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On Saturday the University of Nebraska will be playing against Florida Atlantic University.  While Florida Atlantic may be known for different things around the country, or more likely: is unknown around the country, it is widely regarded as FiredCarlPelini University here in Lincoln.

Whether or not Carl deserved to get canned down at FAU is one thing, but being Nebraska head coach, Bo Pelini’s older brother is another thing entirely.  Bo deflected questions about Carl’s ties to FAU with his usual coach-speak deferments on Monday, but I for one think that he’s ready to avenge the career-death of his older brother.  Carl may have been kind of pervy, and he may have driven his younger bro crazy at times but I’m thinking that Bo is looking to make a statement in this game.

Now, you may be saying to yourself, “Why not just hang 60 points on them, leave our starters in until the end of the game and then glower at the sideline reporter in standard Pelini fashion when asked about it?”  Maybe that’s not enough.

This is about family for Bo.  This is personal.

Here are the 4 ways that I hope that Nebraska should avenge Carl Pelini during the Florida Atlantic game


1.  Sneak Carl into the stadium in disguise.

CP1

Picture this: Lil’ Red comes out of the tunnel moments before the Tunnel Walk begins.  A slow hush falls over the crowd.  This, they collectively think, is something different.  Instead of kicking into his usual inflatable flop-show, the mascot is caught on the big screen.  Lil’ Red coyly waves to the fans.

Then…he leans over and kicks into an intense, hyper-sexualized, twerk session.

The elderly women, previously busy with having their angry husbands shout at people to sit down, immediately faint.  Mother’s cover their children’s eyes in awe-struck horror.  Lil’ Red pulls a switch blade out of his costume, cuts his own head off and tears off the rapidly deflating mask.  It’s Carl F-ing Pelini.  He leans back and extends a still chubbily inflated middle finger towards the Florida Atlantic sidelines and then grabs his puffy red crotch directly at head coach Charlie Partridge.

(*Author’s note: Is it just me or does Partridge look like someone was violating international cloning laws and mixed up the DNA between Bill Callahan and Josh Brolin?)


2.  Have Kenny Bell get a moving tribute to Carl corn-rowed into his fro.

Kenny

Kenny Bell is, arguably, the face of the Husker franchise right now.  And, if he’s not the face, he certainly is the hair.  So what better way to commemorate the #freecarl movement then by having Kenny sit down and let Bo put in some tight braids.  Regardless of how good Bo would be at adding in some fresh rows to Kenny’s ‘fro, it would be a moving touch to have one brother helping a player to support the other.  And, let’s be honest, no attempts at cornrows could ever be worse than Andrew Bynum’s from a few years back.


3.  Have Bo Pelini wear a custom-made, spray-painted tall tee to pay tribute to Carl like they do in the hood.

Bop

At the press conference on Monday, Bo stated that he had been “trying on a few things” and alluded to the fact that he may be updating his look a bit this year.  My guess is that he’s probably going to rock a high-end, chic, gray crewneck and some firmly pressed khakis.  However, I think that, to really stick it to the guys who screwed over his big bro, Bo should rip off the crewneck moments before kickoff, spike his headset and pop the chest of his Carl Pelini tall tee.  Can you imagine how hyped the crowd would get if Bo rode out onto the field on the medical cart, ghost-rode the whip and then went stupid?  I’m guessing FAU would pack their things up and leave on the spot.


4.  Have all players get their hydration upside down, keg-stand style from the Gatorade coolers.

stands

We all know Carl enjoys a good shindig.  Probably a little too much.  So why not let him be the tap-master general on the team’s Gatorade and have the team, in a show of solidarity, only drink their water upside down like they’re having an amazing keg stand at one of Coach Carl’s ragers?

The options are all there, Pelini.  Your move, Bo.

FIN

The season.

The season.

It’s almost here.

