Friday, October 7, 2016

27 Shots to the Dome

Thanks to Hurricane Matthew and some cancelled work travel plans, PYB is able to offer some random thoughts following last week's Nebraska-Illinois football game. Hopefully, it provides some off-week filler for a weekend where NU sits idle while preparing for its monster showdown against Indiana on October 15.

-Michael Rose-Ivey continued his four+-year career as a program mouthpiece early in the week, making a seven-minute statement about his choice to kneel during the national anthem prior to his team's mediocre effort at Northwestern. Since making that choice, he's logged eight tackles, prolonging his penchant for providing more meaningless talk than he does impactful results.

PYB would prefer he make more plays on the field, and tweet fewer mid-week platitudes off it. But hey, everyone has a right to free speech in America - fuck yeah - regardless of how inconsequential that speech is to actually impacting the bottom line.

As for the statement itself, it was uncomfortable bordering on disastrous, read at breakneck speed, eyes down, with one respite made to slosh water all over the podium during an impromptu water break. PYB would think that NU's Sports Information Department would have provided its student-athlete with more training prior to making such a high-profile appearance, at least enough so that the awkward moments didn't detract from the valid points Rose-Ivey made. It would have also been wise for the SID and the player to validate the blanket statements that MR-I made that painted the entire university and state of Nebraska as racist entities. Better luck to them both next time.

Moving on to the game itself, and away from shunning independent thought and using athletes and movie stars as our political and civil rights role models.....

-Chris Jones again dubbed himself "Lockdown U," despite not being very good at cornerback and continuing to not make plays against subpar competition. The media and meaningless award-hander-outers joined in the fray. Early season All-American teams sound like a good idea. What 'analytics' could this group possibly have that would allow them to evaluate every player on all 110+ teams in one month? Did they watch the Wyoming game? Jones has 13 tackles, four passes broken up and two interceptions in five games against teams with a combined 9-14 record.

Using this methodology, could we name Bo Van Pelt a 40-time 'early PGA tournament champion'? The Atlanta Braves a 10-time 'early season World Series Champion'? Ben Roethlisberger a two-time 'early rape' convict? Possibilities abound....

-Mid-game, PYB received a Twitter education from one Damon Benning, former Elementary Education major, who claimed that Terrell Newby was being 'sudden' in the hole -- whatever the fuck that means.

Benning, the same person who claimed on national television that Lawrence Phillips was framed for a 2015 murder in a California prison, bristled at our innocuous reply to said tweet, exposing a mental softness that is likely the reason he couldn't stay on the field as a player while at Nebraska.

The only evidence he provided was a video that showed Newby make one cut and fall forward for a six-yard gain. The video also showed a hole to the left that an elite back with good cutback ability would have seen and darted through for a long gain.

Benning also said that he preferred the way Newby ran through holes over the way Pittsburgh Steeler Le'Veon Bell did so. That's the same Le'Veon Bell that ran for 144 yards on 18 attempts a night later against the Kansas City, an NFL team. That's the Chiefs, not Illini -- but that's another racist story for another day. That's eight yards a carry. That's also the same Le'Veon Bell that ran for nearly 1800 yards his senior year at Michigan State.

Newby ran for 140 yards on 27 carries, a 5.2-yard average. Without Illinois Head Coach Lovie Smith reminding everyone why he got fired from two NFL jobs and punting the ball down just one score with three minutes remaining and gifting Nebraska a final possession , it was 77 yards and 2.96 yards per carry.

As we've often stated, PYB holds no ill will toward Newby and roots for the kid. He's an outstanding pass catcher, hampered with a quarterback who had not been able to complete a simple screen pass for three seasons until this season -- and this season only about 60 percent of the time.

But, for Benning to portray Newby as having elite abilities is both disingenuous and dishonest, and signals that he has an ulterior motive. Damon, please tell us you brought more to the table to prop up an argument that anyone who's watched Newby the last 3.5 seasons can tell has no merit. You'll need more than that, and a thinly veiled "I can discount your opinion with some smarm and vague psychological references, because I was a third-string running back in college" strategy. Hell, Desmond Howard won the Heisman Trophy and is a weekly laughing stock due to his weak analysis and ridiculous prognostications on each ESPN College Gameday episode.

Anyway, Benning and PYB have planned a film session for the next time we travel to Nebraska. It will be an occasion to behold, as two Nebraska alums in their early 40s get together to talk football and trade differing opinions. We'll come equipped with a notebook and an open mind, as we try to soak up as much knowledge as possible during a rare chance to pick the brain of someone with an 0-27 record as a head football coach. Recapping, that's 27 games and zero wins.

