September 14, 2007

Must Wins and Moral Victories - A Beatdown Story

Man am I tired. I must have been asleep a long long time, because for some reason..while I was out cold, Nebraska football returned to the National spotlight. Hmmmm..did I miss something? OK, I’ll give you the fact that USC and Nebraska are familiar names, and yes I’m well aware that ESPN is going to pimp beyond reason whatever game they or ABC is televising this week. I get it. I get it. I get it.

But here’s what I don’t get.

Was there some sort of “signature win” that I missed over the last couple of years? I only ask that, because I was under the impression that “moral victories” don’t mean a whole hell of a lot to a program that (allegedly) has won five national titles. (Three split). OK, you beat Colorado when they went on a complete and total slide that saw them get outscored 154-3 in their final three games. OK, you beat a 5 loss Michigan team a couple of years ago. I may have been mistaken, but aren’t they quite a mess right now? Didn’t Kirk Herbstreet call that game the “worst officiated game I’ve ever seen”?

So that leaves WHAT big win? A&M on the road? Missouri last year at home? Unranked Wake Forest this year with a third-string QB and his single-digit QB rating along imposing throng of 2000 strong? Seriously, THAT’s what you base all this on? Was it the way you turtled up and played opossum against USC last year? Was it the horrible play calling against Oklahoma that couldn’t even net you 8 points with 900 drives starting in OU territory? Is a last second fumble against Texas at home an “unfortunate incident” or a complete and total choke?

These are the things that I’m struggling to understand, especially in lieu of a complete and total beatdown biblical proportions coming up on Saturday. Don’t get me wrong..I understand you WANT to be back. I understand you NEED to be back…but hyping up something that isn’t really there is something that is only going to get you hurt as a fan in the long run.

So is this a “make or break” game for the Hick nation? Let’s say you play it safe again this weekend and end up losing by 10-14. (In other words, not a win, but a respectable showing). Are you simply happy to stay with the #1 team in the country at home? Didn’t you used to actually BEAT top 5 teams at home back in the day? And correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t the whole big damn thing a waste anyway if you don’t beat Missouri (ie – win the North) on the road in 22 days?

If you ask me, you people know the answer to this great big question, but are too afraid to admit it. You’re nowhere close to being “back”. However, NONE of you want to admit the fact that if you aren’t “back” by now…when is it going to happen? Didn’t you fire a guy for going 9-3? Now, after 4 years what do you have? A home win over Missouri last year? A road win against unranked Wake? What the hell do you have to show for it.

This game this weekend for you certainly IS a must-win game for you in every way shape or form. Not because it stops you from possibly winning the North (snicker), but it will show 15 million people that you are no more closer to being “back” than you were in late 2005. This is exactly the reason the GRF © played it safe last year. You simply can not afford a bad showing. You may not need a win to survive, but anything short than a good effort will spell absolute disaster for your entire program in terms of national perception. This wouldn’t be THAT big of a deal to most former powers, but as we already know…NOTHING is more important to you than what the rest of the nation thinks about you.

So what do I think is gonna happen?

Nothing really would shock me here. Again, I’m a big believer in home-field advantage, and let’s face it…you did have a guy kick a ball over his head from the two yard line with :00 left on the clock to win a game once. However, I think it’s pretty damn obvious that you don’t have the horses to hang with USC. (or Texas, or Oklahoma or Missouri or A&M or even Colorado for that matter) However, the GRF© is just wiley enough to play it close and pull out whatever he can. If anything, he has proven to be the master of the moral victory, which let’s face it: Moral victory is just about all you can really hope for right now.

I will say this however. If God forbid, the hicks shock the world and Lincoln burns in wake of a monumental upset, the buildup, both on this blog and in cyberspace, will be unlike anything we have ever seen for the next 21 days. The true “measuring stick” lies on a shaggy patch of turf in central Missouri in three weeks, and even a beatdown to a group of NFL prospects isn’t going to change that.