We’re suddenly less than a week away.  After  months of treadmilling, water-treading, debate.  After months of offseason quicksand that threaten to suck us down if we struggle too hard.  The dawn of a new football year has started breaking across the plains; light mercifully spilling into the end of the tunnel that will soon be Walked through with a capital “W”.  The cicada symphony of quiet August nights is turning into the breathless ellipses that occurs when a million eyes suddenly widen with excitement at the same time; when pupils dilate with 1080p and irises ignite with the fire of reckless passion from 63 rows up or front-and-blue-blazing-hell center of the madness.

Suddenly, after so many long hours spent watching cup adjustments and batters calling time so they can spit-and-adjust-and-spit-and-adjust their batting gloves for the fiftyleventh time, we’ve lifted our noses from the collective grindstone of summer and our crescendo is timpani-rolling into a grand canyon echo that ricochets from fan to fan like a benign Magic Bullet.

This is it.  Our countdowns are on one hand and are allegiances are shown to the referees with one finger.  Our dignity is about to get punted into the air with a tight, rapid spiral.  We’ll care too much.  We’ll care too little about caring too much.  It’s going to be glorious.

And as this beautiful time of year approaches, I find myself battling internally with twin parts of my fanhood.  That’s right.  I’m talking about Dr. Hatchyll and Mr. Fan.

Dr. Hatchyll is slightly aloof.  Withdrawn.  He’s a medical examiner giving a cause of death or a doctor trying desperately to separate business from personal.  He’s  a statistician who isn’t prone to making rash decisions and is so skeptical of things that he might actually fire up a Google fact-check on something he finds on Twitter before he reacts to it.  Maybe.  While thoroughly in love with the program he tries to keep a pragmatic view of things, never getting too high or too low.  Simply put, he’s waiting to see if Nebraska is the real deal before he buys in.  He’s the Yin to Mr. Fan’s yang.

Mr. Fan is more like a Ying Yang Twin.  He’s brash.  He’s overconfident.  His lips are stained a ridiculous hue of Husker red from keg-stand-chugging the pre-season hype Kool-Aid for this year’s Nebraska team.  He owns 11 Husker flatbills even though, at this stage in the game, he probably should move on to hats that have a little curve to them.  Where Dr. Hatchyll is Atticus Finch, Mr. Fan is the rabid dog that comes running through town looking to gnaw on the legbones of any non-believers.  Sometimes Mr. Fan is closer to Boo Radley.  If he hears “Sirrius” by the Allan Parsons project he’s likely to throw his head back and bay at the stadium lights like a lycanthrope getting a full super-moon rush of adrenaline.

For the past 3 seasons I’ve let internal dialogue between these two very different parts of my fanhood play out.  Here’s 2011, 2012, and 2013.

Here are the questions and storylines that Dr. Hatchyll and Mr. Fan have already begun debating this year.

1. Do we have enough depth on defense, after all those injuries, for them to take the next step?

Dr. Hatchyll: Damn, I hope so.  It seems like every time I turn around there’s another Husker defender going down for the year.  While the injuries haven’t been of the season-tanking variety, they have also been costly.  On a defense with high-level 1s, it suddenly has become the 2s and 3s that have been getting all of the pre-season talk.  Aaron Curry went Chase Rome, Michael Rose is done for the year after coming on strong to finish the 2013 season, and Charles Jackson’s injury has left a hole at the all-important-to-Bo’s defense, Nickel spot.  While I think that initially we’ll still be able to plug and play, we’re going to have to stay freakishly, lucky-as-hell with on the injury front for the entire season not to find ourselves in trouble at times.

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Mr. Fan: Sure, we lost a few guys.  But Bo Pelini finally has that d-line talent that allows his defensive scheme to flourish.  Randy Gregory is going to smoke the lead-footed QBs of the Big Ten like they’re product in a Seth Rogen movie.  The safeties are going to be coming down hill with a ferocity not seen since the end of Shark Week and it sounds like the replacements for our injured players are all stepping up to the task.  Even freshman DJ Foster appears to have found a spot to contribute immediately on the D Line.  With Gregory, Vincent Valentine, and Malik Collins all looking like beasts this pre-season the quarterback is going to have, what?, 1.5 seconds before he’s getting decapitated?  Good luck throwing on 3rd down, The Big Ten.