-As mentioned earlier, Smith showed everyone that he was not only in over his head twice as an NFL head coach, but may also be as a college coach. Showing complete detachment from how college and professional football differ, and forgetting that his Illinois team sucks and got blasted by a MAC team a week earlier and that he did not have an NFL defense with Warren Sapp, John Lynch or Brian Urlacher, he actually defended his decision to punt the ball back to Nebraska trailing 24-16 with three minutes remaining in the game. Nice guy, good coordinator, bad head coach. On the bright side, Andy Reid and Frank Solich loved hearing about Smith's late-game call.

-Looking at the big picture, Nebraska has been OK, but not great. Sluggish wins against bad teams like Northwestern and Illinois are unimpressive but would have likely been bad losses against bad teams the past couple years. Concerns, though, are plenty and may provide motivation for NU to ignore its inflated ranking and to concentrate on weekly improvement. PYB's short list of concerns:
  • The Shit-the-Bed Factor - NU finding continued ways to shoot itself in the foot. The Cornhuskers' turnover margin is -2 the last two games, and Tommy Armstrong threw another bad interception.
  • Lackluster competition - Oregon's continued slide downward takes the shine off  Nebraska's win over the Ducks, and struggling into the fourth quarter against Wyoming and two pathetic Big 14 teams is cause for concern.
  • Injuries - The offensive line is dinged, and Nebraska's two most consistent top-level receiving threats, Jordan Westerkamp and Cethan Carter, are out and their current odds of returning soon appear shaky. That said, the team's physical conditioning seems much improved. The players don't look fat and there is not one writhing in pain on the ground after every other play. #BoWasFine
  • Running back - Injuries and ball security issues add more pressure to a group without a top-level, three-down player.
  • Tackling - Has been inconsistent. Is more rugby training needed? How much does the Level II Seminar cost the NU Athletic Department?  Did the team complete Level I?
  • Kicking Game - The legs at punter and placekicker are unproven at best, and more likely a full-blow weakness by season's end.
-All of the above make PYB wary as NU heads to Bloomington next week to play the Hoosiers. Indiana, fresh off an upset win over fading Michigan State, certainly has the wares to beat a Nebraska team that has struggled to various degrees in every game so far against suspect opponents. Enjoy the ride.

Moving on to a few non-Nebraska football one-hitters:

Ryder Cup - Great action over the weekend, coupled with an American team that hit better shots and had more likeable players with some guts. Gone were pussies and known chokers like Steve Stricker, Jim Furyk, Webb Simpson, and Hunter Mahan. In their stead, and being more clutch, more likeable, or both were players like Patrick Reed, Brooks Koepka and Ryan Moore. Hell, even Phil Mickelson joined the fray and played well.

Crime Beat - Boulder, Colo. police shot dead a machete-wielding nut on the University of Colorado campus Wednesday. PYB poses two questions:
  1. Why is the new complex at CU's Folsom Field named the "Champions Center"? Outside of the Colorado State Championship, the Bluffs haven't won anything in more than a decade.
  2. Why aren't losers rioting after the death of this white male in his 20s?
NFL Beat - On a lighter note, PYB is a long-time Philadelphia Eagles fan and New York Giants hater. However, we'll always secretly root for New York's new head coach, Ben McAdoo, in hopes that he keep his job and enables us to continue with a litany of  'Sleeping With the Enemy' jokes for years to come.
Images included here as visual aids, but one really must see a live sideline shot of McAdoo, complete with poorly sculpted mustache and 1980s snap-up windbreaker, in the midst of another Giants beating. Priceless.

Finally, Week 5 of the NFL started in fine form last night. PYB beamed like a proud father, as he watched the G.A.B.B.E.R.T. system spread its way to yet another team. Arizona, led by Drew Stanton, beat the Blaine-Gabbert-led 49ers 33-21. The two quarterbacks passed 59 times for 251 yards -- 4.25 yards per attempt -- less than Le'Veon Bell career 4.4 yards per rushing attempt. Gabbert has been so bad, to noone's surprise, that early-morning radio personalities have penciled in Colin Kaepernick to start San Francisco's next game. We've come full circle.

We're gone. Enjoy your off week. For now, bow down, to the kings in Raider hats...


