Oh, they're nice, Nebraskans. They're unfailingly polite, cheerfully hospitable, and gracious hosts at tailgates regardless of whether the Huskers win or lose. On football Saturdays in Lincoln, through the gates of Memorial Stadium pass 81,000 plus of these "greatest fans in college football." They even put up a sign so that we'd all remember how nice and hospitable and great Cornhusker fans are:
Yes, Nebraskans are nice.
This is why we have to hate them.
In the law, it is called "a slippery slope." (Don't worry, Nebraska fans: I said slippery slope. I'm not talking about the slippery fingers of your punt returners and Taylor Martinez....yet.) It's probably the first legal "argument" you learn of in law school; indeed, you probably learn it before even going to law school.
The basic premise is simple: yes, this incremental step may seem appropriate, proper, and reasonable. But it is one step towards Sodom and Gomorrah. By making this step, we start down a path to destruction. Political figures can use it on either side, whether it's the right opposing gun restrictions ("Yes, Bob, background checks to ensure guns don't end up in the hands of criminals may seem reasonable now, but that's just the first step down a slippery slope towards taking away the Second Amendment rights of Americans"), or on the left with abortion ("Yes, Bob, restricting access to abortion after 20 weeks of conception except in instances of rape, incest, or the health of the mother may seem reasonable now, but that's just the first step down a slippery slop towards taking away women's rights under Roe v. Wade to make health choices concerning their bodies"). In truth, you can make a slippery slope argument about anything: new football targeting rules ("It's a slippery slope from here to flag football..."), the merits of using "Fuck Michigan" ("It's a slippery slope from that to hate speech..."), or even Ted's lawn ("It's a slippery slope from you walking on the sidewalk across the street to you standing on my lawn, so GET OFF MY LAWN!").
The slippery slope's universality makes it a lazy argument, but sometimes, it is true. Sometimes, what seems like a nice, pleasant, gracious step down the path puts you on a road to destruction. The first sip of Daisy Cutter Pale Ale is refreshing on a hot Saturday night, but then you follow it with a second, and then a third/fourth/fifth, and then some overpriced and unidentifiable shots from a disinterested looking cocktail waitress in a skimpy top at the Hangge Uppe....and then pretty soon you're waking up on Sunday at 11:30 am with a pounding headache, stale cigarettes on your dried out breathe, missing a shoe, your wallet $400 lighter thanks to "bottle service" and a trip to VIPs to contribute to Cinnamon's tuition fund, and no idea where you left your car.
Nebraska is the B1G's slippery slope. It's all been downhill for our conference since Nebraska....
What, you don't believe me, crazy-eyed Bo Pelini?
Nebraska has said all the right things, and been friendly, and played well since joining the B1G....but underneath that cordial veneer lurked a danger, an evil, that would send the B1G spiraling ever downward towards the depths of hell (a.k.a. picking up second tier programs from the ACC/Big East). Nebraska accepted an invitation to join the B1G as its twelfth member on June 10, 2010. And it's been downhill for the entire conference ever since:
- September 2, 2010: In what was clearly a shrewd, farsighted plan that would pay incredible long term dividends (and arguably inspired by the long tenure of Tom Osborne at Nebraska), Iowa gives Kirk Ferentz a contract extension through 2020 that will pay him $3,675,000 annually plus a longevity bump that will begin at $325,000 and increase every year. Hawkeyes fans rejoice.
- September 2, 2010: Indiana plays football against Towson. While Indiana wins the game, Indiana continues to make the bad decision to play football throughout 2010, 2011, and 2012, largely so that it can continue to lord its superiority over Nebraska.
- September 10, 2010: Mark Dantonio has a heart attack after a win over Notre Dame. His cholesterol levels were up due to a pregame meal of Runzas.
- September 13, 2010: Jim Tressel signs an annual NCAA certificate of compliance stating that he knows of no violations of NCAA rules and has reported any knowledge of possible violations to the school. This same form is also provided to Bo Pelini at Nebraska. Signing that form turned out a lot worse for the Buckeyes.
