Tuesday, October 28, 2014


The biggest news out of the Nebraska football camp this week was that everyone thought that Taylor Martinez was a sniveling cunt in his four years at Nebraska, and they're glad he's gone. They're much happier to be playing for a flawed-but-tough Tommy Armstrong. That is the most meaningful story from last week in Lincoln and includes the 42-24 win over Rutgers Saturday.

In short, there's no true news to report. Another hit-and-miss win against a mediocre team. NU plays another scrub team this week -- Purdue. At least it's not at 11am, and no crab grass in sight. We've got some quotes from Tim, and he can tank all night. As an aside, NU gave out 16 Blackshirts even though it has about five good players. 16 - 5 = 11.

Anyhow, we put a few notes on paper after watching the game on DVR. A game vs. Rutgers lost out to a round of golf on a Top 25 course. For now, we'll wait until Nebraska plays an average Wisconsin team in Madison to see if it has made any true progress.

On with the show:

Tim Beck: Just doesn't get it. He doesn't understand.  Why? Why? Why? This excerpt from the Omaha World Herald tells you why:

Beck: “No. You think every time we hand him the ball, he’s gonna run for 50? What if he runs for 2? Should they get frustrated, too, ’cause he didn’t run for 50? Is that the line’s fault then? Or is it his? Did he miss it? Or is it a bad play call because we should’ve ran the other way?

Nobody is saying Ameer Abdullah will score every time he touches that ball or that every run play should involve him. What they are saying is that after scoring easily on two long runs is that the next two drives should not be sacrificed in the name of the downfield pass. Use the tight end over the middle of the field. Use Imani Cross and Terrell Newby, who had 15 total carries, more. Get DeMornay Pierson-El a touch or two instead of zero. Keep moving forward. This team is not good enough to move without purpose and waste a full series (or two).

Drew Brown: Missed another routing field goal. Moving deep into the season, that's a glaring concern.

David Santos: PYB didn't watch the game live, but read tweets and texts saying how awful Santos was. Well, watching the game afterward and looking for it, it's obvious the kid is hurt and probably shouldn't be on the field.

Jake Cotton and Alex Lewis: Annoying penalty machines -- still.

Shotgun Snaps: Became a problem out of nowhere Saturday, as Mark Pelini decided to rocket the ball sideways for a while. Pelinis keep Nebraska fine. In an interesting side note, Nebraska has scored a touchdown on nine of its last 11 drives with Ryne Reeves at center.

Kenny Bell: Despite our intermittent criticism of Bell's post-drop injuries, we have to give her credit for continued outstanding effort while blocking downfield. Congratulations as well on the all-time receptions record. Niles Paul would have had it if his hands were bigger.

AP Ranking: Despite winning handily Saturday, Nebraska dropped from 16 to 17. Of course, pollsters had to make way for LSU to jump eight spots as a reward for scoring 10 points (at home) on a Mississippi team that made multiple critical strategy errors at the end of the game, including forgoing a chance to kick a tying field goal so they could instead throw an interception. PYB won't complain about that Pelini-esque boner, as it likely saved us thousands of dollars.

By the Numbers: We decided to take a look at the Big 14 football statistics this week, just in case some of our readers thought our posts too subjective. Things that caught our eye:

  • Nebraska is pretty good in all offensive categories, while pretty mediocre (against a bad schedule) in all defensive categories except pass efficiency defense. Apparently, not having many good linebackers or defensive backs will do that to a team.
  • NU is 11th of 14 teams in kickoff returns. Is having Abdullah on the unit still worth it?
  • The Blackskirts are tied for eighth in sacks. Not enough pressure on the quarterback. They'll need extreme pressure to win at both Wisconsin and Iowa. Can Private Pinelli dial up something special for those games? Holding our breath....kind of....
  • NU is 13th in penalty yards per game and still has a penchant for the wrong penalty at the wrong time. 
  • Sixth in turnover margin. Better than dead-fucking-last, we always say.
  • Abdullah is third in rushing yards per game by a large margin, but has the most carries.
  • Armstrong is second in total offense.