Thursday, September 22, 2016

Quack It Up, Quack It In

PYB apologizes for the delay in recapping Nebraska's momentous win over Oregon last Saturday. We were unavoidably delayed by a Sunday fly-out for work, then understandably distracted by scumbags rioting in Charlotte because they were mad a guy with seven kids and arrest record dating back to 1990 got shot by an African-American cop for pulling out a book that looked like a Glock on said cop. And who said Colin Kaepernick's pointless form of protest wasn't making a difference. Throw in his protests, along with his huge Afro, and you've got MLK-Level social changes in the making.

We'll share some snippets for this week, as it's doubtful that we'll have an update on NU's annually disappointing performance against Northwestern, due to an upcoming golf trip and more work travel. We have no doubt, however, that Pat Fitzgerald is dusting off his pawns and rooks, while Tommy Gun and Mike Riley fight over the red and black checkers.

Anyway, let's get down to business. The thoughts below come without a second viewing of the game tape and in full disclosure that we watched the game in illogical fan mode and spent the last five minutes of game clock juggling taking a dog that had to piss outside with a pissed-off wife that was ready to leave for an anniversary dinner in Uptown (aka downtown) Charlotte. It was a good thing we made it there before this week's riots, or our after-dinner Cognac, the drink that's drank by Gs, would have been just a pipe dream.

  • Riley did his best he could to overrate his opponent early in the game and give away the game in the process. Going for it on fourth down instead of punting made it apparent that the NU coach had no idea that this was a non-vintage Oregon team, with a shaky-at-best transfer quarterback from the second-best of two FCS schools in Montana leading the Ducks' offense and starting running back Royce Freeman already departed due to injury.
  • Punter Caleb Lightbourn picked a good time to make his first good punts at the college level. In fact, he made multiple and kicked five times for a 47.2-yard average. At least a couple benefitted from lucky bounces, but no style points are required here. Nebraska will need for that to continue the rest of the season.
  • Nate Gerry blew enough assignments throughout the game to keep PYB wondering if he is indeed point shaving. It's either that, or he's clueless about assignments, or he's just headhunting - concerned more about the big hit than game results. Or a combination of all three. If he doesn't adjust, he'll lose NU a game before 2016 is over.
  • Cornerback Chris Jones, who hasn't locked down any receiver during his tenure at NU and just days after being embarrassed by Wyoming, took Oregon week as a chance to proclaim Nebraska as Lockdown U. He then took game day as a chance to embarrass himself again, as he was outclassed by the Ducks' superior athleticism and speed. PYB would almost be fine with Jones' being no good, if he'd keep his mouth shut.
  • Was Lamar Jackson still hurt or benched? If not hurt, at least a few snaps would have been valuable experience, especially considering he could not have botched coverages worse than Jones did at times.
  •  Despite giving up plenty of big plays and yards to the Ducks, the Nebraska defense may be on the verge of trading its Skirts for Shirts. The unit pressures the quarterback more consistely. It tackles better, yet still far from perfectly. It takes better pursuit angles. It has more depth. It has more speed. Who the hell knew this would be helpful? We were fine.
  • Brandon Reilly was too injured to swerve through traffic against Oregon, but he was not too injured to wear a sleeveless shirt on the sidelines and celebrate with those who did play in the locker room after the game. Question: Does he have a mid-temperature shirt selection to bridge the gap in the fall when it's too cold for sleeveless and still too warm for the full hoodie?
  • The win was so awesome, in fact, that Nebraska's cutting-edge athletic department (Iron N logo, with a side of Script Huskers, anyone?) released a video featuring a 20-year-old rap tune that was horrible when it came out. With all the possible options from 1990s rap, PYB can't believe NU chose Let Me Clear My Throat. Did nobody consider It Ain't No Fun (If the Homies Can't Have None)? What about Deez Nuts? Blowjob Betty? Would Coolio not release the rights to Fantastic Voyage? What about Jump Around? Moving on....
  • It was nice to see that Nebraska's offensive line dominated Oregon in the second half. It became apparent that NU could reach into the chest of the Ducks' defense, remove its heart and stomp on it. They could control the clock, and limit the number of chances Oregon had to spring big plays around a soft defensive edge and past Lockdown U and Nate Gerry. For those reasons, PYB was especially pleased when NU Offensive Coordinator Danny Langsdorf decided to forego Devine Ozigbo's pounding run style for an entire second-half series, opting instead for a first-down run by a quarterback with severe leg cramps, followed by two throws by the same cramped-up quarterback who displays sporadic accuracy and questionable decision making even when not limited by injury. Fucking A. Luckily, the result was a one-yard run and two knuckleballs into the turf, when disaster was the more likely result. It was indeed Nebraska's day.
  • De'Mornay Pierson-El turned the tide of the game with his first-half punt return and reminded NU fans of his game-changing abilities. Unfortunately, he also reminded NU fans that he's the only home-run threat on the Husker roster.
  • In the end, Tommy Armstrong rose from the dead, shook off the cramps, and returned to Hero Ball form just in time for the game winning drive. Sure, he laid a turd early in the game with another horrendous screen pass. In fact, Nebraska's screen pass game reverted to 2015 form and will be a real concern if Armstrong can't execute it against good teams. This particular screen pass was so bad that it went backward and resulted in a 14-point swing when Oregon recovered the fumble scored from 50-yards out one play later. 
  • All in all, he completed just over 50% of his passes for 200 yards and 6.6 yards per attempt against a suspect defense that will likely prove subpar over the course of the season. But, such is life with Armstrong at the helm. His Devil-may-care/I-don't-know-any-better style will lose a game or three in 2016. But for a day, he and Husker fans earned a reprieve and got to celebrate a much-needed win by an opponent that was much stronger in national branding and reputation than it was on the field. 
  • But hell, that's the Oregon way. And Nebraska needed this win in the worst way. It put to bed its consecutive loss streak in games described as "if we can just win this game, we will be X-0 heading into the next game on the schedule against a team with a pulse and we could be rated #X by then." Niles Paul, Texas Tech and Cody Green firing pass after pass into triple coverage, anyone? What happened to the good times?
Finally, PYB offers some non-Nebraska football bonus coverage:
  • After watching him throw a backbreaking interception in the endzone Sunday against Dallas, it's nice to see that Kirk Cousins is still Kirk Cousins and can still provide fans with endless comic relief. That fact that he got overpaid by Washington this offseason makes it more priceless. Maybe Dan Snyder should trade a few first rounders for Connor Cook.
  • PYB hates the Minnesota Vikings. Mostly because we ignore them and the entire state of Minnesota, we'd forgotten they had a new stadium. We'd forgotten because of that, and because the new field looked like it had been painted by a middle-school art class just like the old field did. The old field was the league's biggest embarrassment for thirty years running (narrowly edging the Raiders' half-baseball field, which is so bad, it's nostalgically good).
  • Another question is why did Adrian Peterson, after hurting his knee, have to hobble past beer-swilling fans down a hallway with the help of two trainers? Did architects botch this when designing the stadium? Seriously, there is no way for a cart to wheel him to the locker and/or X-Ray rooms?
  • The bad news, of course, is that Peterson is out for the year with a torn LCL. The good news is that time away from football will allow him to spend more time with his eight kids. Or maybe that's not so good news. If that is indeed his plan, PYB hopes he has a lot of frequent flyer miles saved. And remember AP, pack the Trojans, as you're one more knee injury away from zero income.
  • NDSU beat Iowa. No worries, all the Hawkeyes' "real" goals are intact: Big 14 West title. Rose Bowl. Not losing to a MAC team.
We're gone for now. We'll return as soon as possible. But, in the meantime, remember if you're out rioting and looting your neighbor's business, make sure not to run across a cop and make extra sure not to let it be a black and a white one. Cause they'll slam you, down to the street top, black po-lice showing out for the white cop.