2. Will Tommy Armstrong develop into a good-elite Quarterback?

Dr. Hatchyll: Good? Yes.  Elite? I don’t think he’s quite there yet. One of the side effects of Pelini letting the media into his camp, besides an even more unbroken stream of relayed information (*Author’s note: did Bo and his players kick into any insane, pre-meditated hi-jinx to be mass-media-regurgitated by the team’s video department?  Reaction and breakdown at 10!) is that we’ve been allowed to make our own assessments of the players’ development (*Author’s note: even if that’s through the lens of the mass media).  With no other player does this have more importance than with Tommy Armstrong.  Armstrong had a W/L record that didn’t quite ring true based on his own personal statistics.  While many argue that winning is the only measure of a good quarterback, I would beg to differ.  Trent Dilfer won a Super Bowl, after all, and Zach Lee very nearly won a Big Twelve Championship against Texas back in ’09.  Armstrong’s completion percentage was spotty and his TD-INT rate was barely above even.  These numbers have to improve for us to have a chance.

Mr. Fan: Yes.  The tools are there.  He’s a tried-and-true leader, who carries himself with a confidence that’s beyond his years.  Did you see that he hung out with Brett Favre?!?  Come on, son!  All Bret Favre did was gun-sling, win, sext, and make huge plays.  Let’s hope that Tommy does all of that minus the dick-pics.  Actually, I don’t care much about those, either, as long as they don’t hit Twitter.  Did he throw a few picks last season? Yeah.  He was a Freshman, thrown into the mix mid-season and forced to split reps with RKIII.  Tough to get momentum rolling in that case.  He’s got all the intangibles, an improving O-line, a good wide receiver corps. and an All-American running back to help him out.  I’m also really excited about referencing Tommy Gun from Rocky V at a higher clip.

3. Does this newer, seemingly more relaxed, Pelini translate into a looser, more relaxed coach on the field?

Dr. Hatchyll: Here’s the thing.  I doubt that Bo has changed.  At least not as much as the national narrative seems to be stating.  It seems to me, from everything I’ve heard in interviews with former players, that he’s a pretty cool dude.  He has a good sense of humor, enjoys talking some friendly junk, and is well liked by a great deal of people who know him personally.  His media personality and his actual, walking around in the streets personality, seem to be at odds with each other.  This offseason’s media campaign – and to call it anything else would be disingenuous – to change the public perception of Bo has worked, to a degree, but I don’t think it’s a product of a new coach.  Just a coach who is willing to let his personality be displayed a little more publicly.

I hate to broken-record this piece (*Author’s note: what would this cliché be in modern terminology? Corrupted MP3?) but if Bo is really the same guy, why expect different results on the field?  Everyone is a comedian during the offseason.  Everyone can yuck it up with viral videos during a meaningless spring game.  I don’t need the Tom Osborne stoicism that made Clint Eastwood seem like a circus clown, but what I do want is wins.  And I don’t care how we get them, at this point.  If Bo wants to send his blood pressure to “Mount Saint Helens” on the dial, but we pull out a “W” I’m totally cool with that.  If he wants to come out dressed like a mime, pretend to pull the refs pants down like a goddamn Harlem Globetrotter, I don’t care.  As long as we get the “W”.  Seeing a pattern here?

Mr. Fan: You criticize Bo for being a dick to the media.  Now you criticize him for suddenly being a goofball.  Which is it, Dr. Hatchyll?  We all want wins.  Why not have a coach who seems to enjoy himself while doing that.  He’s loose.  He’s focused.  He’s been a social media-driven sensation in a time when social media matters with recruits way more than we’d like to admit.  He has changed.  His practice tempo is different, his players seem to be responding to his new style by bonding together into what appears to be the tightest knit unit he’s had since he arrived on campus and they’re hiring a freaking DJ for practices, for God’s sake.  That’s not a change?  We don’t want Bo to turn into a total quack like Mike Leach, but it’s good to see a coach who appears to be enjoying his job.  Besides, that cat thing? Pretty f-ing hysterical.  His interactions with his fake Twitter personality?  Also really good.  See if you can turn off the withering cynicism for 3 minutes and just enjoy a funny joke involving your favorite football program.

