"I've Paid my Dues...Time After Time"
Mega props to my Husker readers for restoring order on National TV this afternoon. Oh sure you gave up 31 points at home to the #91 ranked offense in the nation...and who cares if you needed a miracle field goal to make up from yet another boneheaded mistake by your senior QB? It was a huge win! And mostly…huge props to Suh the spitter on making the most of his opportunity at the end of the game with his brilliant interception. Other than gouging somebody's eyeballs between his fingers at the bottom of a pile…that’s probably the biggest thrill he’s had all year.
Regardless, Husker nation is in a tizzy tonight…celebrating the Big Red Revolution of 2008. Well...kinda..except for that other North team in front of you that beat you by 5 TD’s in Lincoln and oh yeah..also beat that team you just squeaked by 58-0. But besides all that, you’ve taken mediocrity to an entirely new level and shown the world you are back. You have now surpassed the other juggernauts of the north, and parlayed you’re your “tradition” and “name” into an amazing 8 win season; highlighted by having only one win over a team with a winning record. Bravo!
In all seriousness though….
This whole thing is funny to me, because the standard retort to those first few paragraphs is for sure going to be…”oh yeah…do you know how awful we were last year! 8 wins is a miracle!”
Ok, 8 wins might be a miracle, but just how much of that last year was a result of your “talent”, “work ethic” and most of all…your ridiculous expectations? If you recall, you guys beat Wake Forest last year on the road. (Granted, Wake was starting a 9th string QB and nearly won at the end..but still.) You also beat the hell out of Nevada…which went on to have a damn good season.
The point is…you did suck last year and you certainly deserved every single bit of mocking laughter you received from both me..and others around the league. But just how much of an “improvement” are you talking here? Are you REALLY that much better than the team that whipped Nevada and squeaked by Wake on the road? Are you REALLY that much better now that you’ve beaten Colorado by 9 at home, rather than losing by 14 on the road? Are you that much better beating Kansas State by 28 on the road rather than 42 at home? Are you really that much better beating Kansas….ok…Kansas has gone into the toilet, and you’ve passed them completely. But still.
In the end, the difference in your team from this year to last is two fold: First, your players haven’t quit on a dime like Eric Crouch at the first day of the combine. For that, I will give you limited credit. Not because Bo Pelini has done some sort of miracle work here…but that last year’s mental disaster was well beyond anything most teams have ever seen.
And second, your season changed this season because of three things: Kansas, Colorado and Texas A&M. Of those three losses on your schedule from 2007, these are the losses that were turned into wins for 2008. So when we look at those three extra wins in more detail: We all know what sort of problems Kansas has. Colorado…as we saw tonight…isn’t exactly head and shoulders below you…coming within 1:34 and a miracle field goal away from winning on the road. And A&M was basically swapped on the schedule this year by Baylor..who won a whopping 4 games this season.
Your defense is still crappy at best (ranked 91st in scoring). You still can’t get a turnover to save your life (110th in the country in turnover margin), although apparently your lineman can hold onto the ball when it hits them in the gut. The only thing that has really changed was tonight's game was in Lincoln rather than Boulder...Kansas has completely gone into the toilet…and A&M was swapped out on the schedule with Baylor.
Other than that…I really don’t see that much of a difference.
But regardless, 8 win seasons are now something to celebrate around here..and celebrate you will! I honestly hope this magic carpet ride of 5 yard gains and constant mediocrity have been as much of a thrill for you as they have for me. Next up is a mid-level ACC team that is probably about as over-valued as you are. Granted, we will see how the chips fall…but for this one moment in time…you have taken that great big mythical step “back” to where you once never really were.
As for the game itself…a couple of thoughts:
- That fake field goal might have been the worst call I’ve ever seen in my life in any sport, at any level. (And to think you people used to bash the GRF for that stuff) I understand your coach isn’t exactly an offensive/special teams genius…but there are JV teams in North Dakota that wouldn’t have been stupid enough to run that.
- Hell of a kick by Henry in a clutch situation. Dude is going to be so popular tonight, he may actually get to kiss a girl. Dude looks like the love child of Bill Gates and Tina Fey...so props to him.
- Also nice to see the Spitter get a great pick to end the game and send farm nation into a frenzy. I’ll give that thug some credit..he sure knows how to get his hands up when the ball is coming right at his face. That really takes some talent.
- Finally, I get into it with some friends of mine often about the value of Joe Ganz. Now I will readily admit, I have more than my share of criticism of Joe Ganz over the past 18 months or so, but he really does do a nice job of keeping the game in front of him, and simply making simple passes. Nothing fancy..never does he thread a needle or put a 50 yard bomb into somebody outstretched arms…just a nice solid QB.
But that kid needs to get his head out of his ass when he’s running backwards on 3rd and 10 from the 30 with time running out. Both his fumble earlier in the quarter and the horrible decision to run backwards late in the game nearly cost his team a huge win over a sub-mediocre team. I will fully admit he is exactly the type of guy who can run your vanilla offense with precision and confidence. But those of you who are trying to convince me that he is in the same conversation as Harrell, Bradford, McCoy, Daniel and Robinson are absolutely stoned. Had he started as a freshman, he would have had a shot…but with only 15 games of experience…he’s still fully capable of making a killer mistake at any time.
And with that..it’s time for the bowl lull. Time for a full 3-4 weeks of nothingness before any meaningful football games take place to occupy the time during cold December nights. The quiet early winter air will be light, as deafening silence fills the airwaves. Gone will be the sounds of cracking shoulder pads, the squeeling voice of Ron Franklin and the giddy anticipation that greets each and every Saturday morning.
Well, I actually only meant you. My team is playing for the conference title next week.
Tah tah for now.