Happy Thursday.


Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Tommy Dangerously

Nebraska's 52-17 win over Wyoming Saturday did little to impress Husker Nation and did less to calm its fears that 2016 would turn out just like the last 10 versions of the Traveling Turnover Machine that has become NU football.

Sure, a 35-point win looks good on paper. Nebraska covered. Its starting quarterback set the school record for career touchdown passes and got a game ball and a hug from his touchy-feely coach. Balloons soared across the Lincoln sky, before eventually wafting into Iowa, popping and choking local wildlife. Ross Dzuris got continued media props as a difference make, after picking up a ball and running three yards with it following a fumble recovery.

But none of it mattered after quarterback Tommy Armstrong dug deep into the bowels of Taylor Martinez's "Quarterbacking for Dummies" and threw a horrendous, drive-killing, first-and-goal, in-the-end-zone, Big-12-Championship-game-ahead-17-0-against-Oklahoma-type interception. So, instead of taking a commanding 14-point second-quarter lead, NU put itself in yet another dogfight with another undertalented and overmatched opponent, whose motivation to win came primarily from all its players and coaches ignored and/or done wrong by the Big Red program.

Only because Wyoming quarterback Josh Allen bested Armstrong's Martinez impression late in the second half, did the Huskers escape with what appeared to outsiders to be an easy win. Allen embarrassed his team with a rapid-fire succession of turnovers, last seen during national-television performances in the T-Ragic era.

