of his speaking appearances include him talking about how much trouble he got in, especially after he was drafted by New England. So it's not out of the realm of possibility that he took money to, uhm, not play up to standards. That drop just stands out, and it stinks to the heavens.
- "Eric Crouch quit the team in 1999, only to have Frank Solich drive up to his house in Omaha and promise him the starting quarterback job." Wait a second, Crouch would actually quit something? Since he won the Heisman, how many things has Crouch literally just taken his ball and gone home? Well, a lot. And since leaving Nebraska, Crouch has been branded as a baby. But back to the legend. At the time, the Huskers had Crouch and one Bobby Newcombe in the fold as quarterbacks. Both players were sensational when they ran with the football. In fact, debates went on about who would be a better wingback or return specialist. Newcombe had the QB job during Solich's first year as head coach in 1998, a no brainer of a decision when you consider how well Bobby played as a freshman the year before (granted, not as a quarterback). But he got hurt late in the first game of the year. Enter Crouch, who became highlight material, and Newcombe had surgery following the season. Solich named Newcombe the starting QB right before the 1999 season...and then all of a sudden, announced he would "alternate" the two quarterbacks. It was at this time the rumor started. There is confirmation that yes, Crouch did drive back to Omaha when Solich announced Newcombe was going to be his QB. And yes, Solich really did drive to Omaha "in search of Crouch" to tell him that he would be playing a lot. The rest is history. Crouch really is a big baby. In fact, when Newcombe officially moved to receiver, Eric would deliberately not throw the ball to him. But Eric has a Heisman, despite throwing more interceptions than touchdown the year he won the damn thing.
- "Bill Callahan hated Tom Osborne." True. I mean, there is this little video. Oh, and Billy C did call TO a "crusty old fuck". I'm sure the two men text message each other all the time.
- "Lawrence Phillips didn't play in the first half of the 1994 Orange Bowl because he told TO to fuck off." Well, we've also heard he told him to "go fuck himself" too. What's confirmed: LP ran 13 times for 64 yards and a touchdown. Twelve of those 13 carries were in the 4th quarter, the other was in the third quarter. However, the Huskers DID have a very good running back named Calvin Jones for that game, but he had 9 carries for only 28 yards (and there is that legendary halftime interview that O.J. Simpson of all people did with Osborne, where TO joking told the Juice that "they sure could have used him in the first half" -- how this clip isn't on youtube is beyond me). The Huskers really did need them some LP in the second half after Jones got hurt. But again -- did crazy LP really go F-Bomb on Osborne before the game? Nobody will go on record with this sort of thing, but off the record, reliable sources SWEAR it happened. Of course, Osborne would later stand up for LP after he threw a woman down a flight of stairs. Those crazy college kids. I guess with LP, anything's possible.
- "Bob Devaney would celebrate a home victory by going down to the Sidetrack Tavern and drunkenly sing with the band." Everyone has fun Bob Devaney stories. It's no secret the Bobfather liked to go out and chill with the adult beverages, big deal. Of course, that can't happen in this day and age. An old member of the old "Sidetrack" band confirms that yes indeed, when Devaney was Athletic Director (re: After he was head coach, so this sort of thing was not frowned upon), Devaney would stumble down tot he Sidetrack, disheveled but happy, a couple of ladies under each arm, and belt out a rendition of whatever dirty song they were ready to play. "He was certainly three sheets to the wind," our man says. "He'd stumble up to the stage, we'd worry that he'd embarrass himself and tarnish his legacy. But when he took to the microphone, he nailed every note and flat out owned the audience, every time." This is the sort of thing you have to think Pelini would love to do after winning a National Championship.
Thursday, April 17, 2008
We haven't said much about Husker Spring Football Practice this year because everyone has been all over it, and written the same story. We get it. According to all stories, everything is back on track, Pelni and company are fixing the wrongs of the Billy C era, and Saturday's "practice" is now officially sold out (82,000 plus will pack Memorial Stadium, and people are treating the spring "game" like an actual game day). Nobody's really going to know anything until September, but it's safe to say the team will actually put forth something called effort during games. So with nothing to add to what every media outlet has already reported, it's a fun time to revisit Husker Football Urban Legends, because that's just fun for everybody, and it gives Husker fan something to do from May - July. Here are some favorites, and I know we're missing a bunch, but let's start here: