May 22, 2008

A Great Big Bag of Expectations

Do you remember Munchos? I’m not sure why, but anytime we drove a long distance during my childhood, I almost always picked up a giant bag of Munchos for the drive. Ahhhhh, good ol' Munchos. They weren’t flashy. They came in a rather plain metallic red wrapper. Over time, they came in one fantastic flavor: Plain. They didn’t have massive advertising campaigns. No coupons for DQ sundae’s or press-on tattoos hidden inside. No, Munchos were golden salty perfection...everything a potato chip should be.

So why were they so freaking good?

I’ve kicked this question around literally for years; and finally…after nearly three and a half decades of life on this planet, I have figured out the answer.

You see, Munchos are great because you don’t expect much when you eat them. Think about it. You get them at some dirty gas station, usually right next to the Slim Jims, and just below the powdered donut gems. At this particular point, you don’t expect the delicious fried potato perfection that is Munchos; especially in a rusted out shithole truckstop just outside of Salina. But since you’re trolling through a such an establishment at 3am, (And you're 12) your brain is convinced that your only options border on the bland, lame and repulsive.

Yes, despite the strange aftertaste and funky texture of the top of your mouth after eating them, Munchos are the king of gas station chips because of your expectations.


Let’s take a look at this word for a second, since we tend to talk about it quite a bit around here. This morning on a message board, a question was posed of Missouri fans as to whether or not they could handle the pressure of running with the top dogs in all the land in 2008. As a lifelong fan who has taken such proverbial kicks to the nuts as Tyus Edny, Northern Iowa and a long list of disappointments, you might be surprised at my non-holds-barred response in 0.3 seconds of, “Yes.” I personally (as a fan) am ready for my team to hold the giant bulls eye, and quite frankly…I don’t see what the big deal is. I embrace it. I expect it. I've waited a long ass time to hold it. Even though the Tigers are improved, I realize that they are an emerging program with little or no real history. Contrary to what many of you rocket scientists think: My expectations…even for this season…are low.

However, if you want to see the flip side of expectations and the horrific damage they can do, lets turn our attention back to you and the million or so other red-clad Big Red fans who feel it is their biological duty to personally will your team back to glory.

Just as Munchos are an unexpected and satisfying surprise at the gas station, the exact opposite reaction can be said for something so over hyped and overexposed, that it leaves you feeling disappointed and disenchanted. Perhaps this can be equated to an over hyped “National Power” that is going back to it’s “original formula”, yet is still bland, dull and over glorified. In this particular example, let’s call them Fritos.

Fritos are a staple of gas stations and grocery stores everywhere. A former giant in the salty-snack business, this giant brand name snack has tinkered with it’s formula time and time again. Chili Cheese Fritos, BBQ Fritos, Giant Scoop Fritos, West Coast Offense Fritos, 3 Cheese Fritos and then Jalapeno Fritos. Hell, as of late they’ve even put them in circular containers and called them “twists.” (If I wanted to eat fucking "twists", I'd scarf on a pretzel) And although they’ll never be copmletely terrible; the Fritos people...for years...have been trying to hide the fact that their overrated and boring ass product has become dull, bland and predictable. No matter what they do to it, it isn’t going to get any better.
Sound familiar?

So what’s the point of all this?

The point is, Munchos kick ass because you don’t expect much out of them. Their unexpected goodness helps increase the positive snack chip experience. It puts you in a better mood. Each crunch vibrates through your soul as you enjoy each and every unique crumb. Fritos, while good…are NEVER as good as your brain thinks because the expectations are there; the flashy marketing, the billboards…the whole thing. But in the end....

Same goes for College football teams. Those of you expecting 9 win seasons better check yourselves and lower that bar just a little bit. Meanwhile, take your rebuilding process for what it is, and enjoy the little things that surround the college football season:

Opening weekend
A first down
The sound of the band

Why don't you listen to me for once in your lives? Following these guidelines will make all the difference, and will allow you to avoid the inevitable pork rinds that are bound to make their way to your gut by the time late November rolls around.

* Funny to hear the Omaha media today complaining about the Big 12’s TV announcements today. For those of you unaware, only the Nebraska vs. Colorado game is scheduled for television coverage on the ABC family of networks this year. (Of course with the possibility of others if ancillary teams go into the shitter.)

Don't get me wrong, none of this really matters because as I said last year…TV schedules and glowing lights of ESPN never won anything. But alas, it is pretty funny to see you get the ass end of a stick you were so willing to swing around last year.

* Finally, since it’s late May, it must be time for another Husker baseball choke job. I realize the bandwagon has slowed somewhat, and I realize that your team is far from horrible. But with expectations again in play, when are you going to realize that the mediocre express has pulled into the station, and it aint going anywhere anytime soon?

Ahhh well. Consider it karma’s payback for flooding Rosenblatt with Eric Crouch Jerseys during the CWS a few years ago. Nobody deserves a kick in the gut like you do. Congrats.

* Oh and PS, I’m going to shift gears on my greatest Huskers ever segment. Somebody reminded me today that we are 100 days from the start of the season, and damnit…we’ve got other stuff to talk about.

Stay tuned.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

OHHH I love the truth AJ. And Husker fans will never feel the joy of finally making good after being in the depths of despair. Like you said they think it is their royal birth rite to win games. All the while not seeing it's not 1997 and the landscape of college football has changed.