In this era of watered-down football, is a win a win? Yep. Is it reason for Nebraska fans to hold their breath until this year's Cornhuskers prove they can play four good, smart, error-free quarters of football against a good team? Yep. A win over a non-vintage-but-still-ranked Oregon team would qualify, and would be NU's first triumph over a rated non-conference opponent since 2001.

That win came against Notre Dame, when Frank Solich could have driven the Fighting Irish into the ground, pissed on them, and given his program some much-needed inspiration but decided against it. After taking a halftime lead of 27-3, Solich instead laid off, let Notre Dame outscore his team 7-0 after halftime and crafted one of the most boring second stanzas in history as a special treat to Nebraska fans that had shelled out hundreds and thousands of dollars for hard-to-find tickets for this once-in-a-lifetime event. Great job, Rat. Pure genius, program killer.

On with a few more random takes, since we have to get back to work since our Sunday writing time was interrupted by a last-second visit to the community swimming pool and a birthday party for the three-year-old kid next door. At least there was free beer provided and football on the television. Here's to Mondays and three-beer hangovers.

  • Terrell Newby showed he can contribute to NU's offense, when Armstrong hit him in stride with three accurate passes in the same game. Those accurate passes allowed Newby to run in open space, where he's not required to make a cut, elude tacklers or run through contact to gain yardage. Keep it up, guys.
  • Armstrong continues to look slow one game and fast the next. In fact, that seems to change carry by carry. Whatever.
  • PYB likes the Blackshirts' depth at defensive back. Sure, the group is far from perfect in coverage, but has more speed than it has in the last decade and at least a couple players that can tackle. That's a start.  After reviewing the Fresno State tape, we were impressed by Lamar Jackson's sure tackling. Of course, he missed most of Saturday's game with a groin pull. NU needs to get him as many snaps as possible to develop as a cover corner, especially considering Chris Jones' continued difficulty in making anything resembling a play on a ball thrown to an opposing receiver. 
  • After two games, Caleb Lightbourn has posted a 34.1-yard punting average. That needs to improve drastically and quickly. If it doesn't, it will cost Nebraska wins. Tough spot for a freshman thrown into the mix at the last minute, but NU needs him.
  • The fake punt against Wyoming was there for the taking but was ill-timed, pointless, and an utter fucking disaster. That said, the net punt on that play wasn't much less than a few other attempts so far in 2016.
  • PYB wants to see an opposing punter actually kick a ball far enough so that a Nebraska returner can catch the ball and run with it. NU needs De'Mornay Pierson-El to rekindle his gamebreaking abilities, and giving him token opportunities on reverses and spot screens isn't cutting the mustard.
  • Armstrong completed 58% of his passes and threw three touchdowns, but nobody in the stadium or watching on television cared, because of the awful interception (one of his career-worst) and because they want to see such production against a better team in a meaningful game.
  • Perhaps they were also concerned that NU ran 43 times for 170 yards for 3.2 yards a carry. Yeah, right, the Cowboys put eight in the box. We've heard that for 30 years. Three yards per against bad teams won't get it done, especially when passing chances for the scatter-armed Armstrong are tougher later in the season against the mediocre-to-good teams.
  • Brandon Reilly had the longest run of the game for Nebraska, at 12 yards. This time, he looked good swerving through traffic. Now his hamstring is busted. His nice 46-yard grab was overturned by replay after being correctly called as a catch on the field. College officials continue to impress, right Okie State? Most importantly, what temperature is it cold enough for him to break out the hoodie again this year?
Will Nebraska ever change for the better? On Saturday, Armstrong both dazzled and disappointed. On Sunday, RG3 Griffin, adorned with his precious man bun,
broke like the fragile China Doll he is. On Monday, Blaine Gabbert threw for 170 yards on 35 attempts and a sub-five-yard-per-attempt average.

Some things are meant to be.

All for now. Enjoy your week of local media overkill, hammering you with the last 15 years of Oregon Ducks vs. Riley's Beavers analysis.


Sunday, September 4, 2016

Can't Be Stopped

PYB has multiple reasons to rejoice this Labor Day weekend. Those reasons include, but are not limited to, the fact that the Philadelphia Eagles dumped the biggest pussy to play quarterback in the NFL in years and got a first- and fourth-round pick in the process. Chipmunk Chase Daniel is mad that Carson Wentz leapfrogged him for the starting position, so hopefully he's stored enough acorns in his chubby cheeks to keep him warm on the sidelines on the cold falls days ahead.

