Game Week: The 2014 Gator Bowl

It is fitting that a program that can’t seem to get out of a rut also keeps experiencing bowl game deja vu. Of course we are playing a mid-level Florida bowl. Of course it’s Georgia again. And of course its Aaron Murray-less Georgia, denying the only storyline (redemption) that would’ve made this an interesting game. I mean, at least give us Alabama so we can ogle AJ McCarron’s mega-babe LADY FRIEND. The bowl system is fucking terrible.

I’ve come to the point that I don’t think Bo will ever win a national title here. And I don’t think this fan base - as it is currently comprised - will either. Bo and the fans have clashed to create a toxic culture where winning doesn’t happen. That leaves us in some sort of Groundhog Day purgatory. And if Bo ever breaks through and wins big here (I think he can, I just don’t know that this is the right environment for him), he’ll leave for a new job in a second. Fun! In the meantime, the current team is about as fun to watch as any I can remember. And they love playing for Nebraska. So I hope they turn the ball over 8 times and still beat Georgia by 10. It would be fitting.

And now, I’m going to take a quick second and abuse this virtual microphone I have. I’m not going to bum you out with a sob story before you read a 91-slide carousel of dick jokes, but the last month has been a difficult one for me [I’m OK. Save condolences and prayers for someone who really needs them. Really.]

That’s why there have been less @tunnelwalkshame tweets. Why I didn’t scramble to write an Iowa comic after the Taylor Martinez tribute. Sorry about that. I wasn’t in the right space to do TWOS things. I might still not be. But I’m still really surprised and humbled by the fact that people look forward to this comic. I know it’s reached a certain critical mass, but it’s still overwhelming. I didn’t ever expect that my hiatus from dick jokes would disappoint anyone.  

And I have to tell you, your disappointment means the world to me. Making something that means something to anybody? That means a lot to me. And so I’m hijacking this space for a second to say thanks. After a rough couple weeks, it’s nice to know that I can put a few laughs into your day. I don’t know if this comic is going to be that good, I might be a little off my game. But I think you’ll like it. And I hope you do. I hope you fucking love it as much as I fucking loved writing it.  

Now, let’s enter the tunnel. First stop: Jortsville, Georgia.

This is Not the Greatest Quarterback in the World. This is Just a Tribute.

I’ve got a confession to make: I’m a Taylor Martinez fan. I celebrate the guy’s entire catalog. And because Friday is his Senior Day, I thought it fitting to send him off the right way. And after that, I have some thoughts on our mercurial field general. But first, a tribute to the crazy diamond: 

Taylor Martinez: Legend from Tunnel Walk of Shame on Vimeo.

Taylor Martinez is a Certified Ridiculous Human Being. Just think about this. Remember the 2010 season opener, and the salacious rumor that Bo Pelini might start an unheralded freshman burner at quarterback? It turned out to be true, and all Martinez did was gash defenses left and right and left again - including Kansas State, whose fans used their “power towels” to wipe away their salty tears. Anyone who makes Kansas State sad is a friend of mine. I liked Taylor from the start. We all did, if you remember. We dreamt of Heismans, conference titles, maybe even a national run. Finally, we had the right set of wheels. We had a chance. In 6 weeks we went from not knowing who Taylor was to putting the weight of 1995 on him. 

Like so many things in the Bo Pelini era, nothing really went as planned. Ankle injuries, throwing motions, turnovers, “turf toe.” Breathtaking highs, baffling lows and ridiculous interviews. But Pelini-era disappointments usually carry a silver lining, and this is no exception. 

Four years ago, a California kid that nobody wanted as their quarterback came to play football in the middle of nowhere. He arrived at the end of 10 years of dormancy. And no, he didn’t lead us to the promised land. But he showed us what it looked like. He won games, broke records, made us bite our nails and brought us to our feet. He made us wonder how high we could go. Every year, the BCS seemed like a possibility. And for a fan base so disillusioned by a decade of mediocrity, that’s worth something.

We watched him bounce right up from 99% of the bone-crushing hits laid on him. We also watched him bounce back from all the negativity, the heckling, the questions and the scrutiny. And then, to top it off, he called his little brother and said, “You’re gonna love this place.” And also, probably, “Yes, they have a laser tag arena and I got you a season pass.” 

Getting up after getting hit makes you a football player. What Taylor did makes you a Husker.  

Look, I’m not here to make some grand philosophical statement about what Taylor embodies in all of us, or what he symbolizes to the program. That’s silly. I just love football. And the Huskers are my favorite team. And you know what I learned about Taylor Martinez in four years? He loves football, too. And this is his favorite team. And he had every reason to abandon both of those things, and didn’t. Maybe that is something to learn from. Something to remember next time the sky appears to be falling.

If nothing else, it’s a good reason to cheer like hell on Friday when they call his name. I know I will. He’s earned it. 

Thanks for four great years, fuckwad. Good luck out there.

Game Week: Penn State (2013)

This week, a random person posted on Facebook that Bo Pelini has already agreed to resign after the Iowa game and that Jim Tressel was a leading candidate for his replacement. This according to the poster’s “really good source who I can’t tell you who it is but it’s really good and just trust me.” In a rational world, this missive would suffer the same fate as every other fart-in-the-wind Facebook post. But for an information-starved fan base with nothing better to do after watching their team get mathematically eliminated from the Big Ten Title Game and BCS game contention, this qualified as news. It was debated by people who get paid to think about this football team because we are all insane.