I’d wish you all good luck…but I really hate your guts and I wouldn’t mean it anyway.

USC by 24

AJ

21 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

AJ,

I'm really disappointed. Despite this entry slamming NU once again and pointing out the futility of playing USC, it was done without a great deal of your usual creativity and verve.

Let me briefly address the issue of moral victory as I think there is only one way a moral victory can be meaningful in Saturday's game (or for a game in which any team is a decided underdog to the greatest team in the universe). The only thing that matters is how well NU players and coaches perform on Saturday - a win is unlikely, but expecting the best from your team and applauding them for a job well done is my definition of a true fan.

Conversely, if NU plays or is coached poorly and we still manage to lose by a small margin - that is not a moral victory - that is a kick in the nuts because then the perception across the nation will be that our coach is unable to win big games or get the team prepared to win big games. And as a fan, I would not blame them.

Personally, I have little invested in this game (but would love a win of course). I would trade a loss tomorrow for winning the B12 North (and if NU could completely humiliate Mizzou on their home field, this blog would be even more fun) and only losing one conference game.

Many historically great national programs have suffered big losses at one point or another, inlcuding NU, USC, ND, Michigan, LSU, OU, etc., so this game is relatively meaningless in the grand scheme of things.

Having said that, how could anyone, like you, who seems to despise the recruiting rankings fascination that exudes college football, root for USC?

After all that, I hope that we can give Pete a loss for his birthday.

GO BIG RED!!!!

JH

P.S. I heard that for this week's game, Mizzou was replacing its ole (o lay, not old) defensive scheme with the equally effective rythmic gymnastics approach designed to baffle the opposition with ribbons and homo-erotic dancing. Any truth to the rumor?

11:55 AM  
Blogger AJ said...

Wait a second...I'm supposed to root AGAINST USC because they get all the recruits?

Ummmm...it's not the recruits I don't like, it's the idiots who think it's such a big friggin deal.

However, I do love how the "it doesn't mean that much anyway" spin is already started. It's a big game...it's a huge game...especially if you get blasted. GRF can not afford to get stomped at home. I don't care if it's USC, LSU or the Indianapolis Colts. You would think by year 4, he could hang with anybody...especially with the resources given to him.

If he keeps it close...THAT's when it doesn't mean anything. You're frickin Nebraska. You used to be good. You're supposed to keep it close at home.

The far bigger test comes on 10/6. That's when the final verdict will be read.

12:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

USC isn't nearly as good as you think they are.

The Power of Red rolls.

12:36 PM  
Blogger Husker Mike said...

Why is ESPN promoting this game so much? Simple...what other game would you pimp?

Tennessee at Florida? Probably 2nd best game of the day.
Notre Dame at the Weasels? Bahahahaha!
Florida St at Colorado? Phew!
Alabama/Arkansas? In the south, perhaps.

Let's face it.. it's a week with a bunch of stinky games...

12:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Holy crap - I have finally found someone in Nebraska I can relate with....not the Mizzou part, but all the hate being heaped on NU. I have never understood how anyone can have the impression that NU has classy fans. I went to a game 4 years ago and have never been heckled so horribly...a petite woman who was cheering her team (but not obnoxiously). And I had insults hurled from all sides - old men, young men...even their 7 year old kids. And no one around me acted as if anything out of the ordinary was happening. Complete madness. I do know some fans who aren't assholes like the ones I sat around, but they people seem to be the minority.

1:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

hahahahaha

"the idiots who think it's such a big friggin deal"

like Pete Carroll?

you are an idiot

JP

1:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

AJ, Why wouldn't you want NU to win this game? Why would you be rooting against the Big 12? That is just stupid. Wouldn't it be a lot better if NU has beaten USC when Mizzou rolls the 'skerz?

1:36 PM  
Anonymous Tiger gary said...

