August 11, 2006

Top 10 Husker losses of all time - #1 (drum roll)


Top 10 Husker losses of all time - #1





January 1st, 1984


Nebraska 0 14 3 13 30
Miami Fl 17 0 14 0 31
@ Miami, FL
A - 72,549


"It's a deep, bad feeling right now," said Smith. "I'm disappointed. We were looking forward to winning." - Husker receiver Jeff Smith after pissing away a slam-dunk National Title.


If you think it's easy to choose just one loss to devastate a fan base, you're wrong. As we've seen over the past 10 days, losses come in a variety of shapes and sizes and draw out a wide range of emotions. When trying to find the one loss that captures it all, you have to look at several factors. First, how bad did it rip the guts out of Husker fans? Two, what were the expectations? Three, what were the stakes of the loss? How did Husker fan react? And finally, what were the ramifications of the loss?

I almost bumped this loss down a notch for one reason: It made Tom Osborne a folk hero for going for the win. There may be some validity to that, although I'd have to think that after playing a tight game like that, even the most hardened coach would want to settle it one way or the other and NOT go for the tie. (Osborne would have been crucified had he kicked it. Don't kid yourself) I'm not quite sure what sort of "guts" it took, especially knowing that had Osborne kicked the extra point, he would have been vilified as a pussy. And if we've learned anything over the past 25 years...Tom Osborne LOVES to know you LOVE him. If he goes for two, he's a hero if he misses it and he's a national champion if he makes it. No loss for him.

What makes this loss sting like no other...according to many Husker fans I polled for this series, was the fact that people forget just how good the 83 Huskers were. Sports Illustrated called them the most dominant amateur team ever assembled. As we saw from our #2 loss all time, they were good even the year before, without losing much of any momentum in 83. Mike Rozier, between hits of his crack pipe, was as tough of a running back as there ever was (winning the Heisman to boot), and Irving Fryer (between taking hits on Rozier's crack pipe) was a freak of nature that played 45 years in the NFL. The offensive line (although sporting more roids than a Barry Bonds Bowflex infomercial) was amazing. The defense was solid. They AVERAGED 547 yards per game, 402 rushing. Everything was in place for the school's first National Title in 13 years. Just look at the numbers that offense rolled up. They scored over 50 points SEVEN times. They were #1 from beginning of the season to the morning of January 1st.

Miami on the other hand was new to all this. Ranked #5 and 11 point underdogs, the 10-1 Hurricanes had last second 17-16 win over Florida to set up the Orange Bowl birth. Shabby by no means, the Canes had finished 5-6 just 3 years before Howard Schnellenberger hit South Beach. The 83 Orange bowl would be the school's first major bowl game since 1951.

What makes this loss so devastating is the fact that the mighty Huskers nearly saved their season and their legacy. Down 31 to 17 with less than 7 minutes to go, the Hicks from the plains hit overdrive. A 1 yard (yawwnn) Jeff Smith dive pulled the Husker to within 7. After a tough defensive stand, Buffalo University's head coach moved the team downfield the way a team that averages 547 yards a game should have. On 4th and 8 from the 24 with their legacy on the line Smith took the option and rumbled 24 yards into the end zone, sending the toothless nation into a state of berserk rarely seen. At that moment, thinking of how to stop America's youth from looking at porn, soon-to-be Congressman Osborne decided to go for two, and solidify NU's place in the record books. SURELY a team that averaged 402 yards rushing PER GAME could pick up 3 measly yards?

Uhhhh....no.

Why Osborne called a rollout pass is beyond me. (Especially one where the Miami defense was sitting in a tight zone.) Smith had been brilliant since taking over for Rozier, why not send him off-tackle behind the best offensive line college football had ever seen? Because Osborne got greedy, that's why. (Don't forget, 7 of NU's points came on the now famous, "Fumbleroosky". Hell, if you can't steamroll your opponents, you may as well run a bullshit trick play?)

Hindsight is 20/20, and Husker fan was left with the longest lasting, the most painful, and most devastating "what if?", knee to the groin in history. Instead of being known as the greatest college football team of all time (An adjective they didn't deserve after the 95 season either), the 83 Huskers will forever go down in history as the greatest college football team ever to piss away a National Title, setting the stage of nearly 12 years of post-season failure and further misery.

