Wednesday, August 31, 2011

From Coach Osborne to a man named Suh. My memories of the Huskers.

Today's post in my Football Week 2011 series is guest written by friend and fellow blogger, J.R. Reed, of Sex & the Single Dad fame! And here we go ...

Now I just say things like, “Bob Stoops may be the actual Anti-Christ.”

Some of my earliest memories include Nebraska football. I had no clue what a Cornhusker was, but I didn’t care. I was a husker. Whatever that was. My posse has its roots in the Cornhusker State. My parents met, conceived and bore myself and, three years later, my brother, in the state of Nebraska. I lived there until I was three, then we blazed a trail for sunny So. Cal.

I remember being four or five years old and spending Saturday afternoons out in the garage or driveway with my dad. What we did varied from week to week, but if it was the fall, my dad had his portable AM radio tuned to “The Game”. That, of course, was the Nebraska football game. I remember the broadcasts were sponsored by some group named Californians for Nebraska. I remember the name because my dad had their bumper sticker on the back of his panel Oldsmobile station wagon. And his Nebraska jacket had the same logo emblazoned on the front.

I don’t know why, but I remember the reverence my dad showed when he spoke of “Coach Osborne”. He told me that Coach Osborne studied under Coach Devaney, and that the young coach showed a lot of promise. “He’s going to win a lot of games,” my dad said. As I grew older, my dad kept saying that. And he was right. Tom Osborne ended his coaching career with a record of 255-49-3. Let me save you from doing the math. He won 83.5% of the games he coached in his 25-year coaching career. Holy shit that’s a lot of games.

My brother has more memories of Tom Osborne than I do. How? He played for Coach Osborne in 1987 as a kicker for the Huskers. Eventually my brother figured he would come back to California and try out for the NFL after training on his own. Somehow that dream faded and the boy who once held the CIF (California’s governing body for high school sports) record for longest field goal ended his football career after a season at Nebraska. I believe his record was 61 yards. I know the first number was a 6, I just cant remember the second digit. But I’m pretty sure it was a 1. Maybe a 2.

The day after Thanksgiving has always been a special day for me. As far back as I can remember that day was for watching Nebraska vs. Oklahoma. What the hell was this Black Friday crap? That day was for wearing red and watching what was always a damn good football game. Why? Mainly because during the Tom Osborne vs. Barry Switzer era, both teams were almost always in the Top 10. For us it was like Good going in to whip Evil’s ass.

I remember one Friday when I was probably in middle school. The TV dude announced the arrival of the University of Oklahoma Sooners, but no one emerged from the tunnel. I turned to my dad (thinking I was very funny), and said, “Sooner or later they’re gonna have to come out and get their butts kicked.” It’s like NEBRASKA FOOTBALL FAN was somehow imprinted in my genes. I was dissin the Oakies from way back in the day. Now I just say things like, “Bob Stoops may be the actual Anti-Christ.”

There were some great games over the years. Coach Osborne was voted ESPN’s Coach of the Decade for the 1990’s and he won his third National Championship in 1997 and ended his coaching career on top. As Devaney begat Osborne, so Osborne begat Solich. Frank Solich played for Coach Devaney and coached under Osborne for 19 seasons. Osborne named Solich his successor, and he remained as head coach for six seasons.

To be brutally honest, there wasn’t a whole lot to cheer about from that point, until a boy named Suh arrived. He was a boy in age, but a man in stature. Dude is immense and scary as hell. If you don’t know who Ndamukong Suh is, please take a moment to peruse some of his highlight reel career. Oh…around the 1:28 point, Suh rag dolls Colt McCoy. He did it again at 3:07. This one was way better than the first.

Hook that on your horn and blow it. Wow. That was really stupid. It sounded so much better in my head than it did on paper. My most sincere apologies. Let me rephrase that. Nah. I meant what I said the first time. Sucked to be you that day Colt McCoy.

Is that dude wicked awesome or what? In case you didn’t catch on, those were highlights from ONE GAME. Not a season. A game. One. Freakin. Game.

These are my memories of the past, but there is a new future for the Huskers in a new conference and with new rivalries. I’m not so sure I like this new dealio. My two favorite teams in college football are Nebraska and Wisconsin. Guess who play Oct. 1 in Nebraska’s first Big 10 Conference matchup? Yeah. I’m so not loving this bullshit.

I know I droned on and on about how much I love the Huskers, but I also have a thing for Wisconsin. I’m not totally sure why, but I have for many, many years. I’m a Badger, yo. I saw them play hockey in the Bradley Center in Milwaukee during two different conference tournaments. I watch them play on TV whenever I can. And I always have them going too far in my Tournament brackets. If that weren’t enough, Drama Queen could recognize Bucky the Badger at a young age.

I’ve thought long and hard about how I want this game to end up. After hours upon hours of soul searching, I have finally come to peace with my decision. Here’s how I want it to go. I want this to be a close game. Hard fought by both teams. I want it close and I want it intense. At the end, someone will come in with a huge last second play and win the game. As long as the game is as I described, I don’t care who wins. Seriously. Both teams will be good. One pre-season poll has Nebraska 10 and Wisconsin 11, while the other poll flips the two schools. You wanna know who rolls in at number one? Oklahoma. Remember what I told you. Bob Stoops may be the actual Anti-Christ.

If you enjoyed this post, please stop by J.R.'s blog at Sex & The Single Dad, or follow him on Twitter at @SxNSingleDad


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