That'll do it for now. We'll go through the motions for another week along with the players and fans against a game-but-terrible Boilermaker team. We'll tune in and hope to avoid embarrassment in three weeks as Wisconsin dusts off its "Hits of the Very Early 1990s" CD and decides to Jump Around in Madison. Nebraska will enter that game after being idle on November 8, and hopefully, its coaches will use that as an opportunity to develop a strategy.

Certainly, if NU is paying its "defensive genius" coach $3 million a year, he'll have something brewing by November 15. Right? Right? Seven years in, and nobody can be sure.

Enjoy your week, and How 'Bout Them Cowboys?


Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Bill of Fair

Nebraska went into Ryan Field Saturday night and leaked oil the entire first half against a decidedly mediocre Northwestern Wildcat team. The Cornhuskers did what Bo Pinelli teams do for at least part of every football game. Nebraska made some rare mid-game adjustments and dominated the second half in a come-from-behind 38-17 victory.

That's not something Pinelli teams always do. So, regardless that the game was a slightly above average performance, and that NU wore its faggoty all-white uniforms, it's a win. Move on. Next crappy opponent Saturday at 11am. At least it won't be played on crab grass. As far as analysis, here's ours:

--Tommy Armstrong: Far from perfect. Can't hit a screen pass to save his ass. Misses wide-open receivers when not reading all five routes every pass play. Still accounted for 281 yards in a road game and racked up another win to run his record to 13-3 as a starter by our unofficial count. (Anyone else remember Taylor Martinez starting and losing at Minnesota last year after Armstrong began his career 3-0? We're fine).

On a macro level, Armstrong is completing 53.5 percent of his passes this season. A shocking statistic Saturday showed his receivers has dropped 17 passes this year. Add nine of those 17 as catches and he's at 58 percent. Add all 17, and it's 63%. Ten touchdowns. Five interceptions. 6-1.

Proof that the QB doesn't have to do it all and can rack up wins by taking opportunities as they come and not laying it on the ground 47 times a season. PYB asks a simple question when gauging whether NU has made progress over its previous starter at the QB position: Are we embarrassed to watch NU play offense because its leader lacks any semblance of fundamentals and looks like a pussy? The answer to that question is no, so the answer to the first question is a resounding YES.

--Ameer Abdullah: Emerged from his six-quarter 'slump' to prove that if he has a line that doesn't constantly blow assignments and kill drives with boneheaded penalties that he's a stud and will rush for well over 100 yards.

--Kenny Bell: Five catches for 89 yards. Four drops in the first half alone. The positive here is that he didn't fake any injuries after said drops. PYB would love to see him on the field the rest of the way, using his game-breaking skills and not writhing on the ground in FIFA-style pain or begging for a pass interference call.

--DeMornay Pierson-El: From day one, a natural football player with the 'it' factor. His raw talent showed first on punt returns. On Saturday, he showcased his receiving and running skills along with his passing touch. Despite getting little opportunity in the return game, he completely altered Northwestern's punt game for the worse -- and to Nebraska's advantage. Who knew special teams could be so important when playing at an opponent's stadium?

--Offensive Line: The backups came in and revolutionized the run game, allegedly. Either way, NU ran the ball well for the first time since the Illinois game. If true, it took the coaches seven games to find out their backups are better than their starters. Something doesn't add up. We'll go more in depth on the tape this week.

That said, Jake Cotton ruined the opening drive by failing to line up on the line because he had to pull his fat ass on the play, turning a 2nd and 2 into 1st & 15 and forcing an eventual punt. Not to be denied, he ruined another first-half drive that started at the Northwestern 43 by negating a long first-down run by Abdullah. Cotton Era ... tick, tick, tick...

--Special Teams: Drew Brown missed a 39-yard field goal after one of Bell's drops and kept the score 7-0 Northwestern. NU botched four consecutive squib kicks. The kick return unit should have adapted to the strategy after the first time. Apparently, all the concentration on punt returns this season has come at the expense of other special team units.

