Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Pinelli's Greatest Hits

PYB is scared. Scared to watch the rewind of another nationally televised Nebraska disaster. Mind you, we're not scared to watch the carnage -- as we've seen it countless times before. The scars we already have minimize much of the pain. Not scared to admit that our beloved alma mater is a nationwide joke and has been for at least 13 years. Not scared to witness the Blackshirt tradition wither, under the guidance of an Ohio State Buckeye, into a brittle, laughable, farce of a concept that continually turns opponents' stars into superhuman beings recording never-dreamt-of records.

No, not scared of that at all. We came to grips with that long ago. We are scared, however, of the lack of any sort of leadership in Lincoln. The acceptance of futility. The dismissal of giving up 49 straight points to a mediocre team as "big picture" stuff. The refusal to tend to the small details that make up said "big picture." Most of all, we're scared that nobody is willing or capable of doing anything about it.

We sat with you, dear readers, and hoped this time would be different. Hoped the early 17-3 lead wasn't a mirage in a desert of meaningful wins that spans 10+ seasons. It felt different, briefly. It felt different until Melvin Gordon ripped off his first big run. Then a long touchdown run, complete with missed assignments, missed tackles and a patented Corey Cooper belly flop. The bed was pissed. And the rout was on. Call the bookie. Time to double up.

What is wrong with Nebraska? How much time do you have? PYB could go on for hours. Paragaph after paragraph. Of course, any of the faults we pointed would be techniques described in any Coaching Football book at the public library. What's the point? Read back through the last few years' worth of columns. Same disaster, different Saturday.

Luckily, we got pulled to a party with friends at halftime. Sure, the game was on at the party, and we could keep ourselves apprised of the latest hail-mary interception, false start, botched quarterback-running back exchange, missed block, whiffed blitz pickup. Friends consoled us. Told us it was still a game. We knew better. We knew this was another bad Nebraska joke. We didn't have to look at the scoreboard, which rolled upward on the Wisconsin side like a progressive jackpot in Las Vegas.

This wasn't just one 'off day' in the "big picture". This was more basic than that. Readily apparent to even the most untrained eye:

--NU has played two above-mediocore teams this year. Both teams have blasted NU. Outside of a first- and fourth-quarter fluke in those games, Michigan State and Wisconsin outscored Nebraska 62-10. Neither the Spartans or Badgers has a quality win this season, and their best games are losses to Oregon and Ohio State, respectively. Welcome to the Big Ten, Nebraska.

--Nebraska cannot, will not, or is incapable of, properly filling gaps on defense. These aren't just minor misses. These are complete fucking breakdowns, resulting in long run after long run after long run. How can Western Illinois do it, but Nebraska can't seem to so ever since Mark Vedral met Colorado in 2001?

--After three straight games of not being able to hold the edge against Wisconsin, NU finally 'adjusted' in then second half and brought Josh Mitchell off the corner with his shoulders turned perpendicular to the line of scrimmage. Multiple times. From day one of seventh-grade football practice, any defender responsible for outside containment is told to never do this. Ever. 

--Nebraska trailed Wisconsin just 24-17 near the end of the first half. After relinquishing 21 straight points, and saddled with a quarterback that is completing less than half his passes in conference play, most coaches would kneel the fucking ball, head to the locker room and adjust. Not Bo Pinelli. Our favorite Private thought it a good time to flip the switch, as he always does in panic time, to Beck Mode. (See drive chart below). 

Most coaches would realize a seven-point deficit means that just one touchdown and extra point ties the game. Get to halftime. Take a deep breath. Decide on a second-half strategy. Demonstrate leadership. Execute chosen strategy.

The Youngstown Brain Trust, however? Run the ball to a third and three. Take a sack. Fake a punt in the first half of a seven-point game (yeah, We're Fine, and feel confident our defense can stop Wisconsin but we're faking a punt deep in our own territory down one score in the first half. Anyone think Wisconsin noticed that?). 

As lucky as it was to convert the fake punt, NU collected a personal foul penalty that pushed it back to its own 25-yard line, one yard from where it began the drive. That said, surely the coaches would now take the air out of the ball and run clock. Nope! Tim Beck dialed up bomb after bomb after bomb, throwing caution to the wind and risking interceptions and fumbles with each rendition. 

