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    by Published on 10-12-2015 01:01 AM  Number of Views: 5163 
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    2. Football

    Goodness. Nebraska just keeps coming up with new and inventive ways to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.

    The season so far has been a Peanuts cartoon where Charlie Brown runs up to kick the ball, only to have Lucy pull it away and punch him in the groin as time expires.

    Chalk it up to whatever you want: coaching, players who don't know how to win, bad schemes, poor play calls, horrible luck, injuries, parity, curses, lack of talent, karma, a super secret conspiracy to destroy the football program - frankly, none of it matters now.

    We're here: halfway through this season in a position that is unfamiliar to anybody under the age of 60. Two wins and four painful, gut-wrenching losses. We can (and will) discuss and dissect the things the players and coaches can and/or should* do to turn things around.

    *Choosing to the have wind at your back for the fourth quarter seems like a good place to start, but that's just me.

    What I'm more interested in is how we the fans choose to react. As I see it, there are a handful of distinct options:

    • You can call for changes. Fire somebody (or as I sarcastically wrote, everybody).

    • You can be angry. Would this be happening if we fired Bo? Or Frank? Is any loss unacceptable to you?

    • You can check out. The fans I saw leaving with 8:43 left in the game likely fall into this group.

    • You can blindly support the team. ...
    by Published on 10-08-2015 10:45 PM  Number of Views: 2006 
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    2. Football

    All season, I'll be ranking the teams in the Big Ten from one to Maryland. To see my predictions for how the season will play out, click here.

    As always, if you think I’m right, wrong, or clinically insane, let me know in the comments.

    Prepare to disagree…

    1. Ohio State - Yeah, I know the Buckeyes are still not clicking on all cylinders. But a game with Maryland should be a good way to work out some of the kinks.

    2. Michigan State - What do the Spartans have to do to jump Ohio State? For starters, they can avoid falling asleep at the wheel like they ...
    by Published on 10-05-2015 01:49 AM     Number of Views: 3508 
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    2. Football

    You say you're coming home but you won't say when
    But I can feel it coming
    If you leave tonight keep running
    And you need never look back again

    You take it on the run baby
    If that's the way you want it baby
    Then I don't want you around
    I don't believe it
    Not for a minute
    You're under the gun so you take it on the run

    Saturday was a rare date night for me and my beautiful wife. With Grandma watching the kiddos, we caught the second half of the game from a neighborhood bar before heading downtown for dinner and drinks. After the Illinois game's painful final minute, I tried to put a gut-wrenching loss out of my mind. I switched the radio from the postgame hot take shows to a classic rock station. The first song to come on was REO Speedwagon's "Take it on the Run", the chorus of which goes like this:

    You take it on the run baby
    If that's the way you want it baby
    Then I don't want you around
    I don't believe it
    Not for a minute
    You're under the gun so you take it on the run

    Needless to say, I just turned the radio off and focused on having a fun night with my wife.

    In the Saturday Omaha World-Herald, Sam McKewon said "The National Weather Service is predicting ...
    by Published on 10-01-2015 11:45 PM     Number of Views: 10039 
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    2. Football

    I've had enough.

    Nebraska's uninspiring 2-2 start has me wondering just what is going on with our beloved program. Yeah, I hear you say that they are two plays away from 4-0, but to me that is the same as telling me I'm a $1 lottery ticket away from being a millionaire - irrelevant.

    I've seen enough football to know when something isn't working - and friends, this ain't working.

    We need changes. And we need them now.

    Where should we begin? Let's start with defensive coordinator Mark Banker. Hello? Have you seen the passing defense? Even Kevin Cosgrove is embarrassed by this defense. You say that his rush defense is actually pretty good? I don't care. Nebraska plays in the Big Ten West, a division so dedicated to rushing offenses that the forward pass is still a novelty. But Joel Stave, Mitch Leidner, and whoever plays quarterback for Northwestern are going to throw for 450 yards against Nebraska, probably in the fourth quarter alone. Get Banker out of here - now.

    While we're at it, let's get rid of secondary coach Brian Stewart. You know the problem with Daniel Davie this year? Nobody is yelling at him. I believe that for Davie to be an effective cornerback, he needs a coach willing and able to scream at him on national TV. You know Riley is too soft to get the job done, so that puts it on Brian Stewart. Apparently he's not up to the task either, so he's got to go.

    And don't get me started on the front seven of this defense. Everybody says that Trent Bray is this hotshot up and coming linebacker coach, but he can't get three starters on the field at the same time. Instead he's playing guys like Chris Weber. Did you know he's not the Chris Webber from the Michigan Fab Five team? No, this Chris Weber is some white kid from Elkhorn.

    Up front on the line, I have no idea what is going on. Maliek Collins has yet to become an all time great player like Ndamukong Suh. Heck, Collins may not even be the best player on the line this year. That would be a former tight end. Hank ...
    by Published on 09-30-2015 10:45 PM  Number of Views: 4233 
    1. Categories:
    2. Football

    The Big Ten conference schedule kicks off in full this weekend, which means it's time to predict how the teams will finish within their division. I purposefully wait to make my picks until the non-conference schedule is over, so I can have a better idea of who is a contender and who is a pretender. Given my prognosticating history, I need all the help I can get.

    Once conference play gets rolling, I'll do a weekly ranking of Big Ten teams 1 through 14, but for the initial round we'll keep it East and West. As we'll discuss, the two divisions could not be more different this year. Let's start with the East...