--Tim Beck: Stayed out of his way, for the most part, in Evanston and helped NU get what it needs more consistently against sportingly terrible road opponents (aka Northwestern). Establish the run game. Achieve a 60-40 run-pass split. Avoid turnovers. Mix playmakers into the pass game at opportune moments. Win the game -- in boring fashion if necessary. Leave town.

Outside of three-pass-and-out series at midfield in a tie game late in the first half, there were generally fewer Tim Beck "What the Fuck?" moments. Commendable progress.

--Andy Janovich: Looked great on a couple lead blocks on Abdullah touchdowns. Looked the same to PYB's un-Ohio-trained eye two years ago as a freshman. Heard absolutely nothing from him last year. Speaks volumes for the programs consistent model of inconsistency.

--Terrell Newby: Looked spry in his four carries and 23 yards. PYB wishes he got more opportunities, but it's clear he's the second running back after Abdullah -- if we ignore the sympathy carries Imani Cross gets during mop-up duty.

--Trevor Roach: Benched at the end of the first half for missing three tackles on one drive (which followed his QB sack at the 8:07 mark of the second quarter). Replaced by Josh Banderas who missed no tackles the rest of that drive because he didn't get close enough to any of the plays to miss a tackle. That said, two of Roach's misses were against Justin Jackson, who looked pretty darn good and who NU didn't offer a scholarship to after his visit to Lincoln. Private Pinelli mentioned that missing tackles is unacceptable in his post-halftime interview. It's been happening for five seasons. This all makes perfect sense.

--Corey Cooper: Seems to have a solid work ethic and be a team guy, so we'll take it as easy as possible on him. But, his play has been awful -- if you count a minimum of three embarrassing misses per game as awful. Cooper's knee slide into end zone on a missed touchdown opportunity may have been the worst play of many in his career, as he looked like a figure skater finishing her long program with a flourish. Is it safe to say anyone incapable of not being embarrassed by Big 14 offenses is not a legitimate FBS defender?

--Nate Gerry: Huge, momentum-swinging interception in his own end zone on a shitty pass into triple coverage after a shittier personal foul penalty that had the Wildcats a the middle of the field with a 7-0 lead. PYB has liked his play this year, and his whiteness should have racist Nebraska fans crowing with joy for two more seasons.

--Defensive Backs: Annoyingly soft and inconsistent in pass coverage. Few pass breakups. Many near misses. Enough blown or slipped tackles to still drive fans crazy as offensive players gain an extra three to seven yards time and again. Plenty of reasons to make us believe any game against a decent team is capable of getting out of hand at any time.

--Randy Gregory: Still waiting for him to have a breakout game. He's been the target of opposing offenses, so that's surely contributed to his lack of big numbers. That said, his penchant for letting personal confrontations with the opponent take precedence over the game at hand is concerning. So are the nickel-dime injuries that seem to crop up at some point every week -- in a Jadeveon Clowney When-is-the-NFL-Draft-Again? kind of way...

--Defensive tackles: This group seems ready to bust out, and PYB wishes coaches were better at mixing pressure from the back seven defenders. This week was Kevin Williams' turn to shine, and the group's depth and progress make us wish that NU had been able to keep Aaron Curry in Lincoln. There's something about muscular, mobile defensive linemen that we like. Either way, we take away the fact that several new faces have shown up at big moments as a positive.

--Chris Weber: Showed up in the box score for Nebraska. Over/under before a local reporter makes a misplaced, roll-your-eyes comparison to Chris Webber -- the one who played at Michigan/in the NBA/ranted on reporters who were asking him about fucking Tyra Banks by bragging about not having any bastard kids? Two weeks?

--Ryan Field: Piece of shit. Did they water it before the game to make sure the footing was impossible and the game stayed at a Big 14 speed level? Another televised embarrassment for this embarrassment of a conference.

On that note, we'll fade into bolivian, but not before saying that any road win in this college football day and age is a relatively good one. Even if it's in the least talent-laden major conference in the game and the performance had more sores than a truckstop skank.

