Thursday, September 27, 2007
The Tunnel Walk: Iowa State
But mainly we are merely trying to get over last week, as it seems most fans are. Our lasting concern does not lie with the fans or the players, but rather with the coaches, who are not acting with any urgency whatsoever after the loss. Are they remaining calm in the face of stormy weather, or are they simply oblivious? Something tells us a dismantling of the Cyclones will go a long way in answering that question.
The Tunnel Walk was concerned last week after, well, The Tunnel Walk. There was no real emotion on the sidelines or the stands. The Huskers need to stop making excuses and start playing with some urgency. The opponents do not get much easier. The Tunnel Walk feels that the players need to bring back the classic dogpile to start the game, now curiously absent from the pregame pomp. The Tunnel Walk will now turn briefly schizophrenic in order to discuss last weekend's ramifications:
POINT: How long until the debut of Callahan’s autobiography, “Our Goals are Still Intact”?
The Tunnel Walk feels that the subjective nature of college football is exaggerated. If you are in a BCS conference and you win all of your games, you are most likely going to play for the final prize on the week after New Year’s Day bowl game of the year. Very few teams make it through the entire year without a scare, and teams that merely win their games do not suffer in the long run. A high-profile program such as Nebraska would not be the exception to this rule.
Are we happy that Ball State should have beaten us at home? No. But at the end of the season, our record will not reflect anything but a win. The loss cost us a few spots in the polls, but these are relatively insignificant on the heels of the loss to USC, which cost us considerably more. Even the voters grasp that wins against mediocre teams are more valuable than losses to the best teams.
Bill Callahan’s NFL background has been spoken of to no end, but his philosophy of getting victories, no matter how grotesque, is not as blasphemous as most would have you believe. While this may not be true for certain coordinators from who sport awful glasses on the sidelines, a head coach is mostly judged by his record. Ball State counts as a win.
The Huskers, at this point, SHOULD celebrate every win, because frankly, they are not coming as easily as they used to. Our goals are still intact.
COUNTERPOINT: Is a win really a win? No, Goddamn It, And Quit Whining.
Are we in fucking Kindergarten here? "It doesn't matter who wins or loses, it's how you play the game." That is the mantra for losers.
As Christian Peter would tell you, "this is Nebraska." And he's right, damn it. You've got 85,000 fans, playing Ball fucking State, and you give up 600 yards of offense? How, on any level imaginable, is this acceptable?
And don't think Husker fans are the only people noticing--the national media is, too. In today's Seattle Times, the college football notes article has a headline of "Cornhuskers Hear Catcalls." The first sentence of the article says "The Nebraska Cornhuskers are feeling unloved," then follows with this Corey McKeon quote:
"This is the first time in my career that we haven't had the support," senior linebacker Corey McKeon said Tuesday. "It's hard enough to win ball games in today's college football."
Tunnel Walk wants to know this: would ANY player from the Devaney/Osborne/Solich era EVER think of uttering a quote like this? No. NO! You know why? Because they weren't pussies. They didn't blame the fans, they didn't blame the other team's offensive game plan, they'd blame themselves for making Nebraska look bad. Those guys had so much Nebraska Pride that they shitted it after a trip to the training table.
These guys we have now? They say things like "I don't care if we would have given up 1,200 yards to [Ball State], because we won." That's great, Cory. Way to care about what you do.
A game like that--and quotes like that following said game--allow one ringing adjective to shine through to anyone paying attention: soft. The Huskers--especially on defense--are incredibly soft. There is no fire, no passion, no pride, no...nothing. And, season by season under the leadership of Cosgrove and Callahan, Nebraska loses any kind of traditional intimidation and luster they have ever had. And the Ball State game was the crown jewel.
So, there you have it. A win is a win...except when you give up 600 yards to a team from the arguably worst football conference in America, who hasn't had a winning season since 1996, and you're AT HOME DOING IT!
After racing home from the debacle that was the David Letterman U. game at halftime, we headed down to Beer and Loathing in Dundee to catch the second half (don't ask why The Tunnel Walk left the game early...long story). Between the drive and the stress-induced headache from our defensive play and listening to Jim Rome for 40 minutes, Tunnel Walk needed a release. This came in two forms:
1. Busch Light.
For the uninitiated, Bags is a video game in the same mold as Golden Tee and Silver Strike Bowling, only the game is...Bags. As in the game of Bags (or, as we prefer it, Cornhole), only a video game version. We can already hear what you're thinking, dear reader--Tunnel Walk is funny AND clairvoyant!--"isn't Cornhole like, the easiest and laziest of all tailgate games? How can you turn that into a video game?" Well, we don't know who was the visionary that came up with the concept, nor the executive that was ballsy enough to sign off on the production of it, but they were right. It's as simple as picking your type of shot, the degree of the angle you want to throw it, bring the track ball back then roll it forward...BOOM! Three points.
Tunnel Walk could not recommend it enough, and is strongly considering putting down the $5K for our own.
Help wanted: Linebackers with souls, spines
It’s hard for The Tunnel Walk to decide which linebacker we are more disappointed in: Corey McKeon or Steve Octavien. Octavien has been the better player but apparently doesn’t care if fans come to the game or not, which he later, and rightfully, retracted, while McKeon has been a six year old on the field and a three year old off of it.
The Tunnel Walk acknowledges that these are amateur athletes, but also acknowledges that these amateurs want all of the perks of glory (which include, off the top of our head: ass, free drinks, free school, people who are in the program to literally make sure you stay academically eligible, and having an NCAA 2008 character that was built into the game, not added later-The Tunnel Walk incarnated itself as one excellent option quarterback) but when things are going poorly (see Ball State) want none of the criticism.
We feel that these guys both need to focus less on their feelings and more on tackling, then the applause will come. Nebraskans are a forgiving lot who will forget about last week if havoc is raised on Iowa State this week. On a somewhat related note, we are excited for the Phillip Dillard experience.
A Forgotten Era
The Tunnel Walk went to Amigos on 14th for pre-game breakfast before Ball State, and promptly had about 10 oz of ranch--and some tacos, too. This reminded the Tunnel Walk of those magical years where soft tacos and crisp meats were sold in Memorial Stadium. In honor of the turn-back-the-clock theme that is brought up approximately twice this week, The Tunnel Walk suggests Amigos be sold at Memorial Stadium again. If they are going to make us listen to the game on the fucking radio, it's a small bone to throw.
