The 12 Steps of Ticked Off Husker Fan
Shocking as all this may not be, Husker fan is really no different. Some of my favorite comments and e-mails are things like, "You don't know a damn thing about Husker fans." or "You pretending to know anything about Husker nation is laughable."
As your fair-and-balanced correspondent covering all things red and myopic, let me give you a little timeframe of exactly what is going to happen here in Planet Soybean over the next few days and weeks. Many of you are familiar with the 12 step program associated to alcohol addiction. The following is my own special timeline that I've observed most dedicated Husker fans partaking in after a difficult loss...or win over a really really shitty team, as is the case here.
Stage 1 - Disbelief
Yes, that was Ball State you struggled with, and yes they ran up 600+ yards on your home field. This was not Wednesday night at your mom's house playing Xbox. This was not your fantasy football league. This was real. At least you don't think it was.
Stage 2 - Reflection
Your mind quickly goes through any of the 185 other games you have memorized in your brain where your team looked this bad, yet still pulled out a decent season. Example - Kansas's 2006 OT struggle against the Hicks at Memorial Stadium.
Stage 3 - Communication
Since you can't think of a more crappy performance in back to back games, you have to ask other Husker fans if they remember such a horrible effort. This process continues until you either run out of friends, or have completely convinced yourself that Maine was actually a tough and worthy opponent.
Stage 4 - Realization
Since everybody around you is still wearing red coveralls and a giant yellow foam hat, you now realize this is not a dream.
Stage 5 - Conspiracy Theory
This DOES NOT happen to the Huskers. This CAN NOT happen at Nebraska, especially with an NFL coach and a 4.85 average star on Rivals. You begin scouring the internet to check and see if any recent point shaving scandals involve d-coordinators with the initials KC from the Midwest.
Stage 6 - Anger (This is where you are now)
Somebody has to pay. Obviously there is a rotten apple in the basket, and that person needs to be singled out NOW. It doesn't matter if it's a highly paid member of the coaching staff, or a legacy middle linebacker who's entire family has given their life to making your Saturday's worth living. It doesn't make a damn bit of difference. That person needs to go. Not tomorrow. Not now. Yesterday, regardless of affiliation or history.
Stage 7 - Analyze
Since members of the coaching staff are obviously borderline mentally retarded, you and your friends need to find the root of the problem. Whether it's at a South Omaha church or in your buddy Zeek's storm shelter, you OWE it to yourself and your fellow fans to find out where the breakdowns took place.
Stage 8 - Rationalize
After staring at game film for 35 hours straight, you have obviously found the root of the problem. The blackshirts will return to dominance if they only played cover 2 on 3rd and less than 4...but ONLY in the 1st half and ONLY if they are defending the north end zone.
Stage 9 - Deliberation
Your cover 2 theory goes head-to-head with hundreds of thousands of other gomers on a variety of Husker message boards, blogs and radio call in shows.
Stage 10 - Embrace
After 24-36 hours of excuse making and breaking down various arguments within a variety of electronic mediums, Husker Nation begins to morph back into one. Much like the metallic goo in Terminator 2, Husker fans slowly regather strength.
Stage 11 - Defend
Now that Husker nation is together as one, the red locusts begin to fight off attacking pray (ie - other Big 12 fans) on the validity of their own performance. This normally is done by deflecting rational thought ("Ball State is actually REALLY GOOD and would have beaten a lot of teams") and changing subjects quickly and erratically. (Our defense may suck, but Gary Pinkel lost to Troy in 2005)
Stage 12 - False Reality
By gameday the following week, the previously dissected problems are washed away in a sea of excuses and disconcert. Those Husker fans that actually DO remember the previous week's defensive issues return to square one by concentrating on things that really matter, like Tunnel Walks, giant scoreboards and the fact that Lil Red is going to be inducted into the mascot Hall of Fame.
POWER POLL - Week 5
1 - Missouri (4-0): IDLE
Gary Pinkel's team has been extremely good in September over the past few years. Now the fun starts. A thumping of Nebraska would be a huge confidence builder going into Norman the following week. A poor showing on 10/6 and a beat down to the Sooners would be a serious blow to a team that has a long history of mid-season mental issues.
2 - Kansas State (2-1): at Texas
We're going to know a hell of a lot about Ron Prince's team by Saturday night.
3 - Kansas (4-0): IDLE
Kansas takes on their toughest foe of the year in IDLE. No indication yet on how long Mark Mangino plans to play his starters.
4 - Colorado (2-2): vs Oklahoma
Dan Hawkin's club can make a HUGE statement by hanging with the Sooners this weekend. The Buffs did look salty on defense last week, shutting out Miami of Ohio. Hey wait a second....didn't they beat Ball State on the road?
5 - Iowa State (1-3): at Nebraska
The Clones struggled early, but have shown signs of life lately. A date with one of the worst defenses in the country gives them an excellent opportunity to turn the corner.
6 - Nebraska (3-1): vs Iowa State
Remember 3 weeks ago, when some of you were actually talking BCS bowl? 600+ yards? Ball State? It would be one thing if it was some sort of fluke, but by all accounts, the better team didn't win Saturday. The Husker's season and simple existence hangs in the balance with a September bowl-game-like match up with mighty 1-3 Iowa State.
1 - Oklahoma (4-0): at Colorado
The Sooners finally leave the state as they face their toughest foe yet. No way does Colorado have the horses to hang with OU's offense...but the home crowd, altitude and ability to actually tackle people (unlike Tulsa) will make the game close for a while.
2 - Texas (4-0): vs Kansas State
The Horns have separated themselves from the crappy and vastly overrated bottom half of the South. The only question now is...will they be looking past K-State the week before the Texas State Fair?
5a - Texas A&M (3-1): vs Baylor
I'm sorry. How do you not give the ball to Lane in Miami and pound away at the mediocre defense of the Canes on national TV? I like the Aggies a lot, but when you couple that performance with the head-scratching OT win over Fresno (at home)...you gotta question what's under the hood there.
5b - Oklahoma State (2-2): vs. Sam Houston State
What? Davey Crockett University wasn't available? I'm sorry, that article was dumb but Mike Gundy is an idiot for acting like such a crybaby. Anybody else be shocked if OSU struggles?
5c - Texas Tech (3-1): vs Northwestern State
Yeah Coach Leach, I'm sure that defense will be MUCH better now that your players have to learn a whole new scheme in mid-season.
5d - Baylor (3-1): at Texas A&M
Has anybody noticed that Baylor has 3 wins and has scored 110 points in 3 games? They're still Baylor I realize but that's gotta be worth something.