Keep in mind the nation's top five teams includes a team known mostly for cowbells and three-win seasons, one known for racism and Archie Manning going there 50 years ago and two more teams from the same conference that lost to the first two teams mentioned in this sentence. If you don't believe college football is watered down, you're lost.

And if you don't know that ESPN is preparing the menu and setting the table for what it wants you to eat, you're delusional. Take the fact that the nation's 6th-ranked team is one that lost at home to the 15th-rated team that lost to a two-loss USC team at home as proof of that.

Still, rack up the W and enjoy the next serving of mediocrity Saturday against Rutgers. It's what's for dinner.

Saturday, October 18, 2014


Nebraska plays at Northwestern today (in football), and PYB awakes early to provide a quick preview and skirt the possibility of providing two posts in one week. Exciting territory, indeed. We'll skip the mundane and spare you from the trite entries about a "Sea of Red" taking the 8:15 into the "Windy City" and enjoying "Chicago Style Dogs" and "Deep Dish Pizza." It's "Their Kinda Town", you'll hear...

Instead, we'll wait to see if Private E-1 Bo Pinelli's crew can go on the road against a less-talented, but dangerous, crappy team and get a win. We'll wait to see if NU can wade through the six inches of crabgrass at Ryan field and keeps its lofty goals of a Big 14 division title intact. We'll find out if Pinelli's troops can earn him a promotion to Private E-2, or if he'll again be outdueled by Northwestern Coach Pat Fitzgerald or if Fitzgerald will hand another game to the Cornhuskers by not being a good coach. In the meantime:

--Corey Cooper, unbeknownst to us and to anyone who's watched him play football this season, is apparently coming into his own in his final season as a Husker. If looking completely overmatched and foolish several times a game means a defensive back is coming of age, we concur. Fluff pieces such as this one by the Omaha World-Herald do nobody any good. We can only hope that Cooper doesn't re-enact his two-hand touch moment from two Northwestern games ago.

--NU Offensive Coordinator Tim Beck finally broke his silence, speaking to the media this week and blaming the players for Nebraska's loss at Michigan State. Of course!! A true leader of men. Sure, his crew made countless errors. We're pretty sure, however, that those players didn't convince him to not develop a backup plan should Michigan State's highly-ranked defense have the foresight to develop a strategy to slow down Nebraska's best player, Ameer Abdullah.

Blame it not on the rain, said Beck, blame it on his unit's hesitancy (Which was most likely borne from another inane 'gameplan'). Blame it on the coordinator not rotating his offensive linemen enough, as he 'got caught up' calling bad plays to develop a good front-five rotation. Best to spread a bevy of junior-high mistakes across eight players as opposed to five, we always say.

--Apparently, BTN is debuting its Brook Berringer tribute tonight after the NU vs. NU game. Here's Sam McKewon's preview. What we'll always remember about Berringer are covering his death for the NU College of Journalism newspaper the night he died. We'll remember Berringer blowing us off for an interview before the 1995 season, following a Saturday morning scrimmage where he'd likely just lost the starting job to Tommie Frazier.

We'll remember finally getting that interview the next week after a mid-week practice, only to be taken aside by Lawrence Phillips so he could ask if we were with the Daily Nebraskan, the campus newspaper he despised after it ran an unflattering cartoon implicating his Ford Mustang was obtained improperly. Didn't Phillips know he could have just borrowed a car with equal-or-better features from any fat girl from rural Nebraska? Anyway, we survived that encounter, although some of you may wish we hadn't.

That's all we have for now, we'll skip College Gameday and three hours of ESPN propaganda and Jameis Winston rape talk. Obviously, the kid is learning to be a man. His offenses are getting less serious each time: from sexual assault, to theft, to just a minor NCAA infraction for signing some autographs. Clearly, he's maturing.

For now, we'll step aside and wait to see how another 'big' test plays out. We've had a full day already. We've thought about Pinelli. We've thought about the Army. We've thought about Nebraska "Taking Care of Business" on the road. Someone, please tell us we're fucking high....

