Saturday, December 5, 2009

Nebraska Football

As I sit here watching the Nebraska Cornhuskers play the Texas Longhorns for the Big12 championship, it occurred to me that the past two quarters were the first two quarters of Nebraska I've ever watched.  In my life.  Ever. 

I'm not much of a college football fan.  It's not that I don't like college football.  I do.  But I don't have an allegiance to any college football teams, so I don't follow any teams throughout the season.  And college football is mostly played on Saturdays, which is when I'm usually playing golf.  And having grown up in Colorado, I was raised to believe that the Huskers are the enemy.

It also doesn't help that their colors are red and white, which were the colors of our biggest high school football rivalry, so now, when I see someone wearing red and white, I quickly determine they are the enemy.  And because I'm a contrarian, when the office holds casual Fridays during football season and everyone is wearing their Nebraska gear, I refuse to participate.  I wear my golf polos each Friday and sit smuggly at my desk snickering at my anti-establishment stance.

And the biggest reason I don't like Husker football is because in Nebraska, the only topic that the local sports radio hosts and callers talk about is Husker football.  Last year, after such a lousy season, I figured the sports radio hosts would be able to find another topic to talk about, but no.  They had to break down next season's recruiting class.  And then they had to break down the spring ball performances.  And then summer ball.  And then two-a-days.  And then ever game they're going to play this season.  They every game they've played.  ALL DAY LONG!  EVERY DAY!!!  Husker football.

It's not that I blame the fine citizens of Nebraska for the fanaticism for the Huskers.  They have nothing else.  There are no professional sports teams in the state and no other major colleges in the state to route for.  Their sports lives revolve around Husker football.

As a sports fan, I was spoiled.  Living in Colorado, it is almost professional sports overload.  With major sports teams in football, basketball, baseball, hockey, lacrosse, soccer, and arena football, a sports fan is presented with a smorgasbord of opportunities.  But in Nebraska, not so much.

So, with all that said, here are some thoughts on the game:
  • Ndamukong Suh is a freak of nature.  The guy had 5 sacks (4 of which were solo).  He helped the defense hold the Longhorns to only 202 yards of offense and 13 points when the Horns had been averaging 40+ points and 450+ yards per game.  Nebraska gave a great defensive performance that kept McCoy confused and ineffective all game.
  • As effective as the defense was, the offense was equally as inept.  104 yards of total offense?  Are you kidding me?  The only reason the game was so close was because the defense was so dominant and the had some big special teams plays.  This was a close game in spite of the offense.
  • McCoy just about hosed his team out of a chance at playing in the national championship game.  I have no idea what he was thinking on the last play of the game, but why he let the game clock get so close to zero is beyond me.  They won this game by the skin of their teeth.   
  • Watching the local post-game coverage, the on-the-scene reporter could not have been more of a Nebraska "homer" than if he was Bo Palini's son.  He spent about 5 minutes talking about two topics: why he thinks Suh should be the Heisman winner and hinting/suggesting not so subtly that the refs were colluding to ensure that Texas won the game. 
The outcome of this game is going to be dissected ad nausium over the next 8-9 months, until the start of next season.  As bad as Nebraska sports talk was in the past, it just got worse as every single play and decision will be questioned over and over as the fans try to figure out why Nebraska didn't win.  There will be the conspiracy theorists who will blame the refs for the loss.  There will be the "Suh for Heisman" callers.

But in spite of this over analyzing, I have a new found respect for the players and coaches of Nebraska, and I will try not to avoid all things Nebraska next season.  I will push aside the schadenfreude I used to have toward Nebraska, as Husker players have it tougher than most, as their success or failure on the field is the success or failure of an entire state.  That's a ton of pressure for a group of young men to experience.  Plus, maybe if I start rooting for them, and they have success, talk radio will be easier to handle as less play by play dissections usually occur after a victorious season.


    1. This makes me sad. -Rach

    2. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    3. Very impressed with Suh! I hope my team gets him!