"...The only thing that matters is how well NU players and coaches perform on Saturday - a win is unlikely, but expecting the best from your team and applauding them for a job well done is my definition of a true fan...."

hummm, I hear a noise that seems be getting louder.....ahhhhh... the sound of "Nub spin", comments on on a program now resembling "The Little Engine That Could"...(I think I can, I think I can)

We may not win Saturday....but we have the best fans?

Huskerh8tr, the Bill OReilly of Corn and his Nub No Spin Zone lays it out perfectly - 10/6 matters (actually this Sat does too, no matter how fans want to spoin it)

1:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

AJ,

Yes, that is what I said - You seem to hate all the fuss over 4 and 5 star recruits and which team has more of those than any other over the last five years? USC of course. I am pretty sure they make a big deal out of their stellar recruiting.

Let me clarify, this is a HUGE game for NU - how can it not be when it is against a #1 ranked team that is currently enjoying a five year run nearly equal to NU's 60-3 run in the 90s.

However, it is my opinion that it is still not as important overall as winning the B12 North and playing to play in a BSC bowl.

At some point soon, I do expect that anything less than a National Championship will be a disappointment. However, I do not think that NU has returned to that level of play...yet.

I repeat - playing well is what matters most. Very few expect NU to win, so my point was that if NU plays well and there are not blatant coaching errors, very few will be convinced of anything other than that NU is close to being "back".

I hate that NU is where they are at the moment - where Mizzou is actually relevant to our season, but the fact is that many things have changed in college football...and I will give you that Mizzou and other historically poor football programs are much improved. As a fan of college football in general, that is great.

But...I still can't stomach losing to programs that have less "resources" That is unacceptable.

Why no comment on my defensive strategy question?

JH

2:17 PM  
Blogger AJ said...

If you took the personal Husker-hating elements out of my perception of this game..and just made me plain-old AJ the Mizzou fan....i would STILL not want NU to beat USC.

Pretty obvious the two schools fight for local recruits, and the LAST thing Mizzou needs is Nebraska to play the "we beat the best team in America" card. And trust me..even if USC went 1-11 this year, Nebraska would use that card, and use it often.

That being said..this is a nice measuring stick game for NU and they simply can not afford to get blown out.

But this game pales in comparison to falling behind 2 games with Missouri. Then again..Pederson said he wouldn't surrender the conference to Texas and Oklahoma..he didn't say anything about Mizzou.

We shall see.

PS - JP cracks me up

2:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Tiger Gary,

So, what you are saying Gary, is that what a good NU fan should do is complain about their team even if they play well in defeat to a team that nobody - including the brilliant AJ - give NU a chance in hell to beat?

I personally choose to applaud young men who compete to the best of their abilities - no matter the outcome. Maybe you don't and if so, I feel sorry for the Mizzou players who have to rely upon fans like you for support.

It is a good thing NU is now relegated to being the "little engine that could" because that has helped Mizzou win a title right? Oh wait...actually it hasn't.

So, as bad as we have been since Callahan took over, Mizzou has still been even worse...now that is funny!

Following that logic, Mizzou will apparently never win another title - I feel better now that I can imagine the empty and unfulfilled life you must lead as a Mizzou fan.

JH

P.S. What chance would you give Mizzou, at home, against USC if Mizzou were playing them this Saturday?

3:02 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"I can't stand loosing to a team that has less recources" Well we can thank the Big 12 office for that one. "A confrence benefits as long as it traditional powers remain strong." -Joe Castiglione OU ad. I love the Major League baseball mentality. Let's make sure OU, UT, A&M and Nubbie is on TV every week, give them the money and that draws fans to our conference. I love how fans in Nebraska have all the recources with their massive population base.

Also, I would love Mizzou to play USC, can you say track meet. I would love to see how USC tries to defend against Mizzou. Sorry to those of you who are offended by the track meet comment but I'm just not into the 3 yards and a cloud of dust thing.

4:32 PM  
Blogger bornred said...