NEBRASKA drive start at 03:24.
1-10 NEB 26 Timeout Nebraska, clock 03:24.
1-10 NEB 26 Armstrong Jr. rush for 5 yards to the NEB31 (Caputo, Michael).
2-5 NEB 31 Abdullah, Ameer rush for 2 yards to the NEB33 (Trotter, Marcus).
3-3 NEB 33 Armstrong Jr. sacked for loss of 8 yards to the NEB25 (Trotter, Marcus). (Editor's Note: RUN THE FUCKING BALL)
4-11 NEB 25 Timeout Wisconsin, clock 02:05.
4-11 NEB 25 Foltz, Sam rush for 14 yards to the NEB39 (Jordan, A.J.), PENALTY NEB personal foul (Editor's Note: Panic time.)
(Hannon, Zach) 15 yards to the NEB24.
4-12 NEB 24 1st and 10.
1-10 NEB 24 Armstrong Jr. pass incomplete to Bell, Kenny, PENALTY WIS holding (Shelton, Sojour) 10 X8 (Editor's Note: Run the FUCKING BALL!)
yards to the NEB34, 1ST DOWN NEB, NO PLAY.
1-10 NEB 34 Armstrong Jr. sacked for loss of 6 yards to the NEB28 (Jean, Peniel). (Editor's Note: Run the FUCKING BALL!)
2-16 NEB 28 Armstrong Jr. pass incomplete to Bell, Kenny, PENALTY WIS pass interference (Shelton, X9 (Editor's Note: Run the FUCKING BALL!)
Sojour) 15 yards to the NEB43, 1ST DOWN NEB, NO PLAY.
1-10 NEB 43 Armstrong Jr. pass incomplete to Bell, Kenny. (Editor's Note: Run the FUCKING BALL!)
2-10 NEB 43 Armstrong Jr. sacked for loss of 11 yards to the NEB32 (Schobert, Joe;Goldberg, A.).(Editor's Note: Run the FUCKING BALL!)
3-21 NEB 32 Armstrong Jr. pass incomplete to Bell, Kenny.(Editor's Note: Run the FUCKING BALL!)
4-21 NEB 32 PENALTY NEB false start (Kalu, Joshua) 5 yards to

Maybe we just don't understand, not being steeped in that Youngstown tradition. Sometimes, it's all about perspective. Remember, football is just a game and it takes a true genius like Beck to put fans back into the proper frame of mind.

Despite being castrated on national television for approximately the 20th time in a decade, there's plenty left for NU to achieve. Senior Day. FUCKING SENIOR DAY?? A crappy game on a frozen field against a crappy Iowa team. A middle-of-the-pack-in-the-worse-division-of-the-two-in-a-terrible-conference finish again in 2014. Silly PYB -- remember, if you aim for the turds, you're sure to end up with the maggots!

From stem to stern, this was another Vintage Pinelli effort. Two weeks of preparation, or lack thereof. Failure to capitalize on early opportunities. Lack of ability to cope with adversity. Mental breakdowns ensue at rapid pace. National bottle blasting proceeds. Records broken. Another year wasted. A cold winter on the plains with little warmth in site.

This, hopefully, was the grand finale for Private Bo Pinelli's Greatest Hits in Lincoln. Like most bands pushing forth a cash-grab compilation, he's washed up and his drummer and guitarist (Beck and John Papuchis) are severely overmatched. In music terms, they went from playing roadside shitholes in Topeka to Madison Square Garden and never had a fucking chance.

Under the bright lights, they froze. They blessed us with the following. Sing along, friends, and remember the good times:

Track List
Missouri 52 - NU 17 (2008)
Oklahoma 62 - NU 28 (2008)
Texas Tech 31 - NU 10 (2009)
Iowa State 9 - NU 7 (2009)
Texas 20 - NU 13 (2010)
Wisconsin 48 - NU 17 (2011)
Northwestern 28 - NU 25 (2011)
Michigan 45 - NU 17 (2011)
Ohio State 63 - NU 38 (2012)
Wisconsin 70 - NU 31 (2012)
UCLA 41 - NU 21 (2013)
Minnesota 34 - NU 23 (2013)
Michigan State 41 - NU 28 (2013)
Iowa 38 - NU 17 (2013)
Wisconsin 59 - NU 24 (2014)

Hidden Tracks
Michigan State 27 - NU 22 (2014)
South Carolina 30 - NU 13 (Live from Orlando, 1/2/2012)

Maybe NU should take a page from Queen James and disallow football. It would save the state of Nebraska the embarrassment of being proven to be softer than Dwight Howard every time it appears on national television.

Somehow, the Huskers are a 10-point favorite over a smarter, tougher, better-coached Minnesota team this Saturday. There's no way they win on Hawkeye turf the day after Thanksgiving. We get an 11 a.m. kickoff in each game, with hopefully fewer witnesses to this rattletrap program on the road to ignominy.

We'll be drunk by noon, but that's OK.
NU will be relevant some day
Load the box, and still can't stop shit
It's Pinelli's Greatest Hits,
It's Pinelli's Greatest Hits.....

Respectfully Yours....PYB

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