And Texas is BACK -- just ask ESPN -- after winning a game at home against Notre Dame, a 4.5-point favorite. On with the show, where we'll jump in with some randomly quick thoughts. A win where Nebraska held serve (first-ever PYB tennis reference) against a crappy Fresno State team deserves nothing more.

  • Local media outlets fawned, as always, over Nebraska's proven mediocrity, claiming Terrell Newby's performance was a 'night-and-day' difference from 2015. That, when even a casual fan can see he's the fourth-best running back in a four-man rotation and that he simply doesn't have the juice. Statistics support it. Newby ran for 5.1 yards a carry, while his two backups ran for more than six and seven yards a tote, respectively. Add that to rave reviews for Ross Dzuris, who did nothing for PYB but bring back flashes of Mike Petko. We'll watch the tape later today to make sure he's not the next Grant Winstrom, just in case we're being hasty with our negativity. 

  •  We were glad to see De'Mornay Pierson-El not involved in the game, sent to timeout after fumbling a handoff in the first half. All the while, Jordan Westerkamp keeps getting the call to run back and ensure NU's punt return game remains a non-factor. Considering special teams can sway games in a team's favor, we're happy that Nebraska continues to ignore that phase of the game. Jason Garrett would be mortified.
  • Most concerning in our eyes was the lack of explosiveness on the offensive end. Very few home-run hitters, especially at running back. With Tommy Armstrong throwing just 10 passes, who knows about the receiving corps.
  • That said, we were also glad to see that tight end Cethan Carter caught zero passes.
  • The Big Ten Conference made a statement Saturday, winning three games against MAC opponents and losing JUST one. #BIG
  • Nebraska lined up in a cheesy extra-point formation, allegedly something they'd installed to maximize Sam Foltz's athletic ability. After  his death, they opted to keep it in. Following NU's touching delay-of-game tribute, followed by Fresno State's declining of that penalty, what better way to repay an opponent's classy gesture than by going for two with a 34-10 lead. DOUBLE EXTRA POINT! DOUBLE EXTRA POINT!!
  • Nebraska defenders racked up two targeting penalties, and one ejection. Both were bullshit. Luke Gifford's was for patty-caking the Fresno quarterback, and Aaron Williams' was for hitting a defender in the shoulder on a crossing route inside the 10-yard line. Williams was also justifiably flagged for his embarrassing post-hit flexoff. PYB was under the impression that NU was going to use rugby techniques to solve all tackling woes this season. Guess not.
  • Devine Ozigbo was the best Cornhusker running back Saturday night, running for 103 yards on 17 carries.  NU will still need to find a change-of-pace back that can score from distance.
  • PYB hopes punter Caleb Lightbourn improves quickly, or a weak special teams unit will become a full-blown achilles heel.
  • Kieron Williams looked good, playing fast and with fury and hitting with authority. NU will need that in all 12 games, as well as in the Big 10 Championship and the two BCS playoff games.
  • Lamar Jackson got torched on multiple occasions. He looked athletic, however, and PYB hopes for rapid improvement from the freshman cornerback. Hell, he can't be worse than Nebraska's recent crop of defensive backs, so there's hope there. As a whole, the defense looked more capable and faster -- we'll see how that plays against a mediocre team in the coming weeks.
  • Random question: How can all 100+ teams in college football have the "Best Fans in College Football"? Is it for the same reason that every religion believes in its God, even though there are thousands of religions worldwide. We're fucking confused.
PYB is back, you say? Just like Texas, we never left.

All for now. Enjoy your holiday.

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Clearing Our Throat

PYB was asked yesterday if we planned to do a season preview. Not likely, we replied. Even less likely this morning.

