Monthly Archives: August 2013

Nebraska vs. Wyoming Preview

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Week 1 - WyomingNothing like a bunch of shirtless, corn-fed football players to really get your motor runnin’.

And now that you’ve had sufficient time to get revved up, lets get into the dirty deets. Nebraska is 6-0 all time against Wyoming. The total score is 214 – 82. In favor of Nebraska, if you didn’t figure that out.

The state of Wyoming is apparently fairly dull. The world can only thank them for Yellowstone, the first national park, and the word “dude.”

It’s only fitting that UNL unveiled a Bob Devaney statue in the East Stadium Plaza only a day before the season opener against Wyoming. You see, from 1947 to 1961, Wyoming had a better winning percentage each season. Devaney snagged his first head coaching job with Wyoming in 1957 and stayed there until 1961, when Nebraska snagged him for a $17,000 per year salary. That translates to a paltry $131,494.44 in 2013 dollars. WHAT A STEAL!

From there on out, Devaney dutifully kicked ass all over the country, cementing Nebraska into college football lore. Coincidentally, this is also the year that Husker fans birthed the consecutive sell-out record (currently 325 and counting).

Thanks again, Wyoming. Nebraska may have never been the same without your gift.

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On Saturday, Los Caballeros de Wyoming (that’s the Wyoming Cowboys for anyone north of Los Angeles and El Paso) will gallop their way into Memorial Stadium. The 6-0 record dates back to 1934, making  79 solid years of total domination. But the Cowboys could prove to be a test for the newly minted  Blackshirts.

Brett Smith is a good quarterback in a spread offense. It could be scary for the Blackshirts, but it’s a good primer for more finely tuned offenses the next two weeks. He’s almost a mirror of Taylor Martinez similar yardage, similar passing percentage. Smith halved T-Magic’s interceptions, though. Oh wait, here we go: Martinez more than quadrupled Smiths running yards. And Martinez will be throwing to an incredible receiving corp, while under the protection of an experienced O-line. This makes Brett Smith the poor man’s Taylor Martinez.

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See? Just like Taylor. Since the Blackshirts practice against Martinez, and we can basically assume that Smith can’t run as equally. Thus, by using the Pythagorean theorem, the Law of Relativity, clocking evolution, we can determine that the defense should be fairly prepared for what Smith and the Cowboys will have in store.

Should the Huskers run all over Wyoming, Bo will need to duck. The Cowboys are coached by Dave Christensen, a man with impeccable insults.

3bcuy

I’ll be watching from sunny, but mildly cooler, Southern California – waiting for the next big thing in shit-talking.

Follow me on twitter @blackshirtfreshman. Stay tuned for #AfroWatch2013 and #RageWatch2013.

Cornhuskers: Five Things To Watch This Season

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As the start of Husker season rests on a scarlet horizon, there’s plenty of talk about a multitude of story lines that could make or break our dear Big Red. To explore all of them would be difficult to say the least, not to mention time consuming, and it would require math skills I do not possess.

And there’s plenty little talk about some underlying story lines – you know the the ones. They aren’t quite as thrilling as passing numbers, or worrisome as inexperienced defense, but they still deserve some credit.

5. The Defense

Where the hell does one start? The Blackshirts have always been a staple kinda. They are expected to be big, brutal, and relentless. A line that swallows and mangles running backs. A line that chases quarterbacks around the backfield and bats them around like a cat teasing a grasshopper. Sigh. The good ol’ days.

I find it difficult – nay, devastating – to speak ill of the Blackshirts, so I won’t make any hasty generalizations here. They are my beloved. I love them. My preciousssess.

Lately the Blackshirts have come up short when they were needed most. Most recently in the B1G championship last year, it was the wildcat formation that sprung some confusion, let alone the legs of James White, Montee Ball and, Melvin Gordon . Ferocious felines be damned, we looked more like Swiss cheese, and the White-Ball-Gordon show was the shredder.

The hardest part was knowing the potential was there. Potential. Tis such a fickle idea. The Blackshirts gave up 214 points in their four losses last year (53.5 average per game), but only 176 in their 10 wins (17.6 APG). That’s way lower. Waaaay lower. Almost as low as I felt walking out of the Rose Bowl with a painted chest after the loss to UCLA. So the fans hurt that much more. When Illinois gets blasted for 90 points in the first quarter, no one bats an eye. BECAUSE IT’S EXPECTED. The Blackshirts are expected to perform, and when they don’t, the fans get all up in arms.

Returning only four of 11 starters will make this another trying year. But we can do it. I know we can. I won’t speculate or pontficate. I’ll let the Blackshirts do the talking. Bo handed out seven of them today, leaving four up for grabs. It sends a message, one of confidence, if Bo has declared them before the start of the season. This could be a bluff, but I’d rather consider it a solid move that strikes fear into the heart of Husker opponents.

They will be worn, but they still need to be lived up to. If Pelini and Papuchis are confident. So am I, kinda.