Until tomorrow......PYB

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Pitching From Behind

Nebraska played another big football game in prime time Saturday night and racked up another embarrassing loss. In usual fashion, NU shit the bed. In unusual fashion, the Cornhuskers showed a backbone, didn't quit, and almost came back to beat its mediocre Top 10 opponent led by a subpar quarterback. So, take stock, things have gotten better but are still pretty fucking sad. On we go with our game recap:

--Nebraska's Blackskirt defense forced an early turnover, picking off Michigan's statuesque and inaccurate Connor Cook. The offense failed to capitalize from deep in Spartan territory, which became a repeated and rueful habit for this game. (Side note: Cook sucks and went 11/29 on the night)

--The referees blew an early call, blowing dead a huge punt return for Demornay Pierson-El when they misconstrued his signal to teammates as a fair catch. Just the kind of ineptitude that keeps a college football official in place for 15-20 seasons.

--ABC showed Michigan State's locker-room hardware as it came back from one commercial break. One was a 2013 Big Ten championship banner and the other was a 2014 Rose Bowl champions banner. What a fucking embarrassment.

--Cornerback Daniel Davie, after making a nice play early in the first quarter, got hurt. Michigan State, being strategic, targeted his replacement Jonathan Rose on the following play, beat him with a double move, and scored a 55-yard touchdown. 

Nebraska coaches, being not very strategic, blitzed the safety from 12 yards and two counts too late on that same play, offered Rose no help and did their part in spotting the home favorite a 7-0 lead. We're, as always, fine.

--On the following drive, Jake Cotton continued the Cotton Legacy of killing Nebraska by falling over backwards when he couldn't remember the snap count. This, in effect, ended the game and sealed another disastrous national-television fate for NU. 

--Husker Offensive Coordinator Tim Beck did his best to assist in killing that same drive by calling a deep fade pass to Kenny Bell and wasting a down.

--Nebraska coaches, in their infinite wisdom, gave up the wind AND the ball to start both halves of the game. Fine, indeed.

--In a typical big-game move, NU got pinned at its own one by a Spartan punt. NU went three and punt. MSU returned the ball to NU's 31 yard line. Nate Gerry got caught inside on a Spartan run play. Trevor Roach was too slow to make up for his teammate's mistake, and MSU reeled off a 31-yard TD run on the drive's first play to make the score 14-0. The rout was on. 

--Bell hurt himself with 11 minutes remaining in the second quarter and didn't return to the game.  By this point, it was apparent that Nebraska's offensive line was going to miss blocks all night and that the team was being pounded into submission by a tougher Michigan State squad.

--NU countered with another three and out. 

--MSU quickly answered with a 22-yard pass play that had Corey Cooper on ice skates -- his normal assumed position. Sparty did its best to keep Nebraska in the game and fumbled the ball back the next play at its own 41.

-Nebraska gained a first down at Michigan State's 30, before Mike Moudy built his resume for MSU's Game MVP Award by picking up a personal foul penalty and pushing his team back to near midfield. Beck countered with three straight pass plays, forcing NU to punt the ball right back.

--Still in the gifting mood, Macgarrett Kings Jr. gave Nebraska its third present of the evening by fumbling Sam Foltz's punt at his own 24. NU was back in business and down just 14-0. Time to capitalize and cut the lead to one score....right? Right? Or for those with N on their helmets, time to find an entirely new way to choke.

--Not wanting to lack creativity, Moudy was dominated by the MSU defender and thrown on his ass but not before falling back into Ameer Abdullah and causing a fumble. No doubt, this gaffe rested on Moudy's shoulders. PYB has pinned three key fumbles and the subsequent losses of those games on Abdullah over the course of the last two seasons. Not his fault this time. 

--Six plays later, it was 17-0. Five straight pass plays after that, NU punted again and Beck was in mid-blowout form. Going pass happy, forcing a square peg (dropback passing with multiple reads on hard-to-complete routes) into a round hole (run-first, pass-second QB). Calling plays that looked as if he garnered no suspicion that Michigan State would attempt to neutralize Abdullah and beat them with other weapons. What, developing an in-house marketing campaign and sending out some batteries doesn't guarantee your star back will run for 175 yards a game?