- November 13, 2010: Dan Persa throws a 20-yard TD pass to Demetrius Fields with just 1:24 left in regulation to give Northwestern a 21-17 win over Iowa and moving Northwestern to 7-3 on the season with an upcoming game at Wrigley Field with ESPN Gameday in town. On this same pass, Dan Persa ruptures his Achilles. Northwestern would go winless the rest of the season, and would struggle in 2011 as well when Persa's Achilles never fully heals. I can't prove that Nebraska had anything to do with this, but it sucked and I'm choosing to blame it all on Nebraska.
- December 2, 2010: Josh Groban makes Rich Rodriguez cry. This is hilarious, but seriously: Nebraska joins the conference, and 6 months later a Michigan football coach is shedding tears over a modern-day version of John Tesh. See: slope, slippery.
- January 1, 2011: Paul Chryst loses his goddamn mind at the Rose Bowl, and forgets that Wisconsin is a running football team. TCU wins 21-19. Fortunately, Wisconsin remembers that it is a running football team in time for 2012 B1G Championship game against Nebraska. / Wisconsin scores again
- January 10, 2011: Auburn, led by the COMPLETELY ABOVE BOARD AND IN NO WAY VIOLATING NCAA RULES OR TAKING HANDOUTS TO PLAY HERE Cam Newton, wins the BCS Championship. Millions of fans at Ole Miss, Mississippi State, Tennessee, Kentucky, Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Vanderbilt, South Carolina, Arkansas and LSU celebrate their superiority and tan in the reflected glow off the AFCA National Championship Trophy.
- April 14, 2011: Inspired by universally beloved Cornhusker mascot Lil' Red, Purdue's administration decides to update its mascot Purdue Pete. This does not go well. The new Purdue Pete gets steamrolled about as badly as Nebraska's run defense.
- April 29, 2011: The University of Nebraska - Lincoln, is kicked out of the American Association of Universities, most likely because the AAU learned that University of Nebraska - Lincoln had no clue how to abbreviate. The B1G loses its status as the only major collegiate athletic conference where all of its members were within the AAU. Millions of fans at Ole Miss, Mississippi State, Tennessee, Kentucky, Alabama, Auburn, Florida, Georgia, Vanderbilt, South Carolina, Arkansas and LSU celebrate their superiority and tan in the reflected glow of the B1G being "just like us" in academics. Yes, the "N" stands for "Knowledge."
- November 6-12, 2011: For an entire week, the only thing that people in State College, Pennsylvania talk about is that Saturday's exciting upcoming football game against Nebraska. What a fun, wonderful week for all of them!
- November 27, 2011: Ron Zook is fired, after a 6-0 start ended with an 0-6 finish. Illinois did not play Nebraska in 2011. In other words, if Nebraska had been on the schedule, the Cornhuskers could have rolled over and lost so that we could have kept Ron Zook coaching and out of banking. When the next financial meltdown happens, blame Nebraska. (On the other hand, Ron Zook's firing brought us Tim Beckman, and all of the LOLs that go along with him getting run over by referees.)
- January 9, 2012: Alabama defeats LSU in a rematch to win the BCS National Championship. Millions of fans at Ole Miss, Mississippi State, Tennessee, Kentucky, Auburn, Florida, Georgia, Vanderbilt, South Carolina, Arkansas and LSU celebrate their superiority and tan in the reflected glow off the AFCA National Championship Trophy.
- November 19-20, 2012: Maryland and Rutgers join the B1G conference. Remember that Nebraska started the expansion craze when you're sitting next to a fat guy sweating out Old Bay/a track-suit wearing, fake-tanned, Drakkar Noir drenched steroid poster child while watching your team play Maryland/Rutgers in 2014 instead of (fill in the blank with any other B1G team that you have a history with, all of which are superior to Maryland or Rutgers).