4. The Size of Kenny Bell’s Afro

Our Kenny, who art in Lincoln, hallowed be thy ‘fro;
Thy touchdown come, thy pass be caught,
On the road as it is in Lincoln.
Give us this day our weekly Red,
And forgive us our fumbles,
As we forgive those who intercept against us;
And lead us not into incompletion,
But deliver us from losses.

I’m obsessed, I’ll admit it. As a mildly balding 27-year-old, I look at Bell’s afro and want to make a home in it. I could nest and raise children there. I’d never leave. There would be no point – every day is an adventure! I nearly backflipped when he tweeted me. Mainly because he’s my favorite receiver, if not my favorite Husker. He’s hilarious, trust me. And he did this in the B1G Championship. The play was called back, but the Afro Thunder lives

Kenny Bell Block

(I particularly enjoy Ben Cotton’s victory point there at the end).

This Saturday, we can assume his afro will look something like this:

Kenny-Bell-Afro

It is beautiful. A big ball of wonderful. I bet it’s so soft – like a down comforter. I bet when he wakes up, tiny little blue birds circle the ‘fro and fluff it into the poof that it is. I bet it’s not even hair; it’s probably Egyptian Silk.

Kenny gets his skill from his hair. He’s going to be a top target in the B1G, so expect him to look something like this by the time November rolls around…

Kenny Bell e

I swear, that guy needs a helmet at least two sizes larger than he would with a buzz cut.

Welcome to AfroWatch2013.

3. T-Magic or T-Tragic?

If Kenny is my favorite, Taylor Martinez is coming in a close second, hot on Kenny’s heels. He’s fallen a bit out of favor with major sports affiliations as of late, mainly because his explosiveness and his cuts are just the norm now.

Hey ESPN, just because he’s not a freshman anymore doesn’t mean you can just ignore him! I swear, if AJ McCarron throws two TDs and an INT while leading ‘Bama to a 21-3 victory, ESPN will run it day and night. But Taylor and the Huskers go undefeated and allow 40 points all season and suddenly ESPN can’t remember what college football is. Not that I’m bitter or anything.

I digress. T-Magic can work wonders, and people like to write songs about him. He’ll throw interceptions like he did last year (12, yikes) but that happens when you’re throwing more.

He needs to hang onto the ball, all the analysts/coaches/fans/haters agree. It’s true, and the more he runs, the more he needs to keep that ball to himself. It’s football, not bowling. However, fumbles are inevitable. So I propose Krazy Glue sponsors the Huskers.

Taylor GLue

On to more positive notes: Taylor could really take ownership of the Nebraska record books this year. He’s already at the top of the list for Total Yards and Passing Yards, and he only needs 586 (or 365, depending on which stat sheet you look at) yards to sit at the top of the Rushing Yards by a Quarterback list. Hang onto that ball Taylor, and you’ll be up there by the time you leave Ros-Ade Stadium. And with some luck, he may end up as the No. 2 all-time rusher at Nebraska. Get out your pen, folks, because you’re going to do some rewriting.

2. A Versatile, Deep Backfield

What?! Total shocker, I know. There’s three names to get excited about right now:

Ameer Abdullah – He put the Husker world on his shoulders after Rex Burkhead was sidelined by a persistent knee injury. What was once a stop-gap became  a crucial cog in the machine that is Big Red.

Imani Cross – A rumblin’ tumblin’ wall of man. Cross ran his way right into my heart last year, and I expect him to stay right there. He’s lost a little weight this year to gain a little speed, so it will hurt just the same when he gets into the mix.

Adam Taylor – Considered “a faster Imani Cross,” meaning he’s basically a dump truck with a jet engine strapped to the back. I. CAN’T. WAIT. Note: I had this really cool thing written out over the weekend for Taylor and now it’s all for naught because he redshirted. I’ll have to wait until 2014. DAMN YOUUUU.

Terrell Newby –  Could see some playing time with Adam Taylor’s recent redshirt decision.

With all of these potentials, I’m hoping that Bo throws them and a few others onto the field and they break out after the snap into some sort of flying-V formation. Imagine the confusion! It may not be legal to line up in the flying-V, but there’s no reason we couldn’t benefit from borrowing from hockey. A rule change might be in order.

1. Will Bo Blow His Top?

RageWatch2013 is underway. How many games before he yells at a player? How many games before he yells at a ref? How many games until he unleashes his furious forefinger? How many games before he yanks his headphones from his noggin in sheer frustration? The answer: One. Expect all of this and more on Saturday.

To keep track of all of Bo’s ups and downs, live-tweets will go out through the game, and then the recap will encompass his overall anger level. He will be scored on a scale of 1 -15, with the first two being the only levels with some semblance of joy. See below.

Bo Collage Finished
Be on the lookout for a bonus this season: The Papuchis-Pelini sideline anger duet. It’s more likely to happen when they are both livid but for different reasons and they have no clue they are harmonizing.

 Follow me on Twitter @blackshirtfresh

 

Kenny Bell Tweeted Me

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Sometimes it takes bloggers years to get where they want to be. I started this site with the intention of cultivating and entertaining an audience by not being too serious about the team I could never do without. I also hoped that by looking on the lighter side of Nebraska Cornhusker Football, I’d save myself from a coronary in the next three years.