I have no Grand Unified Theory on the future of the Huskers. I know we have a good coach who may or may not be capable of great, but who has yet to get over that particular hump. I know we have an AD who has never hired a head football coach. I know we’d be competing for a head coach with USC, probably Texas and - even worse - programs whose coaches leave for greener pastures. And while we can sit here and pretend that every coach in America would agree with our biased opinion that this is the greatest coaching job in the history of ever, objective reason would tell us that’s not the case. So am I thrilled with Bo? Not entirely. Do I think he should stay? Probably, yeah. But we better have a really fucking good escape plan if we fire him. In middle school I broke up with a girl because a prettier girl liked me. THAT’S an escape plan. It’s shallow as fuck, but it’s still a good plan, you know? OK bad example.

I do know this: I created TWOS for weeks like this. Weeks when there’s a bad taste in our mouths from losses and rumors and our faces are permanently glued to our palms. It’s not an endorsement, or a soapbox, it’s just some jokes. And I hope you love it. It helps me to have something fun to look forward to when everything else surrounding the team I love just feels blah. I hope it helps you, too, if only for a few minutes.

This week Bo and Taylor talk about the future, Tim Miles offers unrequested advice and Shawn Eichorst breaks his silence. Follow TWOS on Twitter where, if we do go into a coaching search, some very reasonable and rational conversations will occur. Here’s your comic…

Game Week: Michigan State (2013)

This is the point of year where we all throw our hands up and say, “Oh who the fuck knows what this team is let’s just see what happens.” And that’s the most fun part of the whole year. Every year this team seems done for, and then they rise like a phoenix from the ashes or Carl Pelini from the champagne room.

It’s frustrating when your team’s not winning national titles. For all the talk of conference championships and whatever else, national titles are the benchmark. I don’t give a shit about all the intermediary goals, I want a national title. But it’s not happening this year. So in the meantime, I want a team that fights like hell. I want Ameer Abdullah punishing people. Bo Pelini blissfully ignoring the need for building any kind of positive public image.  Fuck everything. Win games. If you’re not winning national titles, that’s the most fun you can have. Because that’s the team that’s loose enough to land a Hail Mary, or let Randy Gregory stop worryin’ and start murderin’. I love it.

This season is not without its disappointments, great and small. But let’s enjoy the last three games. Starting with Michigan State. Sparty’s on edge. It’s 2 am and they’re staring the big-tittied blonde right in the eye, one smooth line away from closing the deal. And the Huskers can stumble half-drunk into the picture, flash a smile and take this fine-ass lady home. Wouldn’t that be fun? Fuck Michigan State.

This week in the Tunnel, Taylor discusses life after football, and Bo gets a new best friend while getting reintroduced to an old enemy. Follow TWOS on Twitter if you’re into that sort of thing. I have to say, your replies to my stupid tweets during the week are funnier than most things I put in the comic. Thanks for that.

But first, your Sparty comic awaits. And it starts with Randy Gregory ripping Devin Gardner’s soul out. 

Game Week: Michigan (2013)

I wasn’t very old when Nebraska won its national championships. I remember them, but I didn’t appreciate them as much as I should have at the time. What I do remember is days and weeks of celebration. Everyone was excited. Everyone was positive.

On Saturday, as shaken-up beers rained down on me from a celebrating friend, I realized that this is what the best parts of football fandom feel like. That’s the feeling we chase. It didn’t last as long as it did in ‘95, but for just a little bit, you could forget about an embattled coach, an ugly loss to Minnesota, the relative gauntlet of games ahead of the team, the Twitter trolls and message board missives. For a couple hours, football was only fun again. 

But now, it’s back to reality. Michigan awaits, as grumbling and uncertain as we have been. Plus they have a fat coach! I love when a team has a fat coach. There’s a decent chance he’ll have to “sprint” down the sideline to call a timeout and watching that is worth the price of admission in and of itself.

This week in the Tunnel, we celebrate a little longer with RK3, Jordan Mustacherkamp and the rest of the gang. If you’d like, follow TWOS on Twitter. And also, if you’re a Reddit person (or even if you’re not) there are two great football communities you should check out: /r/Huskers is a great hub of Husker info and discussion and /r/CFB is a general college football community that has all the news and none of the shitty internet people commenting about it. Both are fantastic communities, I thought you might enjoy them.

Now then, let’s linger in that historical play for just a little longer. Your comic:

Game Week: Northwestern (2013)

I’ll keep today’s preamble short because I’ve probably talked enough this week. Suffice to say, I did not expect that article to go where it went. A lot of people read it and a lot of people joined in a good, reasonable, productive discussion afterwards. That’s a good day in my book. I also heard from some people who told me to “Stick to the jokey jokes, Jokey Jokerson!” And you’re allowed to think that but I will ignore you because this site is free and nobody’s making you read anything on it and you worry about stupid things in your life.

Instead, why don’t you worry about this Saturday? Because those fucking season-ruining nerds are in town again and they’re hungry for a win. Damn, Northwestern. If history’s any indication, tomorrow should look better than last Saturday. Bo coaches better with his back against the wall, and he’s never been pinned like this. Also Northwestern has more injuries than Florida and Georgia combined which is super helpful. 

This week in the Tunnel, Bo and the boys try to boost morale, brotherly love abounds and we get a handle on Taylor’s injuries. Follow Tunnel Walk of Shame on Twitter where you’ll find gems like this, and enjoy the game on Saturday. Hopefully.