The Sandman Is Back, and Boy, Does He Sound Pissed
Speaking of recommendations, The Tunnel Walk could not possibly recommend Broderick Thomas' 22 minute rant on Unsportsmanlike Conduct on Wednesday enough. So stop what you're doing and click here. Then find "Sept. 26 Seg 4: Kevin and Mike'l With Broderick Thomas." Don't let the picture fool you: he's not a happy man. And if we were Steve Pederson, we would watch my back, because The Sandman is coming to put him to sleep!
We would also recommend listening to the segment before that one, titled "Sept. 26th Seg 2&3: Kevin and Mike'l's Blackshirt Roundtable." It is also really good, featuring a panel of Mike Minter, Christian Peter, Steve Warren, and Jerry Murtaugh. The highlight: when asked of Carrot Top McKeown's comments about the team not being excited and fired up at Tuesday's press conference, he said "you know what, he needs to walk off the team. We don't need guys like that on the team...honestly, I don't feel like talking about it. It's a disgrace. Playing against a Division III team giving up 40 points? Don't you guys have any pride?" You can't buy soundbites that good, friends.
Haven't I Seen You Before?
Enough about last week--to the task at hand, being Iowa State. Again.
Why do we say "again?" Because Tunnel Walk swears to Christ these guys have been around since we were in college. Todd Blythe? Really? We're pretty sure this guy is 28 now. Alvin Bowen? We would hope you could lead the nation in tackles per game when you've got 5 years on everyone else on the field.
*Side note: Look at ISU's depth chart here. It is awesome, because it has little tidbits on some of the players, like how G Tom Schmeling's "Related to German boxer Max Schmeling." Or Deep Snapper Matt Purvis, who "started deep snapping in back yard at age eight." What?? Come on...we could not make up comedy like this.*
So this got us thinking: who else feels like they've been around for freaking ever? The list:
Speaking of Todd Blythe...
Top 5 Best Nebraska Receivers Since 1990 (White):
1. Tom Beveredge
2. Jack O'Holleran
3. Todd Peterson (you can't really be surprised by this pick, can you? It's Tunnel Walk's cousin!)
4. Matt Herian (um, well, before the whole...leg thing. And yes, we know he's a tight end.)
5. Eric Crouch
What are the Fucking Odds (WATFO)?
It was brought to our attention as early as Wednesday that Ball State’s next opponent is…Buffalo. While The Tunnel Walk has no clue how the hell this happened, we nonetheless thank the football gods. Not the Buffalo Bills, who would lose to Ball State, but the Buffalo Braves and their head coach Turner Gill. Although Buffalo is not expected to win, all hell would break lose if they do, which would please The Tunnel Walk to no end.
What we do know is that Husker fans pay attention to this kind of thing, and if that score is any better than 41-40, shit will hit fans from Chadron to Rulo. Stay tuned.
In Defense Of...Halftime Beers
It's a question that Tunnel Walk finds itself asked every home game Saturday: "you wanna meet up at halftime?"
There's usually no debate here, our answer always being "Where?" and all (and yes, we're aware that we sometimes answer questions with another question, and that can be really annoying). But it is a debate for Husker fans. "Do we want to go get a beer at halftime?" It's a question that is wrestled with by roughly 70,000 people eight or nine times a year. Well, Tunnel Walk is here to help you process the decision with a little section we like to call:
"Why You Absolutely Should Get Beers At Halftime"
First, we have to establish two constants:
1. Beer is awesome.
2. Husker fans are awesome.
Now that that's established, it is actually quite easy to find a logical path to Barry's or Cliff's or your tailgate at half:
1. You are a Husker fan.
2. Husker fans are awesome, and do awesome things.
3. Beer is awesome.
Therefore, you, in order to be awesome (because you're a Husker fan), it is your duty to find something awesome to do to maintain your rep. Drinking beer fits this category.Thus, halftime beers it is.
Counterpoint: Halftime is not long enough to add to your drunkeness, but the rest of the night is
Halftime beers are either stupid or a myth, but they are not a good idea. By the time you get the hell out of the stadium and get to a place with beer, it's time to go back. Basically, you go to the parking lot or Cliffs, slam whatever is handed to you, and then a decision has to be made. Does our hero:
a. Make the trek back to your assigned seat in Memorial Stadium and brace for headache that comes from slamming one or two drinks after two hours since pregame drinking, or
b. Stay at the bar and start slow, yet enjoyable, progress towards an awful Sunday morning?
So this "halftime beers" we speak of is not a reality. If you return to the game, you are most likely missing most of the third quarter and therefore these beers have become "halftime and third quarter" beers. Which will not be enough to get you drunk and ultimately lead to an awful second half of football with the onset of a hangover. And if you do not return to the game, you made the decision to watch one half of football and go get wasted.
And The Tunnel Walk is fine with that. It's your ticket, your money, and your liver. Just don't blame halftime beers, you knew what you were getting into, you drunk asshole.
Fire up the Victrola
2007. Wanted to make sure that everyone, including Steve Pederson, knew what year it is. So why are we unable to watch this week's game game on television, an invention that has been prevalent for more than 50 years?
Philo Farnsworth, who is credited with inventing the first electronic television in 1927, would be ashamed at the state of Nebraska for not pulling the trigger on a TV broadcast. HuskerVision is essentially its own TV network and, as evidenced in past seasons, fully capable of broadcasting a game on its own for Pay Per View.
The Tunnel Walk feels that more views would have been willing to shell out for Iowa State as opposed to Ball State, so financial excuses be damned. If this is a conspiracy to get people to listen to the radio broadcast, then they win, but begrudgingly so.
After all, Jim Rose will be acting as our eyes, although we'd prefer Ray Charles. We know he's dead, but The Tunnel Walk stands by our choice.
Top 5 Ways to Kill Time while Listening to Game on Radio
1. Operate combine during corn harvest
2. Take a bath
3. If taking a bath and game or Jim Rose invokes suicidal rage, place radio in tub beside you
4. Eat something with Dorothy Lynch on it
5. Formulate answers for "guess the coachspeak cliche" before postgame press conference
Do not attend a Nebraska game if:
...you are wearing a shirt with a Confederate flag on it, and not named Larry The Cable Guy. Actually he should lose it as well.