It’s been a long journey full of car troubles, crashed computers, broken cell phones, and late nights at the office. But I did it. I’ve risen above. I’ve hit the pinnacle. I’ve summited the Everest of the blogosphere. It can be lonely at the top but I think I’ll do just fine.

It took me one blog post, one blog draft, and 14 tweets, but I did it.

Kenny Bell (@AFRO_THUNDER80) replied to me. I basically won the internet today. When the ‘fro speaks, his word shall be taken as truth.

 

***DROPS MIC***

Nebraska Cornhusker 2013 Season Preview

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The beginning of the Nebraska Cornhusker season is around the corner, and we know what that means: impending disappointments; crushed dreams;  yelling at television screens and screaming obscenities at children; flinging objects in a goddamn hissyfit. You get the point.

If that’s just the pregame you can imagine what my house looks like by the time the season is over…

PostChamp

Husker fans are not unfamiliar with heartbreak, but I’m convinced – despite the potential for devastation (read: inexperienced defense) – that this is our year. Granted, things like toes and knees can be turfed and twisted, shoulders separated, and brains bruised, but barring any major injury setbacks, this is the year Taylor Martinez leads us to the BCS National Championship.

And that means back to the Rose Bowl, where I can attend the game and barf in joy or sadness all over everyone in Pasadena, CA. The last time I did that during a Huskers game and it was not alcohol or emotion induced was probably due to a heavy round of breastfeeding and burping sometime shortly after my 1985 birth.

It’s been roughly exactly 16 years, 7 months, and 19 days since the Huskers could call themselves National Champions. That’s 8,748,000 minutes, or the equivalent to Nebraska’s penalty yardage over the same period.

Before we get ahead of ourselves, we have to remember that in the last decade, the Scarlet and Cream have not finished a season ranked higher than 16 (2012) in the BCS poll. Five of those years (’03, ’04, ’05, ’07, ’08) the Huskers weren’t even ranked. It’s true, 50 percent of the time, the Husker way works every time.

But there is hope. Bo Pelini took a floundering ’07 bunch with only five wins (six if you count the Red/White Spring game) and turned them into something resembling a football team. He apparently did so by bordering on the edge of an aneurism the entire time.

Bo Pelini Mad

Since then, the Huskers have put together a string of five seasons with at least 9 wins. But it’s not really good enough. Those numbers are important, and would suffice for some of the mid-level teams around the nation. They aren’t Cornhusker numbers, or at least the ones the fans want to see and expect. Bo is constantly on the cusp of something great, but the team chokes in some of the bigger games.

Not. This. Year. I swear, I’m convinced it’s going to happen.

T-Magic got his numbers up last season, as he did each of the previous seasons. He’s worked on his throwing motion and his patience, boosting his overall QB rating, despite throwing 12 interceptions last year. He will continue his upward charge, completing maybe 66 percent of his passes this year? Only throwing seven interceptions? One can dream.

Most importantly he’s shown that he can still turn on the afterburners and change direction pretty well.

Taylor Martinez Wisconsin Touchdown Run(Click to play. I’m new to this blogging/website stuff.)

That GIF hasn’t even been sped up.

The Huskers return strong legs on offense with Ameer Abdulla and Imani Cross likely sharing backfield duties (that one dude Braylon Heard ended up in Kentucky – with only three touchdowns last year, two in runaway games and one in the tragedy we once called the B1G Championship, so we aren’t missing much.)

AfroThunder, AKA Kenny Bell, joins Quincy Enunwa, and Jamal Turner on the receiving end of everything Martinez.

Long story short: The offense looks good. Real good. And it should for years to come. Apparently freshman Adam Taylor is a faster Imani Cross, which basically means he’s a dump truck with jet engines. So that’s good.

Where the team is lacking is defense, as it has been wont to do in recent seasons. Seven defensive players made their exit. Seven of 11!! That’s a lot. But the silver lining is that a relatively light schedule, aside from UCLA and a sneaky QB, should give the defensive line a chance to fine tune itself before getting to heavy hitters at the end of the season.  It’s entirely likely that Nebraska is 7-0 when Northwestern marches into Memorial Stadium.

Cut to: October 26 – me in the fetal position with a fifth of whiskey, crying away a 3-4 record.

Sure, two early bye weeks could hurt. Sure, a new defensive line can look more like Swiss cheese. Sure, we have a weaker schedule than most National Championship favorites. Sure, the play calling might get questionable. Sure, my neighbors should take out accidental insurance coverage. Sure Bo just might implode on the sideline.

But there is no sure thing in college football, and that’s what makes it exciting. And I get the feeling that this will be one exciting year.

Because this year, we just might lift that goofy crystalline football.

Follow me on twitter @blackshirtfresh because apparently there’s a limit to the characters and the “man” couldn’t fit.

Editor’s note: Kenny Bell (@AFRO_THUNDER80) and Ameer Abdulla (@ameerguapo) are pretty funny guys. I mean, look at those twitter handles.