Don't believe us? Read the below from Sam McKewon's Omaha World-Herald column Monday. McKewon, not one to spew venom and well known to present the facts based on Xs and Os, went with the following as he mirrored verbatim what PYB and probably millions of others were thinking:

And the Huskers’ offense — long a mercurial, capricious partner in its marriage to the defense — couldn’t land a single blow. The offensive line fell to pieces. The star back had no place to run. The quarterback is tougher than $2 Texas brisket but unpolished as a passer. The coordinator’s play at consistency during the last two weeks gave way to a boom-or-bust attack, putting the game on that quarterback, who struggles to see the whole field and make basic throws for a spread offense.
Forty-seven rushing yards. That’s a low in the Bo Pelini era — and there were stinkers in 2008 and 2009. You have to go back to Nebraska’s 2007 loss vs. USC for a ground game so anemic. Pelini put his stake in the ground by picking a dual-threat quarterback in 2010 precisely to avoid games like the one at Michigan State. Quarterback Tommy Armstrong had shown himself to be an adept runner this year.
But he spent most of the second half chucking it around to a depleted corps of wideouts — and getting beat up in the process — because the line had no push on run plays and little cohesion on pass plays.
How many times have you read this? How many times has Bo Pelini’s defense put it on a tee for Nebraska’s offense — better yet, put it right on the green, 20 feet from the cup — only for that offense to card a double bogey?
 As far NU not capitalizing on all, or any, of the Spartan turnovers, he said:

Nebraska didn’t play four quarters of sustainable football. It rarely does in big games. When you get the ball at the opponent’s 30 two plays in, and you’re headed into the wind, you first have to get the yards necessary for the three points. The Huskers lost a yard on the first two plays, then tried a rollout pass with just two reads on third down from the 31. Then they punted. The punt decision doesn’t match up with the third-down call; if you don’t intend to go for it on fourth, get five yards and try a field goal. Brown made a 40-yarder into the wind; he might have made a 43-yarder, too.
Amen to that. Still, PYB was getting texts from friends saying NU had a chance to win the game. Sure, its talent level and MSU's willingness to lay the ball on the carpet said as much. NU's history of big-game performances and sporadic coaching and decision making said there was no chance. We hoped too, but knew better.

--We were suprisingly impressed with Private Bo Pinelli's halftime television interview. Obviously pissed, he cited NU's lack of toughness and refusal to capitalize on opportunities as reasons for his team's 17-0 deficit. Internally, he had to be seething and seemed to be tired of the shit show his offensive line and offensive coordinator had produced. The head clown himself had tired of the old ink-squirting-from-the-bowtie gag. He'd had enough and couldn't even muster the indecency to be rude to the ABC sideline reporter before retreating to the locker room.

--Good football coaches adjust their strategies as needed at halftime. Nebraska's don't. As Nebraska entered Dropback City, its third-quarter drives went as such:

  • Three plays. -6 yards. Punt.
  • Three plays. Fumble. Give up ball to MSU on own 10 (BS fumble call, for the record)
  • Thirteen plays. Last three plays being passes to stall drive. Settle for 40-yard FG.
  • Seven plays, the first four being passes. The last being a fumbled snap on 4th down.

--After Cooper looked embarrassingly awful for approximately the 15th time in 2014 and 50th time in his career while being pushed backward for 15 yards on an MSU reverse that went for a touchdown, NU went to the fourth quarter trailing 27-3.

--Alex Lewis cemented his reputation as a penalty machine, proving it's much harder to block a defender of one's own size than it is to beat the shit out of a civilian outside a bar..

--Beck refused to scrap the wide-receiver screen after NU had botched it the first four times in the game.

--He also insisted on emptying the backfield in several obvious passing situations, despite the fact that his offensive line couldn't block anyone or protect Tommy Armstrong.