Locks of the Week (Year to date: 4-1)
WISCONSIN (-7.5) over Mich St
Colorado St (+10) over TCU
Air Force (+2.5) over NAVY
TEXAS A&M (-16.5) over Baylor
Half-assed prediction time
To us, this looks like a pretty good game to get some mojo back. If this team doesn't fire it up now, it's not going to happen this season. They've been hearing about how terrible they are all week, and if there is ever a time to get angry, it's probably now. The coaches do not sound angry enough, which is of some concern.
That said, The Tunnel Walk is taking an optimistic turn for the prediction. Iowa State is fucking horrible, and we don't need a defense to destroy them. I predict they get one or two big plays, but other than that, it's all Skers, all the time. Nebraska wins and covers the spread.
Nebraska 49, Iowa State, 20
Tune in next week when hopefully the North championship is still an option.
From The Tunnel Walk, Hail Varsity.
Monday, September 24, 2007
Louisiana: Putting Our Money Where It Counts
None of that is a stretch by any means. With all of that said, the State of Louisiana brings you this:
"BATON ROUGE, La. -- A new training facility for the New Orleans Hornets will receive $14.5 million in state financing, under a plan approved Thursday by the State Bond Commission.
The state will spend $1.5 million on the practice center this year and the rest in later years.
The dollars were included in Gov. Kathleen Blanco's recommendations for construction projects to be funded with state dollars, and those recommendations received unanimous Bond Commission approval."
Now, keep in mind: this does not include the $6 million-plus that the City of New Orleans is pumping into the facility. So let's add this up:
Total Cost of Hornets' PRACTICE Facility: $20+ Million
Cost Picked Up By State of Louisiana: $14.5 Million
Cost Picked Up By City of New Orleans: $6 Million
Cost Picked Up By New Orleans Hornets' Ownership Group: $0.00
Um, I think there may be something wrong with this picture. There's also this "aside" at the end of the article (bolded by yours truly):
"In the meantime, the Hornets are practicing rent-free in the state-owned Alario Center in suburban Westwego, where they also practiced for their first three seasons in New Orleans before being temporarily displaced to Oklahoma City by Hurricane Katrina before the 2005-06 season."
Alright. So there's that. Let's pick up with historian (and former Tulane professor) Douglas Brinkley as to where the city is right now:
"...Brinkley added, noting that devastated neighborhoods like the Lower 9th Ward still lack schools and essential services. Banks, Brinkley said, are reluctant to grant loans for rebuilding in those areas, insurance companies disinclined to write policies."
"With 350 miles of levees needing attention and huge expanses of wetlands needing restoration — 1,900 square miles of wetlands have been lost since the 1930s — nothing less than a New Deal-magnitude public works project can save the Crescent City and coastal Louisiana, Brinkley said.
"I promise you," Brinkley told his audience, "New Orleans is not prepared for even a Category 1 hurricane."
Now, one could argue with his belief that it will take a "New Deal" approach to fix New Orleans--as a card-carrying Libertarian, I personally don't believe that is the case. That said, it doesn't really matter, because $80 billion (or whatever the number is--something like that) has been pumped into New Orleans alone to fix what happened with Katrina. And there is little positive progress to be shown for it. $80 billion!
Now, I know that to the government, $20 million of tax payer money is a drop in the bucket. But to be putting those type of funds towards a freaking basketball teams' PRACTICE FACILITY is simply unbelievable when one considers the juncture that the City of New Orleans and the State of Louisiana is at right now. Actually, "unbelievable" is the wrong word. "Unacceptable" is probably more appropriate. How do millionaire--check that, BILLIONAIRE--ownership groups sleep at night knowing that their practice facility is being paid for by a city and state that is, for all intensive purposes, bankrupt at this point? When the basic--basic!--fundamental needs of a port city whose complete infrastructure was destroyed and is desperate need of rebuilding? How is this possible?
I know that this was part of the original contract between New Orleans and the Hornets' ownership group in 2002. Since the City cannot fund the project due to the circumstances of the storm, the State jumped in to save them. I get that. But considering the city was COMPLETELY DESTROYED, you would think that perhaps the ownership of the Hornets might go ahead and "live" with practicing in the venue that the City is providing RENT FREE.
This is just a sad story that received no pub at all, which is amazing to me. The only reason I even knew about it is due to all the classic games and shows I have been recording on the NBA Channel, and it crawled across the news ticker. No one supports free enterprise, and I understand that businesses would be idiotic not to use state- and city-incentives to advance their company/organization. However, with that comes corporate responsibility and ethics. And the New Orleans Hornets' ownership group is CLEARLY devoid of this, and should be properly called out about it.
Unfortunately, the media and the public is too busy worrying about hard-hitting topics like CNN.com's 5th-highest e-mailed story "Town accepts role as Scientology's mecca," or stories about acupuncture.
But hey--what's $20 Million, right?
Don't count your chickens...
Saturday, September 22, 2007
That is all.
Friday, September 21, 2007
I don't like Bonds, but...
WDSM City Limits Festival
Help Wanted Nights, The Good Life
In one of this autumn's most anticipated releases, Tim Kasher and crew do not disappoint. This album is the companion/score/soundtrack to the Kasher penned screenplay of the same name. Supposedly set in a small town tavern called the Sundowner Bar over the course of a week, Help Wanted Nights tells the story of an out of towner and his woes with love. In typical Good Life fashion, most of the songs are poignant stories of love and loss. But mostly loss of love. During their annual spurt of Christmastime shows, including one at Sokol Underground in Omaha with MIB, GA Hill, Gage, Pete, Delusional KC Fan and others in attendance, The Good Life unveiled many of the tracks that made their way onto the album. In a recent interview with the AV Club, Kasher tried to distance himself from comparisons to Robert Smith of the Cure, but does little on this album to prove it. And for that, I'm thankful. His voice can be an acquired taste for some, especially when fronting this one-time side project. I guess it seems a bit more palatable when he's screaming while leading Cursive. At only ten tracks covering 40 minutes, this listener was left wanting more. And for that, I suppose I should be thankful. The most impressive difference in Help Wanted Nights from The Good Life's previous efforts is the overall flow of the album. While many of the themes are revisited from Black Out and Album of the Year, Help Wanted Nights is far from a chronological telling of this week spent at the Sundowner. Help Wanted Nights is ready for you to listen straight out of the carbon neutral packaging.