Is this a big game? Fuck ya.. Anytime you are ranked (oh shoot, sorry, that wasn't meant as a dig) and get to play the #1 team in the country (damnit, sorry again, that wasn't a dig either) at home in front of a prime time national audience (fuck, I know this looks bad, but that wasn't a dig, either) it's big. As far as our season goes though, it is just a measuring stick game and won't have any bearing on our year (c'mon, do you really think any of feel that we are a contender for an NC yet?) as the conference games are more important (yes, in this context Mizzou is more important than USC, but then again, so is ISU, so....)
tiger gary, you must be excited about getting the opportunity to play Western Michigan and Illinois State, I mean, c'mon, surely these are featured matchups with national attention on them and will be good measuring stick games, as well. I hear the Gateway conference is this year's WAC...

6:14 PM  
Blogger AJ said...

Oh fuckin please. You scheduled USC when they were 7-5. Wake was 4-7. You just so happened to schedule them on an up cycle. Kinda the opposite when you scheduled Iowa and Notre Dame when they were decent and ended up 1-10 and 5-6 between then.

I can't believe a dumbass fan of a team who scheduled MAINE 2 years ago (and struggled) is talking shit about schedules anyway. Who fucking cares...you're gonna get your hole pounded tomorrow night, and you'll wish you had Illinois State on teh schedule.

It just so happened Illinois and Ole Miss are toward the down end of a cycle. Not a g*d damn thing you can do about it. If Va Tech goes into the shitter this year..what the fuck does your schedule look like next year?

That's a stupid post. And to think..I actually had some faith in you for a while there.

Guess not.

7:12 PM  
Blogger Big Head said...

AJ-

The optimism for these inbreds comes from beating two bowl teams from '06. Wake had their intramural QB in and the Huskers squeaked one out. But the big when came when they beat a battle tested bowl team from 2006 in Nevada. You know who else beat a battle tested bowl team from 2006? Baylor (Rice).

Take your USC beatdown like a man, jagoffs.

8:44 PM  
Blogger bornred said...

Whoa... easy

I'm just playin'... I've read TB, I know how much of a debate this is over there.

Note to self, shit may only be flung in one direction.

I'll go play somewhere else...

9:40 PM  
Anonymous Mrkaline (mark in Indy) said...

AJ, we get the new boxer puppy today!! We'll be home in time for kick-off. I'll have my Nebraska gear on, rooting for NU to pull the upset. However, I'll probably see my puppy and NU do the same thing tonight, take a dump on the carpet. USC 37 - NU 14

8:41 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Easy AJ...you are gonna burst a vessel. Reality will be realized this evening by 815. That the Husker Nation...(Nation...a term ascribed to indigenious tribes - puts a whole new meaning to red...but hey...it sells T-shirts) is mediocre at best...Callahan is an overpaid joke and should be deported...and that Husker fans will finally get to see a team that actually uses a West Coast Offense...etc...etc...

The Trojans will devour the Huskers this evening. Speaking of devouring...did I say I eat well this time of year? Husker Myopia buys me many prime steak dinners. Hospitals must issue blinders to all babies born in this state. You need to use this incurable disease to your advantage.

Husker Football died with Devaney.

11:10 AM  
Blogger AJ said...

Randy, lighten up. I don't even remember what I/you said. Who cares.

Mr.Kaline..good to see you my friend.

1:09 PM  
Blogger AJ said...

Let the record show...I was nearly DEAD ON about the 24 point spread, until the USC ball boys posing at their 5th string Defense gave up 900 yards in the final 5 minutes.

Fuck.

11:56 PM  
Anonymous SDHusker said...

Looking forward to a new story this week AJ! Ne sure to hammer us hard on ISU being a poor team, then we can talk about the TU/MU beat down a bunch!

And please Missouri fans, don't slam those locker doors shut so hard the season is not over yet. Your still the best in a weak North division and will get a revenge shot at Texas, maybe.

1:22 PM  

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