--NU fans started clamoring for Ryker Fyfe via Twitter, Facebook and text messages. Those same NU fans must have missed Fyfe's only mop-up duty this season and insist that one spring game is resume enough to make one a Division I starter despite having Division III talent. Apparently, these same fans have blocked the Beau Davis/Texas Tech fiasco from their collective memories.

--NU's lone bright spots were its refusal to quit and Pierson-El. Sure, this team laid another big turd. Sure, the coaches were inept and the players did their part to make it worse for the first three quarters. For some reason, however, the team is too stubborn to quit.

Armstrong, despite getting no protection from his coaches, kept chugging away for better or worse. While being far from perfect and asked to do things he shouldn't, he has refused to show the Martinez-in-the-headlights look that NU fans are so used to. For that, we can't give a commendation but at least give partial credit.

Pierson-El, however, is a natural and is one of the most exciting talents NU has had in 20 years. His punt-return TD made the score 27-22 and almost propelled NU to a win. He likely would have had another huge return if not for the referees' first-quarter botch. Please find ways to get him the ball in space. Please don't put him back as kick returner, unless he's capable. In the same vein, please take Abdullah off of those duties -- his 19-yard average is not worth the potential for injury.

So, despite all the complaining and bitching above, NU had the ball on one final drive with a chance to win the game. Armstrong started by missing Abdullah badly on a screen pass where Abdullah had at least 30 yards to roam free. 

Still, NU got to midfield. Instead of taking easy yardage to get within touchdown range for a final series of plays, Beck opted to force low-percentage deep balls every play. In the end, NU's depleted/inexperienced/subpar receiving corps miscommunicated on a route, failed to be where Armstrong thought they'd be, and turnover number four ensued as MSU intercepted one last-gasp pass. Game over.

So, in the end, we were all deeply embarrassed by Nebraska's effort for three quarters and pleased with the gumption it showed in the final stanza. NU by no means deserved to win Saturday, but it could have. The same happened against the Spartans in 2013. 

We still all wait to see which force will win out: Pinelli's penchant for disaster in big games or his team's newfound pattern of righting the ship before it's too late and salvaging at least some dignity. Are we suckers to believe in a new day or just stupid? Depending on whether NU produces another road-game calamity in the next few weeks against a bad opponent or navigates through a series of also-rans to make the Big 10 championship for a likely rematch with MSU, we'll know soon enough.

If the 5000 words preceding this weren't enough, we're proud to offer some side notes this week:

Alex Henery -- Career over. Sad to watch. Proof that kicking is 95% mental, as a guy who couldn't miss and rarely deviated from the exact center of the uprights in college can't make a routine field goal in the NFL. He missed three Sunday in Detroit, including a potential game-winning 50-yarder against Buffalo. 

Conveniently, the team used its kicker's woes as an excuse for not winning a home game against a Bills team led by Kyle Orton. Anyone who's watched the Lions in recent seasons knows this bunch is the most pathetic group of underachievers in the league.

Bengals vs. Patriots -- So much for ESPN saying Tom Brady was washed up and Cincinnati was the NFL's most complete team. Easy money.

College Football rankings -- Anyone needing confirmation that the sport is watered down (perhaps nearly irrelevant), take into account that:

  • Mississippi moved from 11th to third after beating Alabama. Enjoy the one-week ride at the top, Rebels. (They play at Texas A&M Saturday). They even got two first-place votes (huh?)
  • In-state rival Mississippi State jumped nine spots, also to third, to TIE the Rebels in the rankings after beating an overrated Texas A&M team. Pro wrestling, anyone? The Bulldogs host Auburn this weekend. Less cowbell.
  • Arizona jumped from 29th to 10th by beating Oregon in Eugene. What a farce. The Mildcats are now realized as such a power that they are a home underdog this weekend to 3-2 USC. 
  • TCU jumped 16 spots to ninth after a home win against Oklahoma and has the honor of getting drilled at Baylor Saturday. 

Enjoy your off week......PYB