Key Tracks: 1. On the Picket Fence, 3. Heartbroke, 9. So Let Go
Marry Me, St. Vincent
Annie Clark is pretty in that "maybe she is, maybe she's not quite indie" kind of way. At least that's the impression I get from her album cover. I'd smooch her is all I'm saying. She's worked her way up to the stage name St. Vincent after lending background vocals for the Polyphonic Spree and Sufjan Stevens. Based on that pedigree, your perceptions of her sound are likely correct. If Regina Spektor, Feist, and Fiona Apple (circa Extraordinary Machine, which is worth a listen by the way. I just found my copy and have enjoyed it) were forced to create a non-state themed album after listening to Stevens' Illinois, Marry Me is what I think it would sound like. Like the Polyphonic Spree and Sufjan Stevens albums I'm familiar with, St. Vincent is sneaky with her spiritual themes. Some are obvious, such as the second track, Jesus Saves, I Spend and the seventh track, The Apocalypse Song. Others aren't as noticeable at first listen. While blessed with a very capable ensemble of eclectic musicians and instrumentation, Marry Me is most certainly a pop album. Best as a mid-week listen. Slightly buzzed at 11:30pm. Or late Sunday afternoon sandwiched between football games. I have a feeling this one might be a grower. Right now, I'll give her a C+. Scratch that, she gets a B- for being cute.
Key Tracks: 2. Jesus Saves, I Spend, 4. Marry Me, 5. Paris is Burning
Overall Grade: B-
Emotionalism, The Avett Brothers
I'm not sure if it's my strong indifference towards jam bands, but I get a feeling sometimes that some of them will try a little bluegrassy roots music to steer themselves towards legitimacy. I've been wrong before, but it makes me defensive of bluegrassy roots music. The Avett Brothers are benefiting from this defensiveness.
You know how two ugly people of different races will 9 times out of 10 make an adorable child? Well, when I try to break down the elements of the Avett Brothers' sound, I hope my theory stands true. What if Sister fucking Hazel and the Indigo Girls had a music (obviously) lovechild? Would it sound like these guys? Who knows? The sonic clarity of Emotionalism conjures up memories of that Sister Hazel song pouring out of the speakers of Dr. D-bag's Chevy Blazer, courtesy of Hot 97.1 FM (North Planet, NE, not New York City). I have no tangible reason to associate the Indigo Girls with the Avett Brothers. It's just the feeling that I get on the surface. But then, out of the depths, George Jones bears his sound through these two North Carolinians with just enough piano not to sound too twangy. If the Drive-By Truckers were more influenced by bluegrass than Skynyrd. And there is a small, but definite smattering of punk influence in these songs. It's certainly not a stretch to draw comparisons to another North Carolina band, Whiskeytown, though the Avett Brothers may have been the band on stage while the members of Whiskeytown drank themselves miserable.
Key Tracks: 6. The Ballad Of Love And Hate, 10. Living of Love, 13. Go To Sleep
Overall Grade: B-
The Historical Conquests of Josh Ritter, Josh Ritter
Josh Ritter challenges the boundaries of pop music by taking familiar sounds and rhythms and melodies of decades past and using present-day techniques to inch forward. It's kind of what I've always hoped Wilco would do. Don't let the listenability of this album outweigh its creativity. Though it's nothing groundbreaking, Historical Conquests is tight and sweet and savory. Like the first really good Thai food you ever ate. Enough familiarity not to scare you off, but just enough spice to feel adventurous. Dig in.
Key Tracks: 1. To The Dogs or Whoever, 4. The Temptation of Adam, 6. Rumors
Overall Grade: A. A four song bonus disc pushes it hard towards an A+. For reals.
Simple Love, David Dondero
A sentimental favorite and esteemed entry in our young hero's phonebook, David Dondero is to thank or blame for the popularity Conor Oberst. With a wavering voice, Dondero's songs are testimonials for life from a suitcase. Much of the charm of Dondero comes from his bloody beating heart on his sleeve, lo-fi production. On Simple Love, Dondero stays true to his narrative style, but benefits from some spit-polished production--the way your mother licked her thumb to scrub the dirt from your face. For most of his solo albums (he once fronted the band Sunbrain), Dondero's only accompaniment came from his Omaha transplant drummer, Craig D. Starting with last year's South of the South, Dondero began recording with a more complete band and Simple Love is the recipient of the resulting complete sound. Piano is the most prominent addition, but pedal steel and congas of all things post cameos on the album. This isn't my favorite Dondero album, but for neophytes, it's a good place to start.
Key Tracks: 2. When The Heart Breaks Deep, 3. Rothko Chapel, 5. Simple Love
Overall Grade: B-
Coming Soon...The Stage Names, Okkervil River
The Tunnel Walk: Ball State
Your mainstream news sources have been all over it. Unsportsmanlike Conduct, Matt Perrault, Tom Shatel, Lee Barfknecht (note, we have no idea if we spelled his name correctly, and we refuse to check. This guy needs a stage name. Leave an idea in the comments section or else The Barfman wins) and others have basically said what needs to be said about the unacceptable home loss to the Trojans. We will put it at succinctly as possible: the Huskers are not back, but:
Thankfully, an emphatic beatdown will happen Saturday:
Ball State is not going to win in Lincoln. That’s not to say they are a bad team. Presumably, they have a solid quarterback, a good tight end, and an NFL level punter who will hopefully be on the field a lot. We wouldn’t be surprised to see them hang with the Big Red for at least the first quarter, and possibly the first half. We will get to the predictions later, but we don’t think we’re sparing you any drama down the road by saying the Skers will fucking beat Testicle Tech.
"Practice in game-like conditions? Who wants to do that?"
This week came the revelation that our Huskers have not practiced in full pads since training camp.
When you put on full pads, you get a little bit more cutting, a little bit more lower body work, but when you're in half pads, you can get just as much done. Every pro team in the NFL practices in half a pack. - Bill Callahan
"When you put on full pads, you get a little more cutting, a little bit more lower body work..." Um, and hitting, and having to put moves on people, and blocking, and practicing AS THOUGH IT WERE A GAME!