4. Taylor Martinez is finally gone. . .

Dr. Hatchyll: Thank God.

Mr. Fan: Thank God.  Wait, did we just agree on something?  Screw you, Debbie Downer!  T-Magic 4 Lyfe!

5. What’s your take on this year’s schedule?

Dr. Hatchyll: While, at first glancem it appears to be pretty simple, I’ve learned to not take any games on our schedule for granted.  If we can win the games that we should win? We’re looking at a pretty phenomenal year.  But I think that feels like the exact same thing I wrote last year.  And probably the year before that.  Let’s be honest, our schedule this year should be pretty simple.  We’ve got 2-3 tough games (*Author’s note: Wisconisn, Michigan State, and maybe Iowa) and a weird one that could go either way (*Author’s note: a wacky 9:30 PM Central time game at Fresno State that should be fine, but is such an odd time and place that it could be some kind of a trap.) and the rest should be fairly simple.  We don’t play Penn State, Ohio State, or the University of Brady Hoke’s short sleeves.  We do get a schedule with Rutgers, Illinois, Purdue, and Minnesota.  The mind-numbing sameness of this statement applies once again: if we take care of the games we will be favored in, we’ll take a step forward as a program. IF.  IF.

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Mr. Fan:  Pssssh.  This schedule is soft.  I’ll give you a quick synopsis of the opposition, in order.

FAU: Dirt
McNeese State: Dirt
Fresno State: West-Coast Dirt
Miami: Semi-Dirt
Illinois: Dirt
Michigan State: 2-1 All-Time V.S. Dantonio.  If we don’t have a 5 Turnover botch-fest, we beat them at home last year.  Pelini owns MSU.
Northwestern: Nerds
Rutgers: Bwahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahah.
Purdue: Whatthehellisaboilermaker? Also: dirt.
Wisconsin: Dirt?
Minnesota: Frozen Dirt
Iowa: $3,650,000 annual salary worth of dirt

What, do we lose 1 game all year?  Maybe.  But look at that schedule.  Now look again.  If you go through that on a game-by-game basis, forgetting history and previous years of Taylor Martinez quarterbacking and bad injury breaks? Who is going to beat us?  Really?  Maybe Wisconsin on the road, but they look prepared to come back to earth.  Maybe Michigan State on the road, but Pelini and the Huskers match up extraordinarily well with the Spartans.  I say, we’ll see a Braxton Miller-less (Read: very beatable) Ohio State team in the Big Ten championship game.  We walk into the college football playoffs undefeated and with a 2-seed.  The band plays, the girls faint, Bo Pelini kicks Urban Meyer in the crotch as the fans storm the field in Indianapolis, and the Huskers are suddenly, legitimately, and irrevocably back!

6. So, you two seem like you’re pretty different in how you approach the season.  I’m sure you guys are going to constantly take to Twitter and Facebook to badger, harangue, and berate anyone who doesn’t agree with you, correct?

Dr. Hatchyll: Nope.  Actually I’m secure enough in my own fanhood to just kind of let myself enjoy the season on my own terms.  I’m not worried about convincing other people to see things my way unless they directly ask me.  This is the forensics team from the dweeb coalition in high school.  This is just a game that I love a little too much and the way that I approach things.  People are going to react how they want and I don’t care, nor does it truly have any outcome on my enjoyment of the entire process.  Ultimately, I control my own fandom and the mixture of insane half-fulls and miserable half-empties getting tossed together into a Molotov Cocktail of emotion is something I truly treasure.

Mr. Fan: Nope.  Fans telling other fans how to fan?  Dick move, son.

7. So, Miami is coming to Lincoln.  For a night game.  That might get College Gameday.

Dr. Hatchyll: I know.  Even I have to admit, I’m very excited about this.  If we get Gameday here and we’re playing well?  All the history and nostalgia for the Huskers V.S. ‘Canes is going to be completely insa– wait.  Has anyone told Mr. Fan about this?