  • Less likely, because how would one ever compete with this gem by Tom Shatel?
  • To back up that masterpiece, the Omaha World-Herald sports staff wasted its down time between NFL mock drafts to make these predictions about Nebraska's 2016 football season.
  • PYB is not going to stand for national anthems in games involving Colin Kaepernick. Everyone's favorite Blaine Gabbert backup has been oppressing gamblers and football fans since he was a bad quarterback at Nevada. We believe the furor is not as much about the stance that he took, but more about the fact that he's so fucking stupid he has no idea what he's protesting. We're sure Kaepernick has done all he can as a social activist up to this point, including donating millions to black communities nationwide, and this was a last resort to bring attention to his cause.....right? Right?
  • Tony Romo injured again - Is any commentary necessary? 
  • Got 20 more minutes to waste? Read this surface piece by Sam McKewon. It includes the same cliche characterizations of NU Head Coach Mike Riley, thankfully fewer 50-cent words than normal from McKewon but enough Macromedia Flash to make your computer shit all over itself. (Random request from PYB to websites across the country: Spend less time making fancy presentations, since they don't work worth a damn on laptops or mobile devices and more time on developing compelling content.
  • NU has received a commitment from the 19th tight end in the last two years. Maybe the coaching staff will use this one before the sixth loss of his junior season.
  • DJ Kool came to Nebraska's Bonedance Bash yesterday. Were the Baha Men booked already? 
  • Freshman receiver Derrion Grim quit. PYB translation: smallish receiver already losing reps to another freshman = not as good as advertised, scared to compete, likely more scared to block and/or play physically enough to survive in the rugged Big 14 = quit and run home before resurfacing at Sacramento State in 2017. #perseverance
  • If you've had enough of meaningless content, dive in to real facts and figures with this hard-hitting piece
If none of the links above are enough to impress you, the OWH has rolled about 77 other links into its less-than-stunning college football preview. PYB's preview: Vegas has set NU's season win total at 8.5. Knowing the Cornhuskers' penchant to block poorly against good teams and to play bad defense and to rely too much on a quarterback with reliability issues, we're taking the unders at +105.

For the 2016 season, we'll try to be more reliable about posting than non-captain Tommy Armstrong is on a fourth-quarter drive. No guarantees. For now, we've got to go. ESPN Sportscenter is on, and so far we've learned that some guy won his UFC fight last night by using a Guillotine Choke and that the World Wide Leader has never seen a PGA professional use the toe of a putter from greenside rough. Apparently, the same producers that included such a feat in today's Top 10 plays are the same that are mesmerized by every one of Queen James' one-hand slam dunks. Anyone having trouble visualizing the aforementioned putting technique can refer to the GIF that came up during an actual Google images search.

For now, we're gone.


Thursday, April 14, 2016

It's Faaaaantastic

PYB woke up this morning, feeling compelled to put pen to paper, after a long and unfortunate break between posts that will likely be followed by another long and unfortunate break. Here goes:

-Kobe Bryant went out on top last nite, ending his career by scoring 60 points on just 50 shots! What memories!! The night began with a contrived tribute from Jack Nicholson on the big screen. Then as many shots as some starting pitchers thrown in a five-inning baseball outing- 50 to get 60! Twenty one three point attempts. Six made. Twelve free throws.

A fake final chapter for a fake player with fake titles (series vs. Kings, anyone?), a fake smile, a fake nickname, fake marriage and a fake wife before she became his ex-wife. There was, of course, a very real rape allegation that went Poof! like a cloud of weed smoke in the Colorado air. Congrats Kobe -- you must be proud.

Sadly, for most of the end of his tenure, he was one of the few real killers left in the NBA. A player who you absolutely knew was going to make the shot when you didn't want him to. Possibly the only real killer for several years until Steph Curry came along.

Speaking of Curry and the Golden State Warriors -- if someone had to break the Chicago Bulls 72-10 season record, PYB is glad it's them instead of a bunch of overrated dickbags (See: Los Angeles Laker/Miami Heat championship teams) who wouldn't have stood a chance against Michael Jordan in any circumstance in a seven-game series.

The Warriors, on the other hand, have proven for two seasons that they can just throw up three after three and make them from almost anywhere at a high percentage. They play instead of preen. They're talked about but far from an overblown media sensation. If, however, you're going to try to convince us that Draymond Green would be the X Factor in a series against that Bulls team, and that Chicago would have no answer for him, you'll have to try harder than that.

Finally, speaking of overblown media sensations, Queen James sat out Wednesday night -- a night with two of the brightest spotlights in eons shining on his league. Fitting indeed, that Her Highness was on the bench in the name of Rest.

James must have felt befuddled, knowing that he has no chance to win another title with Golden State in the way. That he will never have the hateful killer instinct like Bryant and Jordan had. And that he's on the verge of being known more as a coach killer than a ring-bearing icon. Sorry, Queen, you get you pay for.

One football note: kickoff is only five months away, and Nebraska fans will be happy to know that their starting quarterback has matured greatly in the four months since last season and will make better decisions in the passing game. Sounds like Tommy Armstrong can now also complete screen passes. He even makes better decisions OFF the field, deciding to get married to his girlfriend after someone at a party at his house was accused of rape. Sounds logical.