Jesus jumpin' Jahova Christ, are you serious, Bill? We are about to play the most physically imposing team in the country--not to mention fastest--and you don't practice in a game-situation scrimmage? Not once? Not even for, like, 15 minutes?
We will tell you that--while we never played college football--going "half pack" (aside: Tunnel Walk thinks it is safe to say that Callahan is a robot, right? A football jargon spitting robot programmed to show little emotion and answer questions in ways humans never would?) absolutely DOES NOT get as much done as going full pads. When a coach says to you "shoulder pads and helmets today," your brain says "hell yeah, easy practice today!" Period. And speaking to a former Husker, he was STUNNED to hear this story. He said they would go balls out 2 or 3 times a week.
We don't know. We guess reading quotes like this makes everyone in the state of Nebraska say in unison "IT'S NOT AN NFL TEAM, BILL!"
Voices From The Grandstand
One of our favorite features in the OWH Sports section. Letters to the (sports) editor! You can go here to read them, but to save you time, we will give you two examples of the typical VFTG letter:
"Sure, we got throttled at home by USC. The holes their running backs could run through were a bit problematic. Watching our guys on defense play like they are a high school football team is slightly off-putting. But the only thing here to be embarrassed by is our so-called 'fans.' Who do they think they are to publicly criticize them? They're just kids! If you have to criticize our players and our wonderful robot coaches, you should just keep it to yourself. Or do it very quitely and rationally at home, after the kids go to bed, after they have done their class reading, finished eating their roast and apple pie, around 7:30 pm." - Dawn Pavelka, Ashland
"ARRRRRRGGGGGGGG!! Thanks a lot, Steve Pederson! I thought we were going to win at least one National Championship a year with this new coaching staff! Now just another team! Pederson, Callahan, Cosgrove, and Harvy Perlman [sic] need to be fired now!" - Biff Pitner, Cozad
Coach, can I play?
If anyone knows what the hell is going on at running back, we’re all ears. Quentin Castille plays against Nevada, looks good, and…we don’t even know if he’s on the team anymore.
Cody Glenn must love Lazlo’s or something, because if we were him we would have transferred. He has been Glenned (this is now the official term for when a guy plays a lot one week, then doesn’t play at all, then plays a lot, then doesn’t play, etc.) more than anyone in the history of football. We know that injuries have played a role in all of this, but Callahan has been shuffling his PT more than the 85 Bears.
Even Five Star Marlon got Glenned last year a few times. Brandon Jackson was Glenned before getting un-Glenned midway through the season and parlaying his new Glennfreeness into 2nd Round NFL money.
Against Ball State, we would expect to see a lot of either Glenn or Castille, but one of them will undoubtedly get Glenned. That’s just the way things are done, apparently. The Tunnel Walk would like to see more consistency in this regard.
Top 5 Tailgating Activities (note: drinking is not an activity, it’s a given)
1. Ladder golf (aka: horseballs)
4. Beer bongs (still drinking, but a rarified, hardcore form of it)
5. The game with the Frisbee, the beer bottles, and the PVC pipes and the title includes the word “horseshoes” along with a word for a person who would live in a Communist Asian country that happens to be the world’s most populous and is known for Yao Ming, beef with broccoli, and fireworks.
TJ Simers Recap
After putting the whole experience with TJ Simers in perspective, we can safely say that although we find him irritating, we don’t think that our state is any worse off than before. Nebraskans seem to have a self esteem problem that people on the coasts (or even Colorado) do not. For instance, if Shatel dedicated six columns to making fun of people in Los Angeles, do we think they’d really care?
The Tunnel Walk thinks that they would not even notice. Simers preys on our insular nature and thin skin in order to churn out effortless columns that garner chuckles from the intended target audience. The ease in which we allow it is staggering. His columns are bullshit, but let’s face it: the only ones reading them are: a. Nebraskans, and b. people in SoCal that we will never meet.
While we do not think that making fun of an entire state constitutes good journalism, we also understand the need for a columnist to have free material fed to him by the same people he was making fun of time after time. With each angry email, the more material he got. We just picture his pompous, douche-baggedy smirk and hear him cackling with delight at each time someone from Franklin flooded his email with expletive-laden anger.
Hello, wheelhouse. Goodbye, TJ Simers, from The Tunnel Walk. You won’t be missed.
Top 5 Things The Blackshirts Work On In Practice (Other than tackling):
1. Coach Coz staring blankly at notebook, trying to figure out how to give up 27.1 points per game.
2. D-Line tries "cut and run" technique, as suggested by special instructor Ron Paul (JOIN THE RON PAUL REVOLUTION!).
3. McKeown brushing up on his stand-up, with help from Carrot Top.
4. Placing recruiting "stars" on felt board.
A New Gameday Song
Moe's "Nebraska" has been a Tunnel Walk favorite for years, and continues to be. That said, we were very excited to hear a new track that we can add to the tailgate playlist: "The Good Life," by Kanye West. The song is HOT, and, well, it's called "The Good Life." It is also pretty easy to substitute the cities 'Ye shouts out in the song with towns in Nebraska: "The good life / It feel like Atlanta / It feel like Melbeta / It feel like N.P. / Summertime G.I. / Ahhhhh...now throw your hands in the sky!"
Danny Woodhead Update
We know he doesn't play for Nebraska, but SHOULD BE. The Fightin' Eagles of Chadron State were off last week, but the week before they destroyed Northern Colorado and that sorry excuse for a recruiting coordinator Scott Downing, who predictably passed on Woodhead while he was still at Nebraska. So, we'll take from the Voice From The Grandstands again, care of Dr. Jaime Dodge from Alliance, NE:
"I enjoyed thoroughly watching Chadron State and Danny Woodhead thrash Scott Downing and ...Northern Colorado in Greeley on Sept 8. As the...Eagles pulled their starters in the third quarter of the 31-0 shutout, I couldn't help but wonder a few things. Does...Scott Downing, who made recent remarks disparaging Woodhead in the New York times, still not regret failing to recruit the soon-to-be all-time NCAA rusher to NU four years ago? ...why was Santino Panico recruited instead of Woodhead (Tunnel Walk: WOW, that is a great point, Dr. Dodge! Zing!)? ...we may never know the answers, or how Woodhead stacks up against 'superior' competition, at least until next fall when he, unlike Downing, will get his shot in the NFL."