Mr. Fan: Wait, did you say College Gameday. . .?

FIN

It recently came to light that the Toronto Blue Jays were suing the Creighton Bluejays for “stealing” their logo.  And to be honest, it looks like they might truly have a case.  The birds look pretty similar.  The only difference between one team’s mascot and the other’s is that someone hit the “space bar” on their type writer when they were coming up with a nickname for Toronto.

But instead of mucking this thing up in a courtroom, paying thousands of dollars to haggle and hem and haw over beak length and bird species, why don’t we just all suck it up, put on our big boy bartering pants and trade one another.

I plugged in several different scenarios on ESPN’s trade machine and come up with a few potential win-win scenarios that would leave both Creighton and Toronto happy.


Scenario #1:

Trade1

This scenario has Creighton sending their beloved, designated muckraker and NCAA Eligibility defying point guard, Grant Gibbs and the Cyanocitta cristata to our Northern Neighbors.  What does Creighton get in return?  Why, none other than human Meme-machine gun Rob Ford.  Ford’s comedic value is completely unstoppable, he is a cheap acquisition, and if you sat him courtside for every Creighton basketball game for the next 5 years you can guarantee the internet would go supernova on itself.  Toss in divisive-but-talented Toronto-ite Drake?  And you’ve got a trade that works out well for all parties.


Scenario #2:

Biebs

This scenario would qualify as one of the all-cliché-first-team “Blockbuster” trades.  This one has both sides giving up something near and dear to them in order to attempt to find a common ground.  It has Creighton (*Author’s note: on behalf of the entire United States) sending Justin Bieber back to the frozen tundra Beyond the Wall.  It would also have Creighton giving up their logo, but instantaneously becoming the most popular university in America.  Enrollment would quintuple and Greg McDermott would be jointly canonized and written in to victory as President of the United States in 2016.

Toronto would get to lose the legacy of *Roger Clemens and they would get to force-feed their beloved metric system further south onto U.S. soil.  Ultimately, Toronto would sell their soul for a chance at keeping their logo and they would increase tweenage attendance at their games exponentially.

What trades do you guys have?  Plug them in.  We don’t need Wayne Brady to make a deal (*Author’s note: or to choke a bitch.)

FIN

This morning the head coach of the Cleveland Browns, Mike Pettine, chose a starting quarterback.  Or at least he announced it to the world this morning.  You may have already guessed that, heard it through the 140-character digital grapevine, or even noticed “Hoyer” trending on Twitter for the first time in the history of the universe.

Pettine announced that Brian Hoyer had been “The clear leader from the start” in a statement he issued early this morning to the press.  So that’s how he informed the media, and thereby the public, of his decision.  But that got me to wondering: how did Pettine break the news to Johnny F. Heisman Football?

Here are some theories on how Mike Pettine relayed this devastating news to Johnny Manziel.


Theory #1: By attempting to put the decision into terms that Johnny would understand.

Benched

We all know that Manziel and rapper Drake are pretty tight.  So what better way to let Manziel down easy than some customized artwork that will call to mind his bromance with his favorite rapper?  I’m sure when Pettine hand-delivered this custom album cover Johnny probably understood exactly what had just happened.


Theory #2: By leaving the memo for Johnny in a place where he knew he’d find it.

Benched2

If you want to get a hold of someone, learn their habits and leave them a message where they’re most likely to find it.  I’m sure that Pettine and Manziel’s relationship has had some ups and downs, but if Pettine really wanted to communicate with Johnny he probably knew the best place to get the message across.


Theory #3: By shouting out, “I nominate the starting quarterback of the Cleveland Browns, Brian Hoyer.” Moments before getting the only ice-bath he’ll probably ever get (*Author’s note: Because, Cleveland) in the Ice Bucket challenge.

Pettine

It’s viral.  It’s trendy.  And it’s for a good cause? The only loser in this scenario is the stunned “Uncle Nate” as Manziel spits out his Bud Light platinum all over Uncle’s iPad in shock.