    East Division

    The second edition of the Big Ten East reminds me a lot of the Big Eight of the 1980s. Ohio State and Michigan State play the role of Nebraska and Oklahoma - legitimate national championship contenders, ...
    by Published on 09-28-2015 01:29 AM  Number of Views: 4125 
    1. Categories:
    2. Football

    As I settled into my seat Saturday morning, my buddy Nate posed an interesting question:

    What if the Miami game happened in reverse?

    In other words, instead of Nebraska getting mounting an exciting fourth quarter rally to take the Hurricanes to overtime, what if Nebraska had gotten out to a comfortable lead and allowed the Canes to rally? Would we still feel good about the game or would the fan base be more concerned with how it played out?

    At the time, I thought it was nothing more than a good hypothetical question. Little did I know that Nebraska was going to give us the opportunity to discuss it in a decidedly non-hypothetical situation. This time, NU had the big lead, even while settling for field goals, but left the door open for the other team to make it competitive down to the final offensive play.

    Let's set aside the talent factor. Miami is easily a better team than Southern Miss, and NU was playing with more able bodies in south Florida last week than they ...
    by Published on 09-21-2015 11:36 PM  Number of Views: 4014 
    1. Categories:
    2. Football

    In 1984, Nebraska plays for the win and loses in heartbreaking fashion. Thirty-one years later, Nebraska plays for the tie, goes to overtime, and then loses in heartbreaking fashion. Some things just never change.

    If you're like me, you went through a full spectrum of emotions during the four-plus hours of the game. Excitement. Shock. Frustration. Denial. Anger. Bargaining. Depression. Acceptance. Gallows humor. Excitement. Shock again. Confidence. Jubilation. Nervousness. Anguish. Devastation. And that was just the first quarter.

    This loss stuck with me much longer - and much harder - than the BYU defeat. On the surface, that seems counter-intuitive. For three-fourths of the game, Nebraska played BYU well enough to win. They led for a large portion of that game, all the way up to the final second when a 1-in-100 play beat them. They "deserved" to win that game.

    Miami, on the other hand, rarely felt competitive. For over 56 minutes, Miami led by anywhere from seven to 24 points - and it often felt like much more. And that is the difference. From the 8:04 mark of the first quarter, when Miami went up 14-0, through the 11:14 mark of the fourth, when they increased their lead to 33-10, Miami had complete control of the game. The odds of a NU rally were about as likely as a snowstorm (or a sellout crowd) hitting Sun Life Stadium. You had given up. I had conceded defeat. The only drama was how bad the final margin would be.

    by Published on 09-14-2015 01:28 AM  Number of Views: 3915 
    1. Categories:
    2. Football

    I'll admit it: I went into the game knowing very little about Nebraska's opponent. I incorrectly assumed that South Alabama was a lower tier FCS school along the lines of McNeese State. After some quick Wiki-based research, I found that the Jag-wars (or is it Jag-wires?) are actually a FBS team from the Sun Belt conference playing just their seventh season of football. In other words, their program is younger than my first grade daughter.

    Despite being light on tradition and history, South Alabama has some decent talent - thanks in part to the University of Alabama-Birmingham cutting their football program last year. At least five of South Alabama's starters on offense were UAB refugees, including receiver Josh Magee who had 147 yards and USA's lone touchdown.

    I'm guessing my ignorance of NU's opponent was not uncommon among the 89,822 who watched the game on Saturday - approximately 22 of which were in South Alabama gear. I say this with no disrespect to our guests from...let me look it up real quick...Mobile, but let's face it: This game was ...
    by Published on 09-10-2015 10:36 PM  Number of Views: 4413 
    1. Categories:
    2. Football

    From this point forward, I propose that Jordan Westerkamp is involved in ALL end of half / end of game Hail Mary situations - especially those directed at the south end zone. Agreed?

    And before we go any farther, I think it is a good idea to recite the First Game of the Season Pledge:

    I understand this was the first game.
    I understand the things I saw in this game don't necessarily indicate how the season will go.
    If we lost, I will avoid panic and doomsday scenarios.
    If we won, I will try to consume the Kool-Aid responsibly.
    I will not call for coaches to be fired or players to be benched.
    It was just the first game.
    This team will be much different in November than they are today.
    It was just the first game.

    Feel free to repeat that as necessary. Some of you may need to recite it hourly - or before venturing over to the message boards.

    I encourage you to look at this game with a big picture focus. Yes, even if that final pass falls incomplete there are some serious areas of concern for this team, but overreacting to one game is a fool's errand. Instead, let's try to take a rational ...
    by Published on 09-04-2015 01:13 AM  Number of Views: 8892 
    1. Categories:
    2. Football

    In taking an in-depth look at what to expect for the 2015 season, we've covered some reasons to be optimistic and reasons to be pessimistic. Between them, you'd think we have a pretty good gauge on how things will go this fall.

    But yet, lingering questions remain.

    Some of these may be evident by the end of the BYU game, while others may not be known until January. Here are some lingering questions, along with my best guess on how they'll be answered:

    Does Mike Riley fully understand what he's gotten himself into? This is a question that I've thought about many times this off-season. As you and I know, Nebraska is a unique place* and our singular focus and passion for the football team can catch outsiders by surprise. For an example, consider the two previous head coaches. I'm guessing each of them had a moment when they thought "Holy crap, what have I done?". ...

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