Tunnel Walk could not have said it better. And by the way, Danny only gained 280 all-purpose yards and 3 TD's. Over the course of 3 quarters. Nice game plan Downing, you douche.
While this is a painful subject, let’s face it: The Skers have had some shitty losses (70-10 still hurts like a bastard). The Tunnel Walk suggests the USC game serve as a sounding bell on what constitutes acceptable behavior during an awful loss. Thus, we offer a guide:
Acceptable: Slamming fist on table
Unacceptable: Doing so with such force as to spill everyone’s beer
Acceptable: Doing ‘punishment shots’ to get blackout drunk and feel better.
Unacceptable: Ordering whiskey or any other booze known to make people violent for this shot.
Acceptable: Punching wall or door.
Unacceptable: Punching window, spouse, kid, dog, relative, friend.
Acceptable: Throwing light object at TV, throwing up, dwarf tossing.
Unacceptable: Throwing glass mug across the bar. Also, throwing people only acceptable if there is a big window to throw them through.
Acceptable: Yelling the word “fuck” in any context at a bar or your own house.
Unacceptable: Yelling the same word at pastor’s or grandma’s house, unless drinking is going on at either place.
Acceptable: Turning to another game when a. the Skers are in the 4th quarter and down by more than 28 pts and b. the other game is either a Big 12 game, a major upset in the making, or a contest featuring two ranked teams.
Unacceptable: Turning the channel to watch something other than football, you whipped son of a bitch.
Acceptable: Cracking jokes at the teams misfortunes, bitching about coaching.
Unacceptable: Allowing non-fans to do the same.
Acceptable: Making fun or bitching about Jim Rose at any time, ever.
Unacceptable: Not listening to some sort of Husker postgame show, no matter how bad the loss, on your way back home from anywhere west of Seward or east of Waverly.
Pay-Per-View my balls, Steve Pederson
At this point, the Iowa State game is not televised. At all. No regular TV, no Pay-Per-View, no nothing. Ball State is on Pay-Per-View, and we are going to beat this team. How this could happen when the Huskers have their own TV network is beyond The Tunnel Walk. Get the game on TV, suckas! Christ almighty, it’s 2007. Travis Justice speculated, and The Tunnel Walk agrees, that this is a ploy to get the radio broadcast’s shitty ratings up.
We have a better idea to boost ratings over at Pinnacle: get rid of fucking Jim Rose.
Locks of the week:
Iowa (+8) over WISCONSIN
Penn State (-3) over MICHIGAN
MINNESOTA (+14) over Purdue
Georgia (+3.5) over ALABAMA
Half-assed Prediction time
As mentioned before, Nebraska is beating Ball State. What they are not doing is covering the 22.5 point spread, in our eyes. Caveat emptor, deadbeat Nebraska bettors.
Nebraska 35, Ball State 20
The Tunnel Walk wishes the best to all readers watching the game in Lincoln or on Pay-Per-View.
Thursday, September 20, 2007
Dennis and Dee's Mom is Dead and The Gang Gets Held Hostage.
I love Thursday nights!
Wednesday, September 19, 2007
Game Day, Part "Amen!"
ANYWAYS...on to the column:
BLACKSHIRTS CAN'T CONTINUE TO BE A BLACK HOLE
"...It's not time to write off Kevin Cosgrove yet. But feel free to go find a nice pen.
The good news, or bad, for Cosgrove is that there are nine regular-season games left. Beginning with Missouri on Oct. 6, there are four or five straight games (if you want to throw Kansas in as a bonus test *Ed. Note: Yes, you absolutely throw Kansas in as a "test." I am scared to death of that game.) in which he could look really good or really bad.
Now, let's admit: Cosgrove has had his moments. Cosgrove's defense kept NU in the game against Oklahoma and Auburn in big games late last season. He could still rally the troops, and his own cause.
But does anyone honestly expect that?
To get the Blackshirts up off the canvas after USC's knockout on Saturday night, Cosgrove would have to motivate the Blackshirts. That's not exactly his strength.
The Blackshirts don't show the fire or passion you need on defense. They don't fly to the ball. They don't tackle. As someone who has great experience in being tackled, I can tell you, tackling is not about technique. Tackling is about wanting to. It's really the essence of football. If you are arm-tackling, like half the Blackshirts, you don't really want to hit someone.
Charlie McBride and Bo Pelini--there, I said it--were masters of getting players to fly to the ball and tackle.
Now, there is also this little issue of adjusting and having players lined up right. Cosgrove will tell you that he's experienced and knows what he's doing with X's and O's. But he also said of Saturday night: "It really was nothing that needed to be adjusted."
GA Hill: OK, to go FJM real quick: that quote should lead to a public flogging in the town square. "IT REALLY WAS NOTHING THAT NEEDED TO BE ADJUSTED." Let that sink in for a minute. OK, now tell me this: what's your blood pressure at? Mine is at "really high, even for a guy that doesn't work out and drinks too much beer." Back to the column...
Huh? When holes are that wide, and USC is running through them (with that "ghost" in motion, coaxing the linebacker to follow), then something needs adjusted.
It may, in fact, be the defensive coordinator. Some of us expected USC to win that game. What we didn't expect were such craters in the defense, not at this stage of the game. In his fourth year, Cosgrove looks like a solid D-coordinator, but not a difference-maker who is going to help get this program to the top. See how this season goes. But, the way it's already going (missed tackles in back-to-back weeks), Bill Callahan is going to have to make a tough decision about his good friend."
So there you have it. A column I never thought I would ever read in the World-Herald, especially since they are a huge corporate sponsor now. (By the way, should a newspaper sponsor a entity that it covers all the time? I guess this column shows that they will cover it the way it should be--and it is just sports we're talking about--but isn't there some sort of journalistic standard they're flipping off here? Journalistic integrity! Business acumen! We're the World-Herald!)
