Feel the Hate
A pillar of disdain and rage set upon a backdrop of hype, history and arrogance. As we stated in this very blog nearly one year ago, the college football landscape has changed significantly since the grainy, black-and-white newsreel footage days of Scott Frost, Kirk Farmer, Tommie Frazier, Kent Skornia and Eric Crouch. Gone are the triple digit point spreads, the pathetically supercilious pity claps and blind idiotic faith that leads a couple million fans through the darkness of the typical Nebraska Autumn.
Yes, hate week is many things to many people. To you, perhaps it’s just another first-weekend-of-October filled with big games, big upsets (pffffft) and SEC hype. To others it may be yet another attempt for me and others to create drama around a game played by two programs; a has been and a never-was.
Yet to me, hate week is so much more. It’s more than looking ahead, and it’s more than just two rival teams facing off on a 120 yard patch of carpet in the middle of a shithole state that has so little going for it…it’s entire identity is based upon a college football program that hasn’t done squat in 6 years. To me, it is extremely personal and every bit as real as that "Crouch for Heisman" your Stetson-wearing, Dove hunting wife has tattooed on her lower back.
You see...Hate Week brings about the feelings of yesterday and smashes them against the cold hard reality of today. In this particular case…as it did last season…hate week brings me to you…not just in commentary and sarcasm, but in full and living color. Just as last season…your long and painful drop to rock bottom is fully underway, and I intend to remind you of every pity clap you ever gave me….every snide-ass comment you ever made…and every ridiculous arrogant prediction that has come out of your mouth.
But if last year wiped your program off the map…what does this year bring? What is even the point of getting all excited for a game where…if you saw Va Tech last night…is going to carry all the drama and excitement of a trip to Harold Warp's Pioneer Village? What is there POSSIBLY left to prove before I simply shut this whole movement down and declare sweet sweet victory?
Because there is one more door to smash down, that's why. Despite the glowing aftermath, one last hurdle remains before the entire balance of power transformation is 100% complete. Winning in Lincoln…something that hasn’t been done in 30 years…would represent the end of the journey; the final nail in a coffin that has been slammed shut for quite some time. Total victory will be Missouri fans like me, standing over your program’s nearly dead body…desperately wheezing for every last ounce of breath, moments before the first sub 2:00 scoring drive early in the 1st quarter. Sporting a giant spike and cross, my boyhood team is about to make one last thrust into your heart…once and for all murdering the ghosts of the past.
What ghosts? What's the big deal you ask? Need to be reminded of your past greatness? Ok, I'll play that game. Here are some of my Lincoln favorites:
1982 – A thinned out, yet 5th ranked Husker team squeaks by the Tigers in Lincoln. Turner Gill gets knocked on his ass mid-way through the game, but then some 5th string assclown named Bruce Mathison (Who?) took the Hicks 70 yards in 11 plays with 4:45 left to play and seal the victory.
1984 – 6th ranked Nebraska, fresh off their choke job to Miami the previous year, Down 16-10 at the half, Mizzou was threatening when some Marc Munford person picked off a pass and went 57 yards for the TD. Mizzou couldn’t overcome the 23-10 deficit late, and fell again. The mighty Husker offense was held to less than 200 yards…bad news for Mizzou? They had 111. (Yes, one hundred and eleven…yards. Yes, total. )
1988 – 5th ranked and 7-1 Nebraska is down 18-17 mid way through the 4th in Lincoln when Steve F’ing Taylor of all people throws an 82 yard PASS on 3rd and 22 to some copier salesman named Todd Millikan. A field goal with 8:24 left took the lead, and another late TD sealed the victory. Mizzou would go on to a thrilling 3-8 season.
1990 – Coming 7 days after the infamous “5th down game” against Colorado in Columbia, Mickey Joseph, one of the worst Husker QB’s in modern history ran for 9000 yards as the 7th ranked hicks ran up 622 yards of offense…500 of them on the ground. The Huskers would win 69-21 as Mizzou would eventually fall to 4-7 on the season.