The pain was extreme. The stakes couldn't have been higher. The forgotten legacy of a great team was tarnished forever, despite whatever T.O. spin the NU fans like to call it. The Huskers couldn't have pissed it away better. All the makings of the #1 loss in Husker history.

Thanks for checking out the blog and our recap of the top 10 losses in NU history.

See ya Monday when we breakdown NU's 2006 opponents.

AJ

------------------------------------------------------------

Recap

10 - 1996 Texas 37 - NU 27
9 - 2004 Colorado 26 - NU 20
8 - 1992 Iowa State 19 - NU 10
7 - 1997 Missouri 38 - NU 31
6 - 2002 Miami 37 - NU 14
5 - 2003 Kansas State 38 - NU 9
4 - 2001 Colorado 62 - NU 36
3 - 2004 Texas Tech 70 - NU 10
2 - 1982 Penn State 27 - NU 24
1 - 1984 Miami 31 - NU 30

Honorable Mention:
1996 - Arizona State 19 - NU 0
1994 - Florida State 18 - NU 16
2003 - Missouri 41 - NU 24
2005 - Kansas 40 - NU 15
1978 - Missouri 35 - NU 31
1968 - Kansas State 12 - NU 0
1975 - Oklahoma 35 - NU 10
1979 - Oklahoma 17 - NU 14
1989 - Colorado 27 - NU 21

13 Comments:

Blogger Husker Mike said...

The scary thing about the honorable mention list is that it shows you've spent more time studying the Huskers and their history than many of the anonymous folks who write in and blast you...

11:08 AM  
Blogger AJ said...

Hey, I'm a college football fan, and knowledge is power. In order to bash my Husker friends (who spend all day bashing me mind you), I have to be up-to-date and mindfull of everything.

NU has had a very successful program obviously over the years. (As has my team had a shitty program over that time.) In order to survive these arguments, I have to read up on everything and find weaknesses wherever I can.

If it's obsession, it's the obsession of never ever letting them beat me, if anything.

12:28 PM  
Anonymous matty said...

Love it. Although, I'm kinda disappointed that the Texas Tech blowout was #3 and the last Kansas game was only an honorable mention. 70-10 aside, that was one of the more satisfying sports moments of all time, nevermind just concerning the Huskers.

12:59 PM  
Blogger Randy said...

I was waiting for October 6, 1945:


Minnesota- 61
Nebraska- 7
(In Lincoln)

1:40 PM  
Blogger Sam said...

of course, the new #1 will come up 16 September-- when we find out how big of pretenders the Felons really are.

3:06 PM  
Anonymous GFS said...

You Mizzou fans have always been jealous and envious of the Huskers. Your Husker friends may not "beat" you in some ultimately meaningless argument about Husker football history but in the end, Husker football is, historically, vastly better than Tiger football. I can't predict the future but I'm obviously hoping for more of the same.

And why don't you post my comment from yesterday?

-GFS.

3:15 PM  
Anonymous GFS said...

Whoops, never mind and I apologize... you did post my comment. I thought the comments were listed beginning with most recent as I've seen other blogs.

-GFS.

3:22 PM  
Blogger AJ said...

GFS, I publish 99.9% of the comments left. Mostly because it exposes Husker fans for what they are. The only ones I don't publish are direct death threats or posts that are racist/anti-semetic etc.

The only reason I do it is because the Douglas County Sheriff asked me to.

Thanks for visiting.

4:10 PM  
Blogger AJ said...

PS - Nebraska football has been better than Mizzou football over the years?!?

WHAT?!?!

SINCE WHEN DID THIS HAPPEN? I don't believe you.

Thanks again for visiting, and try not to step in the giant pile of sarcasm.

4:12 PM  
Anonymous ChrisWildcatFan said...

awww...I was hoping for KSU 49, NU 13 on this one. or maybe 45-10 in 2004...I mean we were 4-7 that year...that was just funny.

ah well. fifth is a decent finish, and if you had to pick a KSU-NU game that we won, that was the most fun to watch. the thought of an empty memorial stadium with 5 minutes left in the third quarter still brings tears of joy to my eyes.

5:50 PM  
Blogger tjelf said...

It's Fryar.

:-D

3:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

you are a very good writer and i've enjoyed reading your hilarious top 10 husker losses of all time. you should send this in to espn :)

6:57 PM  
Blogger Commish CH said...

Thanks for the list, great memories there. 62-36 was one of the greatest days Ive ever had at a sporting event. Any husker hater is good in my book

10:03 AM  

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