Another note, brought up to me yesterday by Toffer, on the subject of Castille not playing Saturday: why the hell didn't he play Saturday? Aren't they in a perfect situation to pull of a poor-man's Reggie Bush and LenDale White here? If you have Castille lining up at fullback every play, and Lucky--a man who has needed a lead blocker more than anyone who has played football, ever--lining up at I-back, well...isn't that just the smart thing to do? Doesn't that pose a dual-threat from the backfield everytime? Did it just work too well against Nevada to not try it again?
I have already written this, but I'll do it again: why the single-back dive everytime? That is, why the single-back dive everytime we play teams who can stop that play in their sleep? It's as though this staff's biggest coaching enemy is themselves, because they officially have a track record of out-coaching themselves. It worked to the tune of 5 or 6 YPC against Nevada. Why not do it until a team completely shuts it down? I am sure that if we would have ran that way, USC would have stopped it here and there, but it would have attributed to far more positive running plays.
Alright, that's the last post I'm doing on that debacle. Coming tomorrow (or maybe Friday): a preview of Ball State. Because, as Lou Holtz would say: "Somebody's got to pay for last week, and it's gonna be Ball State!"
Monday, September 17, 2007
This may be more appropriate for my new environs...
When I grow up...
Leave it to Ernie Chambers
This is hilarious. It reads like a damn Onion article, only it is true.
Game Time, Part Uggg....
I don't even know where to start, or if I am even mentally prepared to break it down. So I suppose I'll just throw up some thoughts. Fill in what I left off in the comments.
On with the show...
1. How Kevin Cosgrove still has a job is beyond me. Truly. This will not be as comprehensive as I would like it to be, but here are some numbers from while he has been defensive coordinator at both Wisconsin and Nebraska:
2002, Wisconsin: Gave up 23.0 PPG
2001, Wisconsin: 28.8 PPG, 370 YPG, 4.2 YARDS PER RUSH AGAINST
2000, Wisconsin: 392 YPG AGAINST, 4.3 YARDS PER RUSH AGAINST
2004, Nebraska: 27.1 PPG Against
2005, Nebraska: 21.0 PPG Against, 332 YPG Against
2006, Nebraska: 18.3 PPG Against, 331.9 YPG Against
2002, Nebraska: 23.9 PPG Against, 361 YPG, 3.7 Yards Per Rush Against
And we all know who the defensive coordinator was in 2002: Craig Bohl, who was run out of town on a rail.
The lack of fundamentals on defense is appalling beyond reproach. The fact that senior "All-Big XII" defensive players are still trying to arm tackle is beyond me. And where the fuck are all these high school defensive all-stars? Is it a case of the jackass coaching staff only playing seniors, or players that have been "in the system?" Call me crazy, but I am pretty sure a freshman can be completely in the wrong place the entire game as well as a senior at linebacker.
2. The "running" game. Is it just me, or does Callahan stubbornly call dive plays no matter what the situation?
Friday, September 14, 2007
Angry? Now listen to this Lou Holtz Pep Talk for Nebraska. While not as good as his excellent Michigan pep talk from last week (you tube it. It didn't work worth a damn, but is funny as hell), I was fired up, speech impediment and all.
Are we ready for some football? Good. Now, here are the keys to Nebraska staying in it:
1. The Blue-Hair factor: As most know the crowd at Nebraska would rather chug metamucil than booze. This is not good. This crowd needs to be insane. If people allow the blue hairs to make people sit down, shut up, and watch like it's a Lawrence Welk performance, big advantage USC. Nebraska fan needs to be like an SEC fan: drunk, loud, screaming, obnoxious, whatever. This is not for every game. In truth I love how focused on the football Nebraska fans are for most games, but IT DOESN'T CUT IT for the number one team in the country. Let's fire it up.
2. Pass rush: We have to keep Keller upright against USC's blitzing linebackers, which are almost superhuman. If he has time, our receivers will be open and he has the arm to get it to 'em, but if he's under pressure the interceptions will come, which will lead to Callahan calling running plays for the entire second half. Stop me if you've seen that happen before, which leads me to:
3. Play calling: I don't give a damn what anybody says, we played like absolute pussies last year. I don't care if that was "the game plan" or whatever Callahan insists, it was a pussy game plan. Simple as that. I was ashamed of that game on so many levels. It was vomit-inducing. I can accept being outclassed, but not even showing up is WTF-worthy. Rightfully so it was called out by most.
Enough about last year. This year, we need to open things up, and to do that, I propose we come out with some Guns of Navarone shit. Throw to set up the run. Loosen them up, then pound the ball. They can be beat in the secondary and we have a quarterback who can get the ball downfield. Trick plays. Whatever. Kitchen sink. Go down swinging. If we do the same thing as last year, we will lose, like last year.
USC is like the bully from the Christmas Story, Scut Farkus. Yes, he's big and has yellow eyes and an evil toadie friend (TJ Simers), but if you just simply decide to punch him, you may just prevail. Here's to hoping Nebraska's performance is so cold, calculated, violent, and incendiary that we get the bar of soap in our mouths on Monday.
4. Defense: Just follow the crowd's lead and play hard. The plays will be made. I think Cosgrove can keep us from getting routed with a scheme, make something big happen.
Bottom line: Yes, they are more talented. Yes, they are better coached. Yes, they have an unbeatable stigma during this era (much like the 90s Huskers). We do not lose badly at home, really ever, and I really think that the blue hairs will not keep Memorial Stadium from being intense as all hell. I think we cover the 9.5, but probably lose, but part of me legitimately thinks we have a chance. I honestly don't know.
Half-assed, two-pronged, cover-the-bases prediction time:
Heart: Nebraska 24, USC 21
Head: USC 31, Nebraska 24
Top 5 places to watch the game in Omaha/Lincoln other than being at the game:
1. Barry's-a great time with a fired up crowd and cheap booze, now that I am officially old I look forward to pulling this off more in the future.
2. The Underwood-As discussed with GA Hill, this place has a mythical, magical touch to Husker games that cannot be denied. Just go there, you'll see. Watch out for seizures and going into the wrong bathroom. (Oh, and lung cancer. Definitely there.)
3. Watering Hole-Best place to watch on O St, IMO. Great charred wings and now right next to the new Cliff's for getting blacked out during a blowout.
4. Tanner's-The best of the West O sports bars.
5. The Blue Jay--It's just funny. Suck it Creighton.
Leave a comment/prediction. Go Big Red!