- January 7, 2013: Notre Dame goes undefeated in the regular season, and meets Alabama for the national title. In other words, God creates the most insufferable BCS Championship Game imaginable as punishment for the B1G taking Nebraska. Alabama wins the BCS National Championship. Millions of fans at Ole Miss, Mississippi State, Tennessee, Kentucky, Auburn, Florida, Georgia, Vanderbilt, South Carolina, Arkansas, Missouri, Texas A&M and LSU celebrate their superiority and tan in the reflected glow off the AFCA National Championship Trophy.
- July 22, 2013: Off-Tackle Empire begins Nebraska week. In honor of Cornhusker legend Lawrence Phillips, Carlos Hyde punches a woman (allegedly).
- July 25, 2013: Writers from Nebraska SB Nation site Corn Nation call the Rose Bowl a "dilapidated fire trap complete with lousy site lines," and advocate against a 9-game conference schedule because they'd "rather watch Nebraska (or Ohio State, Michigan, Minnesota, Iowa, etc. etc.) play teams outside the conference than play each other more." Seriously, who the fuck are these guys, and why are they in our conference?
The only thing that has gone downhill faster than the B1G since Nebraska joined the conference is Wisconsin's running game against the "Blackshirts" in the 2012 B1G Championship game. (/Wisconsin scored again.)
Don't get too close to Taylor Martinez, Alec Ogletree..... - Graham Filler
I shared my "slippery slope" view of Nebraska with Graham (no I didn't) in the hopes that he'd come up with some convoluted simile about how Nebraska is like a girl he dated (actually I just made all of this up). Here is what Graham told me (no he didn't, I wrote this):
"Nebraska is like that really nice girl I met on Match.com who seemed perfect for me - she's smart, in good shape, with a great personality and sense of humor (she likes Sex and the City as much as I do!). We went on a few dates, and it went really well, and we hooked up, and the sex was great, and then we started seriously dating. And then a couple weeks later she lost her job, so I let her move in with me. And then these red bumps appeared on my body in a place they shouldn't have, and I went to the doctor and he said that while he could prescribe something to treat 'the symptoms,' there wasn't any cure. And then she started inviting these obnoxious friends of hers to hang out at my place. But we're still together, so I hope it works...."
To be clear, Nebraska, Graham isn't saying that Nebraska is herpes.* He's saying Nebraska is a really nice girl that treats him nice, but who lost her job (AAU status), and dating her now means he has to hang out with her obnoxious friends (Maryland and Rutgers). Oh yeah, and she happens to CARRY herpes.
* (Graham didn't say any of this. I made it all up. Much like Nebraska made up its 1994 and 1997 national titles.)
So why should we hate Nebraska? We should hate their niceness, as it's camouflage covering the fact that they have started to destroy our conference from the inside.
We should hate them for being the first domino in conference re-alignment armaggedon, which eventually led to the B1G picking up Rutgers and Maryland.
We should hate Nebraska because they have a worse bowl record (0-2) than Northwestern (1-1) since they joined the conference.
We should hate them for allowing a 7-5 Wisconsin team to become the worst non-Illinois B1G Rose Bowl participant in history. In embarrassing fashion, to boot. /Wisconsin scores again.
We should hate Nebraska for 1994 Penn State and 1997 Michigan, because PSU and UM were in the conference first and those were B1G National Titles, goddamnit.
We should hate them for calling the best bowl venue on God's green earth a dump and for wanting to play a non-conference opponent like Southern Miss, Wyoming, South Dakota State, or UCLA (seriously?) rather than a B1G team.
We should hate Nebraska because you can't spell Bo Pellllini without 4 Ls, and because he dresses like a homeless version of Bill Belichick.
We should hate Nebraska for Graham, because Valtrex is expensive.
But mainly we should hate Nebraska because they're in our conference now, we hate our conference opponents, and there is nothing more satisfying than throwing vitriol, anger, and hatred at fans that are so stupidly nice.