Saturday, November 28, 2015

The Hero Effect

Nebraska football fans got another bad-tasting dose of Hero Ball Friday, as Tommy Armstrong served up a shit sandwich of monstrous proportions while gifting Iowa its final chapter in college football's worst 12-0 season on record.

Despite turning the ball over four times, netting negative yards on one punt and spotting the Hawkeyes all 28 of their points, NU lost by just eight. Said more accurately, Armstrong lost another game all on his own. He's now entered and resides in a territory of wild futility that was formerly reserved for his pathetic predecessor, Taylor Martinez.

Opposing coaches now know they can game plan around the fact that NU's quarterback will (once again) eventually fuck up so badly and so often, that they literally don't have to try to score. Stay the course, and points will comes in bunches. And Husker fans will be choking on another footlong piece of shit. Open up and say aaaah, you dumb motherfuckers....

Let's roll right into another ramshackle list of observations. Time is short. We've got graduation-rate percentages to calculate, and a Pinstripe Bowl party to plan.

--Temperature at kickoff was 25 degrees. The wind was blowing out of the North at 19 mph, translating to a wind chill index of nine degrees. Nebraska fullback Andy Janovich had averaged 6.5 yards per carry going into the game. He got zero touches Friday. Armstrong had 45 pass attempts. Makes perfect sense.

--Mark Banker's Blackshirts limited Iowa to 250 total yards. Not too shabby for a defense that was one of the nation's worst for most of the season. We'll forget the fact that Iowa rarely tries to score offensive points.

Either way, PYB thinks his quotes about his defense being 'fucking creased' and 'needing a drink to make the pain go away' were ill-advised, especially considering he's coaching 18-23 year-old players (some who aren't of legal drinking age) and his current dumbass quarterback was recently quoted as saying he was partying late into the night on a night where someone at the party claimed to have been raped.

Exhausted yet?

--Offensive Coordinator (aka the Maestro of NU's Pull and Pray offense) Danny Langsdorf, said that Armstrong's decision to throw a fade route on 4th and 1 'wasn't the worst decision ever.' He's right. His decision to throw the ball on a game-losing third down at Illinois was the worst. Yesterday's decision was the second worst.

PYB maintains that unless Calvin Johnson plays for your team, a coach has no business running a fade route in the red zone. Especially with a bad quarterback and an average receiver. Perhaps the play was actually a quarterback sneak that got tagged as a fade pass.

Yeah, we know. There were other routes on the play and Cethan Carter was wide open on the left side. So, NU coaches really believe and wants fans to believe that they expect Armstrong to make a good decision when he's a third-year starter known for making bad ones and most of his good plays come as a lucky result of another bad decision? Sure.

--Speaking of bad plays, Armstrong had nice balance across his four interceptions. Two were the garden variety "I didn't see the linebacker or defensive back dropping into the zone coverage because I'm not a good quarterback" interception and two were the "Chuck and Duck Moonshot into the Wind" type.

--Apparently, Armstrong was not to blame for the interception that was returned for a touchdown. It was Alex Lewis' fault. OK, that makes more sense. Relying on an unreliable lineman to make a cut block and on a quarterback who is one of the game's worst screen passers to throw a screen pass, all inside one's own 10-yard line. Got it. Our bad for thinking otherwise.

--Sean Eichorst pulled his best Jerry Jones yesterday, and stood on the Nebraska sideline during the game. Micromanagement, anyone?

--Speaking of poor management, PYB still appreciates Mike Riley's clock and wind management. Throw over and over when going into the wind, lengthening the quarter. Dilly dally in quarters where the wind is at his team's back, reducing the number of possessions where the wind would actually help propel a kicked or thrown ball forward.

--After the game, Iowa coaches spewed the company line about not listening to those outside the program who questioned the team's schedule, or lack thereof. Iowa players then proved that was a fucking lie, by making excuses for a slate of games that would make even Ohio State blush. Quarterback C.J. Beathard said the Hawkeyes can't be blamed, as they don't 'plan the schedule.' Well, we're pretty sure your athletic department did 'plan the schedule' and that it's called a schedule because somebody planned it.

Any-fucking-way......are the Hawkeyes in danger of dropping in the rankings, because they only beat Nebraska by eight points? PYB thinks they should be.

--Nate Gerry got ejected for breaking up a pass play where his shoulder hit an Iowa player in the head, because Beathard threw a bad pass and receiver Tevaun Smith extended himself trying to catch it. So this begs the question: are defenders supposed to not defend passes and let receivers catch them? Smith did his best job of faking an injury, before returning two plays later.

If the powers that be in college football are so fucking concerned about player safety, PYB thinks that players who make unsafe hits on their teammates should also be penalized and ejected. One Hawkeye defender knocked a teammate out cold yesterday, after piling onto a nearly completed tackle and hitting his counterpart in the side of the helmet for no reason at all.

--Iowa linebacker Cole Fisher was especially happy that his Hawkeyes beat Nebraska. The Omaha native was apparently still butthurt that Nebraska didn't recruit him, as legacy scholarships are apparently a God-given right for players who played low-level high school football and want a D-I free ride. Apparently, he forgot that his brother Sean was a total flop in Lincoln. Apparently, even Bo Pinelli was smart enough to avoid that repeat effort.

--In all seriousness, anyone that doesn't realize how big a piece of shit Pinelli was needs only to look at the Nebraskans on the Iowa roster that get satisfaction from kicking NU's ass and could have contributed to the Drive for .500 in Lincoln.

--Tim Dwight and Johnny Rodgers stood midfield during a timeout in the first half and were announced as co-sponsors of another contrived Big 14 award. This one for returners. PYB says there also needs to be an award for best freshman returner, best newcomer returner and also a Panico-Westerkamp Fair Catcher of the Year award.

We will also be petitioning the SEC to add the Blaine Gabbert Award, given annually to the quarterback with the combination of most passing yards per game and lowest average yards per pass attempt while accruing those yards. (Side note: did anyone else see that Gabbert was the only person to show up to his own press conference this week in San Francisco? This warms PYB's black heart.)

Second, Gratuitous side note: Rodgers ran his streak of being honored on the field for some gratuitous, non-reason or another to 41 seasons.

In the end Friday, Armstrong's continual bed shitting and Nebraska's myriad of other problems were too much to overcome. A lucky win against Michigan State and a second straight against Rutgers were a temporary elixir that masked what was a bad football team with little talent in the coffers. Coaching that ranged from bad to inconsistent-at-best magnified that lack of physical ability.

A field general that refused to learn from past transgressions was like a machete to the jugular vein, and no amount of GI Joe Band-Aids was going to fix it. The fake excitement at the possibility ruining Iowa's undefeated season and qualifying for a lame bowl game fizzled and wasn't enough to overcome the Hawkeyes' tortoise act. The hare-brained hare lost again.

Another opportunity lost at the hands of a signal caller that refuses to play sound football and put his team's goals above his desire to look good. A Hero Syndrome, indeed. The effect is plain to see, and there is nary a backup option.

Drop the Heroes Trophy, Huskers, you're stuck with a zero.

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