1991 – My first game ever at Memorial Stadium saw the Tigers take a 3-0 lead early. 63 points later, the 9th ranked Hicks would steamroll the Tigers on their way to 681 yards of total offense….most of which was gained by the 3rd quarter.
1993 – 5th ranked Nebraska stomps on Mizzou in Lincoln 49-7, out gaining the Tigers 539 to 172. Jeff Handy had an outstanding day throwing the ball for Missouri, going a Joe Montana-like 15 of 23 for 104 yards. The Tigers would lose 3 of their last 4 that season, finishing a stellar 3-7-1.
1995 – Nebraska 57 – Missouri 0
1996 – Nebraska 51 – Missouri 7
1998 – A Cinderella Mizzou’s best shot in recent memory to upend the Monte Christo-led Huskers falls in a giant pile of shit in the south end zone, as MU wide-out John Dausman drops a pass in the chest that would have set up the game tying extra point with no time remaining. Monte…fucking…Christo? Seriously? Huskers 20- Mizzou 13.
2000 – Top ranked Nebraska fights off a spunky Kirk Farmer behind the clipping-fueled returns of Bobby Newcombe. Mizzou actually out gains the Huskers 491 to 484, but to no avail. Huskers 42 – Tigers 24.
2002, 2004 and 2006 – Neither team is ranked in all 3 games, with the Huskers winning each. 2006 is punctuated with Chase Daniel firing the ball all over the place to the delight and pig squeals of 78,000 overall wearing fans. Despite racking up 220 yards in the second half, NU rides 4 Mizzou turnovers to a 34-20 lead..providing Bill Callahan with his biggest win of his short career.
And there you have it. Of all the jinxes, kicked balls, 5th downs and more…winning in Lincoln remains the last major hurdle facing the average Missouri fan. With history so near, and the point spread so wide, thousands of angry gold-clad fans will invade the cement toilet on 10th street this Saturday…hoping to witness the end game. It will be merciless. It will be glorious. It will be a lifetime in the making.
And before you hit me with USC/Florida/Georgia predictions...the odds are that there will be no overlooking. There will be no peeking past Saturday to a showdown with suddenly good Oklahoma State at home the following week. No, the average Missouri fan,…pain still lingering in his heart and sweet sweet revenge rattling around his brain…will be prepared to take full advantage of the situation.
There is no turning back the hands of time. There is no pulling the covers over your head after each Chase Daniel completion. You will be forced to sit…and watch…and soak in the payback of 30 years...all from the comfort of your favorite wooden slab you've called home 8 times a year. Yes, you and your fellow fans will have no choice but to let us enjoy our moment…our one final death-blow into the staggering former champion that tormented us for so long.
For those of you with some vacation left at work..now would be a pretty good time to head to the lake…or fix up the combine..or whatever it is you people do during bye weeks. The sight of me and my brethren taking out 3 decades of frustration in your own living room will be difficult to watch...but oh oh so satisfying. I plan to make the most of it as my greatest day crosses over with one of your worst.
You have been warned.
5 days to go.
Oh and PS – Could your coach be any bigger of a crybaby wanker? Dude, you’re the head coach of a traditional Division 1 football program. Every time you sprout that little vein in your neck to show your constituents your “passion”, it makes you look like a complete newbie idiot. (As does the chomping gum and $4 grey sweatshirt you sport on the sideline.)
Although I will give old Bo credit..it's not nearly as ridiculous as 5 to 8 Husker scrubs dancing and jiving behind the bench for the ABC cameras (while losing) as if they were on the set of America’s Best Dance Crew. There are times you need to be loose..and there are times you look like a class C1 high school team from Bennington. You love to preach how you've been there before..how bout you act like it for 30% of the world to see? You can have all the former Huskers you want on the sideline…when you act like douchebags for all the world to see…it kinda defeats the purpose.