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Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Here we go again.

Last Saturday, November 15th, Nebraska participated in a football game against the Wisconsin Badgers.  It was not a good game for Cornhusker fans.  Normally, I try to maintain perspective, and keep a positive attitude, but it is difficult.  Against Michigan State Nebraska played well enough to win, sure, maybe the Spartans were overrated, and yes, maybe they  fell asleep in the 4th quarter, but to me the game was summed up in the thought "boy, had we played the rest of the game like we played the 4th quarter we would have won."  That could be the delusion of a fan, but it might be true, it is impossible to say which is correct.  But, Saturday there was no such illusion.

Yes, we had a 14 point lead, but it was mostly a gift, from the Badgers, Welcome to Madison, here have a couple of touchdowns.  After that it couldn't end quickly enough.  The Cornhuskers couldn't block, and they couldn't get away from blockers.  Melvin Gordon ran right, left, up the middle, right into serious Heisman contention, and it seemed like the Blackshirts never got close enough to see the number on the jersey.  "Who was that guy?"  I realize that they may get their Blackshirts pulled this week, but I am not sure that addresses the real problem.

On the plus side the defense only gave up 46 yards passing, and three third down conversions.  Those are bright statistics on a very dark day.  If only we could look at those in a vacuum.

Ameer Abdullah, who is the epitome of a student athlete, and Tommy Armstrong were hurried, harassed, and rushed all night.  Sometimes it seemed like the Badgers were lining up in the backfield with the Nebraska offense.  Yes, they had problems, but mostly, they were caused by constant, grinding, inescapable pressure, that kept coming, play after play, like the tide.

Earlier this year, I made the foolish statement Nebraska was the most underrated team in the top twenty.  It was a brash, silly statement, based on hopes, and dreams, and wishes.  Of course, I remembered the losses to Minnesota, and Iowa, that were really not as close as the score might indicate, the terrifying meltdown at UCLA, the narrow escape against Wyoming, and that was only 2013.  Also, I recall the superman like heroics of #FearAmeer, that saved the game against McNeese state, but hope springs eternal.  Now, I feel a little silly. It is foolish to overestimate our distance or difference from the past.

Particularly after reading the comments of the coaching staff after the shellacking on Saturday.  What happened, "I don't know." was the mantra coming from the coach, the offensive and defensive coordinators.  Isn't that their job to know?  I don't know, to be certain, I am nothing but a humble blogger, but they make a pretty decent living to understand the mechanics of a football game.

It wasn't an act of God that carried Melvin Gordon to a new record.  It wasn't an act of nature, it was something Wisconsin did, that Nebraska did not counter.  "I don't know."  Is really not a very good answer.  I would have been happier had one of them said, "I am just as upset as the fans, and the press, and I swear that it will not happen again, not on my watch."  But, they all mentioned the past wins, and the future games, without addressing the problems of the present.  And, to be sure the future is important, Saturday's game against Minnesota looks huge, and the Seniors class deserves a big win.  And the past is what all Nebraska fans cling to, in these troubled waters.  But, the constant claims of ignorance are beginning to irritate.

I am not sure what the best course of action, it is hard to justify firing a coach who wins with such workmanlike regularity.  But, it is difficult to watch games when you have to worry about such a one sided spectacle, and it is like the cold weather, you know it is coming, you are just not sure when it will arrive.  This is a dilemma that Athletic Directors must face.  There is no easy answer, but it is time for a change, there is no doubt, this is too awful to contemplate.  Fans really expect and deserve, better, players need to know that they will not be on the wrong side of new records.  There is a lot at stake with your decision, Mr. Eichorst.  And fans everywhere wait, with very little patience.

To quote the immortal Bob Dylan;

"The watchmen he lay dreaming,
Of all the things that can be,
He dreamed the Titanic was sinking,
Into the deep blue sea."