The pie is being sliced thinner and the Arms race has geared up, everyone is putting money into their program now and wants a seat at the adult table.

Husker fans just don't see this they think nothing has changed, and that it will be as easy has hiring a new coach to return to their former glory. Now I don't doubt that they will make the slow climb and be a force again, but the years of teams just rolling over is long past gone.

They won't just show up and win 10 games like the days of old. This will only lead to more dissatisfaction and from the fans.

While us Mizzou fans will have a grounded out look because of the pain we have endured over the years. We will keep things in perspective.

8:36 PM  
Blogger AJ said...

That's exactly what I was trying to explain here.

Oh, that and I love Munchos.

9:28 PM  
Blogger NEBforCU said...

Does cookie monster scare the shit out of you in this commercial or is it just me?

11:44 PM  
Blogger NEBforCU said...


11:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

How can there be a choke job concerning Nebraska baseball? Not picked to finish any higher than sixth in the Big Twelve and it's not like they were the fav coming in! I think you would have to give that to A&M. Nebraska fans have been blogging for days now that no matter what else happens, it's been a good year. By the way do you like Alex Gordon? or is it kinda one of those things where you cheer for the Royals but you just hope he goes 0-fer?

10:35 AM  
Blogger Husker Mike said...

Heck, after the way last season went, I'd be happy seeing an opponent have to punt!

12:47 PM  
Blogger AJ said...

I don't like Alex Gordon.

I tolerate him.

1:04 PM  
Blogger bornred said...

Does cookie monster scare the shit out of you in this commercial or is it just me?

Not nearly as much as the thought of you operating a motor vehicle.

Isn't it about time for you to change your blogger id to nebformizzou or nebforku?


PS. You should introduce yourself to the HTML anchor tag

PPS. I'm a fan of the Chili Cheese Fritos, and my expectation is to get massive heartburn 2 hours later... which is pretty much the same thing that happens after watching the Husker defense. For that reason alone, I never eat Fritos during a game...

3:17 PM  
Blogger AJ said...

Chili Cheese Fritos are OK, but the 3rd and 4th bites are never as good as the first. They just tend to get too old too fast.

Now Doritos..that's a different story, however it depends on which one you get.

Plain Nacho Cheese? ZZZZZZzzzzzzz

But the Blu Cheese and Ranch? As addictive as Heroin.

7:43 PM  
Blogger bornred said...

I've never tried the Blu Cheese Doritos, nor Heroin for that matter, but if they are as good as you say, I might give both a shot this weekend.

I like the Lays Cheddar Cheese and Sour Cream as well, but now that I think about it, they have about the same staying power as the Chili Cheese Fritos..... I gotta expand my snacking repertoire.

I'm thinking maybe Munchos....

9:28 PM  
Anonymous Voice of the Midwest said...

Aj, thanks for the welcome. I love your work and have viewed your blog many times. It is always good for a laugh. Maybe because I lived in Omaha and saw exactly what you are talking about.

Keep up the good work!

10:09 PM  
Blogger Jeremy said...

Missouri, I believe, is the only team that refused to play Nebraska because one of the Huskers was black. I guess I'd rather be myopic than racist.

I don't have high expectations at all. I'd probably be happy with a winning record; in fact, I'd be happy if the only team the Huskers defeated was Missouri.

9:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


You had to go back 116 years for your racism example? The date was 1892; the player was Flippen. I suspect Mr. Flippen suffered prejudice from his own teammates and fans at the time, given the date.

I'm looking forward to the MU/NU game if only to see Bo implode.



1:25 PM  
Anonymous MJ said...

While I loathe all things Husker, it needs to be pointed out that former Mizzou Coach Don Faurot would not allow K-Stater Harold Robinson, the first Black football player in the Big 7 conference, to play when the Wildcats visited Missouri. After KSAC coach Ralph Graham threatened to take his entire team home Faurot relented. Who knows what his motivation was for not wanting Robinson to play, maybe he was concerned with safety, who knows, but history shows that he relented, and history shows that Mizzou named their stadium after him. Not exactly shying away from the bad race relations rep that the state has.

10:09 AM  
Blogger AJ said...

No state is immune from racisim.

To argue otherwise on any behalf is silly.

2:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

AJ, Can you please post the scores baseball tourney once it starts up? I have a feeling that UC-Irvine will wipe the floor with them similiar to that of Missouri, Oklahoma State, and the various others that actually have pitching staffs and don't mind playing away from home.

I hope the come to the realization that they were playing better than expected yet still suck on the road.

2:55 PM  
Blogger jeffro144 said...

Seriously. Any fool who wants to point out an act of racism from the 1930's, 40's or 50's, needs to get a clue. Faurot's career ended in 56'. This preceded the civil rights acts of 64’ & 68’. Hell the voting act wasn't passed until 65'. Jeremy, Nebraska is not a safe haven from racism. Forget what it was like 50, 75 or 100 years ago. It is full of Racist NOW. Trust me on this one. I live in NE and have been a victim more than once. As for MJ - I don't know where you live but given your knowledge of K-state I will assume Kansas. The home of Brown vs. board of education, where your state capital school system was taken to fed. Supreme Court because of segregation of blacks from white in Topeka schools. Please get off your little soap boxes. As AJ said, there is nothing more foolish that could be said.

3:01 PM  

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