Theory 4: By Rocking a customized anti-Manziel jersey to practice this morning.

Manz

I predict that this jersey will go on to be one of the top sellers on NFL.com.  Pettine better see if he can get a trademark on this one so he at least gets a chunk of the royalties.


Theory #5: By holding “The Decision II: Decision Harder” at a Boys and Girls Club of Cleveland, sitting down with Jim Gray and announcing that Brian Hoyer would be taking his talents to the starting lineup.

Pettine2

After Manziel rolls up a $20, snorts some blow off the chest of a supermodel, gives Jim Gray the finger and does the money sign directly in front of his crotch, the special is summarily canceled and the footage is burned in ESPN’s incinerator (*Author’s note: which is powered by the furnace of hot air spewing from Skip Bayless’ mouth on a daily basis).

FIN

Ohio State Quarterback Braxton Miller re-injured his throwing shoulder last night.

While the reports and rumors and unnamed sources have been swirling around in a digital maelstrom, one thing is clear.  Braxton Miller is going to be out for a while.  The Buckeyes will be without their 2-Time reigning Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year QB for the entire season, according to many reports.

So what happens now to a team with very real, very tangible college football playoff hopes?

ESPN, for their part, believes firmly that Ohio State will be just fine.  That they have a backup plan in place.

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But what is this plan that they’re referring to?  Is it to shift Miller over to another position, a la Denard Robinson, and continue to utilize Miller’s open field elusiveness and explosive big play ability?  Maybe.

Howver, here’s what I believe Urban Meyer’s 10-step “backup plan” really looks like.


Step 1

Immediately stress-eat some cold Papa John’s.

Go find the sweet, sweet, ass-embrace of a pleather-seated golf cart and immediately crash-land there for a personal-sized pizza binging.  Focus on looking as miserable and as thoroughly exhausted as possible.  If you feel the need to run your hands through your hair in an attempt to keep from freaking the hell out, feel free to do so.


Step 2

File an emergency injunction with the NCAA for a 5th year of eligibility for one Timothy Richard Tebow

Desperate times call for desperate measures, right?  Besides, he’s not really doing a whole lot these days, other than BFF-ing around with Paul Finebaum.  If we know one thing about Tim and Urb’s relationship, it’s that they just can’t quit each other.  And if we know one thing about the NCAA, it’s that they routinely botch easy decisions and make insane choices with things like eligibility.  Here’s a quick picture of what would happen at ESPN if Tim Tebow, LeBron James, and Johnny Manziel were all within a 200 mile radius of one another simultaneously?


Step 3

Bring in motivational speakers, and former Urban Meyer disciples, Riley Cooper and Aaron Hernandez

Presentation1

When Urban was coaching his self-proclaimed “greatest team in college football history” he was, of course referencing the high-character guys that he coached during his time at the U of F.  While Cooper is likely available, if he’s not too busy attending some *kough* *kkough* rallies he may have to Skype in Hernandez or accept a collect call from inmate #27663H in order to get the full motivational duo-effect.


Step 4

Call Brady Hoke back and tell him that the message he left you of himself laughing hysterically for 3 minutes and then shouting “suck it.” into the phone was highly unprofessional.  Then hire the Pouncey bros. to head over to Hoke’s house and tune his ass up.


Step 5

Contact training staff of the Seattle Seahawks and see if they have a “specialist” that Braxton can speak to

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Step 6

This.

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Step 7

Go to local YMCA and infiltrate Aaron Craft’s pickup game where he still tries obnoxiously harder than everyone else and see if you can convince him to suit up one last time for his alma mater.  What’s he going to say, no?


Step 8

Use your ties with the local law enforcement agencies, cultivated by years spent dealing with them constantly, and see if they can recommend any inmates so you can put together a Longest Yard style quarterback competition.


Step 9

Retire

It’s what you do best.  Other than win an f-load of football games, anyway.


Step 10

Un-Retire

Dramatic.  Impassioned.  Way richer than not being a coach.  It’s time to rally the troops.  Repeat steps 1-3 as needed.

FIN

A Hail Mary from RKIII.

FIN