Given that this is the third time PYB has heard the same bullshit April lines, we'll hope the results are different when the Cornhuskers have to prove their mettle in October while running the gauntlet of Purdue, Illinois and Rutgers. Anybody can do it in practice.

All for now.....PYB.

Saturday, January 30, 2016

A Children's Story

So little time, so little time. PYB pens just a few random thoughts after a month-long hiatus. Our real mission, of course, to soon pen some coherent thoughts about the Lawrence Phillips debacle. But little time, so many questions and, until then, just a few items that will hopefully put us back into a rhythm for 2016:

-Nebraska, one of the most perennially meaningless NCAA Division I basketball programs over the last 30 years, has a former player as an NBA head coach. A program that usually has between zero and two of the 400+ players in the league, now owns one of the 30 head-coaching slots. Amazing, we say.

Random as it is, it's true. However, as PYB roots for Tyronn Lue to succeed in Cleveland, we will always root for Queen Lebron James to fail. That is because James is the poster child for everything wrong with sports.

Couldn't win on his own in round one in Cleveland. Ran to Miami, and like another petulant prick at the YMCA on Saturday, stacked his team and doctored up two titles. Became an "icon" by "winning" two titles, ran back home so he could focus on building an empire and bullying his way around Cleveland. A town desperate enough to draft Johnny Manziel and then not cut him after two years of beer-bonging and bottle-servicing his way around the country, would surely bow down to the Queen with little effort, right?

Once in Cleveland, James didn't want to listen to his coach, who apparently expected to do more than Erik Spoelstra did in Miami while deferring to Her Highness. Got coach fired in favor of Lue, his friend, and then seethed at the nerve of the media to even insinuate he's a coach killer. Fuck, Jason Kidd might even accuse Queen James of being a coach killer this time around.

As much as James tried to spin it to the contrary, it's quite apparent he's no on-court killer, no winner. PYB loves that James lauds his own 'high basketball IQ' when he can't even make two consecutive free throws in the clutch. Depending on your perspective, blatantly ignoring one's manager is either a sign of high IQ or insubordination.

So, Lue's future sits in the hands of a spoiled brat, concerned more about his image than he is about leading a winning franchise and empowering teammates to be their best. Being their best and taking the Cavaliers to a level where they could compete with Golden State. Ain't gonna happen.

Lue knows the cards are stacked against him, and has said as much. PYB knows that second chances to be an NBA head coach don't always come around, especially if the coach is black. If you're a scrub white coach, like George Karl, they come one after the other.

We wish you the best, Mr. Lue. But we won't expect it. Go Big Red.

--Speaking of the NBA and another of the league's little bitches..... Blake Griffin took a break from rehabbing his injury and spermanating Matt Leinart's baby momma, and beat up an equipment manager. A guy who's been known, since college, to bully and intimidate only those players much smaller and much less talented than he, while on the court has pushed his game to the next level by going studio gangster off the court and breaking his hand after consuming too many Midori Sours and pummeling a Los Angeles Clipper staffer in a restaurant brawl.

PYB longs for the good old days, when NBA tough guys threw hecklers through plate-glass windows. All we want for Christmas this year is to turn back the clock and see Griffin play one game in the paint against Charles Oakley and Xavier McDaniel.

--So much for Hefty being ready to charge back on to the PGA Tour scene after one top-five finish last week at the annual birdiefest in Palm Springs. PYB just hopes for one more run, reminiscent of Jack Nicklaus in 1986 in Augusta. Show us your tits, just one more time, Phil!

--PYB hopes that Cam Newton's team never makes the Super Bowl again. We're not even to game week yet, but we're already seven days into the "people call him a thug because he's black" saga. 24/7 on sports radio and at least one link per sports website page.

People actually don't like him because he stole a laptop at Florida, took money at Auburn while smiling smugly the whole time, took a pay cut to go to the NFL where he now acts like a jackoff on the field and has a nerdy celebration that he tries to pass off as cool. Raise the roof, anyone? And fuck off, sCam. Take a lesson from Vince Young and act like you've been there before!

--Wait! Speaking of Vince Young. Do you mean that the Longhorn Network hiring someone who blew all  the money he got from the University of Texas and the NFL and got into a strip club brawl a few years ago was a bad idea? The only worse idea -- keeping Young on staff after his DWI this week.

But let's keep in mind, the statement as to why UT kept Young came from one of its diversity officers and his trangressions are diverse. Lack of financial discipline. Engaging in the sex trade. Substance abuse. Endangering the citizens of Austin. Good job, Texas. You've become a turd on the field and are now one off the field.

That's all we've got. We hope to return soon.