Monday, September 10, 2007
Reason #1,538,952,241 That Life Is Unfair...
While Lovie Smith will not confirm this until he has a chance to sit down with him, I am guessing it is pretty much correct.
How depressing. Pete says he is injury-prone, which is true to an extent. I personally feel like it is bad luck. I mean, yesterday's injury was more a result of being hog collared down by a man twice the size of him on a cheating cheater of a play.
But it is even more depressing when you read the post-game story from yesterday. Here are a few quotes from the Chicago Tribune:
But as Brown talked about the sprained left knee he suffered against the Chargers on Sunday, his mouth quivered. He broke down.
"We're holding out a little hope, but right now it doesn't look too good," Brown said. "It's a sprained knee right now, but it doesn't look too good. It's a shame. It hurts my feelings really bad."
Then Brown's emotions got the best of him. Teammate Charles Tillman waved the television cameras away so Brown could have his peace.
Safety Danieal Manning was choked up about it. He paused for a few minutes before talking about a player he admires.
"Mike doesn't want us to feel sorry for him," Manning said. "He can't get a break. Mike, he showed me a lot today. Just being out there, all those injuries. And even after he got injured, he still came back to the sideline and cheered us on.
"When you see Mike play, that's how you want to play football. When I go out there on the field, I want to play like him."
All I know is that he is undoubtably the leader of that defense, as displayed by playing an unbelievable game yesterday. An interception, fumble recovery, a key pass breakup, and some great tackles--he was playing like a man possessed, the most excited guy in the world to be able to be on the field. Then this happens. Just awful.
As someone who has met Mike and been around him in person, I could not possibly feel worse for a guy. He is a special player, and a special person. And this shit happens to him.
All the while, a guy who STABBED A MAN IN THE BACK--literally--not only gets to play every week, but he's one of the biggest stars in football. Unbelievable.
Sunday, September 09, 2007
Its Always Sunny in Philadelphia
P.S. "What are you doing!" "Tying off."
Friday, September 07, 2007
The NFL is here again...
Be sure to read the comments. Here are a few dregs I would add:
1. The Brand New jersey bandwagon team guy. Last year it was the Chicago Bears and the goddamned Urlacher jerseys. In West O it was like they cloned portly 30 year olds and handed them the jersey.
2. The share my fantasy stats with the world guy. Like anyone really gives a fuck about how you really need 22 points out of Brandon Jacobs and Donte Stallworth in your free league, you fucking loser. Pick a team.
3. The hungover waitress who clearly didn't sleep at her own place last night. These slutbags actually provide some much needed comedy when you are definintely NOT going to be collecting from the bookie on Tuesday.
4. The-bringing my laptop to keep up with the fantasy scores and wager on the late games after seeing how the early games are going to end up-guy. Note: This may be me this year. Yikes.
Thursday, September 06, 2007
From the files of Captain Obvious pt 2
Men want hot women, study confirms
"...men appeared to base their decisions mostly on the women's physical attractiveness."
"Men tended to select nearly every woman above a certain minimum attractiveness threshold"
The next time any of you gets hit on by an ugly girl you should let her down easy by telling her she doesn't meet your "minimum attractiveness threshold."
a few thoughts on baseball
2. Let me be the first to apologize to Rick Ankiel. Some of you may remeber my outright hatred for Ankiel a couple of years ago. I believe the phrase "Rick Ankiel should f#ck himself" probably came out of my mouth a few times. However, now that the guy is back and not throwing pitches that 20 feet out of the strike zone he is pretty much a stud. I am not going to go so far as to say I like him or I am on his bandwagon, but it cool to see a guy completely reapproach his game and turn into a good offensive player. His numbers are pretty ridiculous. I am however still waiting for him to throw one over the fence and kill a grandma in an attempt to throw out a runner at home.
3. Do the teams in the NL central realize that winning the division is a good thing? Sweet christ, will someone play like they want to win the division. At this point a string of wins by the Pirates would put them in contention, because lord knows Chi, STL, and MIL can't string together more than two wins in a row.
From The State That Brought You Tom Arnold...
U of I hopes books replace binges
Classes will shift to thwart 'Thirsty Thursdays'
From the article:
Iowa City, Ia. - The University of Iowa - where nearly 70 percent of students report binge drinking - will shift more mandatory classes to Fridays next spring to curb the "Thirsty Thursday" phenomenon in which students kick off alcohol-fueled, three-day weekends.
Looks like you may have to think twice before going to whatever the Iowa City version of Brazen Head is on Thursdays, Bad Bar.
Pete also contributed to this post.
Wednesday, September 05, 2007
re-joining the party
I'd like to be the first to wlecome me back.
From The Files Of Captain Obvious...
Study: Rock stars more likely to die young
From the article:
Researchers at Liverpool John Moores University, whose report appeared in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, studied a sample of North American and British rock and pop stars and concluded they are more than twice as likely to die a premature death as ordinary citizens of the same age.
Well, thank YOU, Liverpool John Moores University! I mean, Christ: did you really need to STUDY this?
I guess it should not be too surprising: the man who the University is named after--John Moores--made all his money from starting a sportsbook in England. So I am guessing that intellectual supremacy is not exactly on the docket at ol' John Moores; rather, they study cool shit like this. I can imagine the convo going something like this:
Student: "Professor, I have an idea for a study."
Prof.: "Go on..."
Student: "Well, you see--we all know that rock starts kick ass and burn out--never fade away, right?"
Prof.: "Umm hmmm..."
Student: Well, Professor, intellectuals like you and I know this, but how do we quantify this information?"
Prof.: "I think I see where you're going with this, Young Scholar!"
Student: "Let's do a University-funded study where we PROVE rock stars party hard and die young!"
Prof.: "Brilliant, Young Scholar! You know, Scholar, I sometimes sit around and feel like I am stealing getting paid for this job. And with this study? Well, I may as well be. Let's go off for some tea and crumpets!"
Anyways, happy Wednesday.
Tuesday, September 04, 2007
I think Nebraska handles Wake Forest but doesn't put up near as many points this week. I'm saying 31-17 good guys. Running game won't be nearly as effective but we get a few big throws. Keller has something like 275 yards and 3 TDs with 2 INTs. D looks good again.