In Part I of the Nebraska Potluck, we examined #Brands. Now it's time to jump into the Nebraska staples, non-steak category. Follow along as we look at Bo Pelini, fireable offenses, Bogatory, PositionU, best kicks, cuts-of-meat, and strangely enough, WLAX.
Main Dish: Runzas and Reubens - I couldn't decide what was more Nebraska, so I choose both. The Runza is a Nebraska staple that you should probably snag when you come to Lincoln for a game. Warm bread stuffed with cabbage and meat and spices - and often cheese - make for a delicious meal. Do you feel great four hours later? Absolutely not, but that's half the fun! On the other side of the coin, you have the Reuben. I get that New York wants to claim it - like they claim everything else in the world - but this is ours. We figured it out at the Blackstone Hotel in Omaha, and so deal with it. Speaking of dealing with it, let's talk about Bo Pelini.
Coach Pelini is kind of a fiery guy, and by fiery, I mean he seems to wear all of his emotions on his sleeve and bleed into the game at times. From an outsiders opinion, how would you rate his coaching abilities? What do you think makes this year a success for Bo? What would constitute abject failure resulting in firing?
MNWildcat: Five losses. I guess. Three losses makes it not, not a success. This, of course, means that Nebraska will lose four games and remain permanently in Bogatory.
Mike Jones: As he never loses more than four games I think it's clear that Pelini is a consistent coach who knows what works. I think this season would be successful if he could rid the PeLLLLini label. What would get Pelini fired? Nothing, apparently. If you can tell your fans to fuck off, nearly assault a referee and then challenge your athletic department to fire you and STILL have a job the next day, what can't you do?
Green Akers: I suppose I'd put him in the top half of the conference's coaches. I also think too much is made of his personality. Something tells me no one would care about his cranky disposition if he were fulfilling the fanbase's expectations. Does anyone think Les Miles being batshit insane would fly if LSU weren't a perennial threat to Bama? Would Mike Leach have a job if he weren't a mad genius Air Raid-scheming pirate? Does anyone actually like either of the Harbaugh brothers? A coach's personality is only an issue when his performance is, too. Win to at least the level that is expected of you, and people will put up with anything.
As for Bo, I'd have to imagine Nebraska fans are a little impatient with the good-but-not-champions stasis he's settled them into. I actually think that's a reasonable take, and though ditching the safe but consistently unremarkable coaching option in favor of a gamble has burned conference mates before (looking at you, Gophers), Nebraska actually having a living memory of greatness would make a coaching switch a lot more defensible, should they choose to do it.
I guess it's easy enough to put a label on failure- anything that represents a step backward in the record department should be unacceptable at this point. The program is thoroughly Pelini's, the conference transition should be just about complete by now, and there are no standout teams in the division. I'll be as bold as to say that being out of West contention before the Heroes game makes the season a fireable failure.
Graham: I love Pelini's emotion.
I love Pelini's sense of humor.
I wonder about times like JetSweepGate and whatever Minnesota did to Nebraska last year.
C4B: Bo seems like a solid coach, one who I would gladly accept taking a position in Bloomington should you fools fire him. For this year to be a success, PeLLLLini must drop an L. If he instead adds one (or two or three), he's probably gone.
Aaron Yorke: I've always seen Pelini as more of a leader/motivator than an "Xs and Os" guy, and that's fine as long as you've got a good supporting staff. Recruiting is half the battle in college football, anyway. Given Pelini's defensive roots, though, it's disappointing that he hasn't been able to field a great defense since entering the Big Ten. I think we all remember how impressive the Nebraska defense was when it almost upset Texas in the 2009 Big 12 title game.
Babaoreally: Pelini seems like a decent coach to me. He certainly isn't a laughingstock or anything, but I don't consider him one of the better coaches in college football by any means. I think 6-6 would result in his firing; maybe 9-3 would be considered a success.
Dessert: Chili and Cinnamon Rolls - No, we're not doing dessert today. I'm sure there is something delicious Nebraskans will tout, but this is a potluck and we already had Kool-Aid salad, so we can't be trusted with sugary things. Now, before you get all crazy on me and say this combination sounds awful, hear me out. Growing up in Nebraska, one of the traditional school lunch things was Chili and Cinnamon Rolls. I think this was probably a Western Iowa thing too, but I'm claiming it for today. Usually they didn't have icing, so it was just bread with some cinnamon/sugar to counteract the acidity/spice in the chili. It's a great combination, and something that you should all try this winter. Know what else you should try? Wait, that segue doesn't work... Uh, KickerU!
Nebraska football has a new Kicker in town, and it's the little brother of Kris Brown. Needless to say, we're ecstatic over this news because KickerU y'all. Nebraska has put so many kickers into the NFL that it's just getting ridiculous. What positions do you see your school being known for? Also, while we're here, what's your favorite 'kick' in the history of your program?
MNWildcat: I see my school being known for some of the best attacking midfielders in women's lacrosse. Shannon Smith and Taylor Thornton, y'all. Look it up.
My favorite KICK? I'm still drinking away Stefan Demos. I'll get back to you.
DJ Carver: Ahem, i believe Maryland has the best attacking midfielders in women's lacrosse. Yours were so bad you had to hire a Maryland grad to coach them
Mike Jones: Offensive linemen. End of story. My favorite kick? Well...
Green Akers: Of late, MSU's best positional group has been the defensive backs, and that will probably continue into the foreseeable future. We've also had a decent output of running backs (Ringer, Baker, Bell) in the last few years, and until Maxwell came in and Maxwelled, we'd put three consecutive starting QBs in the league as well. The only notable absence in the NFL ranks from MSU in the Dantonio era has been offensive linemen, where we've still produced no draft picks.
My favorite kick wasn't a kick at all. The Little Giants fake to beat Notre Dame in OT felt like a transitional moment in Dantonio's time at MSU, as though the Williams/Smith tradition of finding new and innovative ways to lose was gone for good. It was a great feeling, and I'll never forget it.
Graham: Jay Feely has a nat'l championship on his belt, but Michigan is strangely bereft of famous field goals. We have tons of famous touchdowns (Anthony Carter, Mercury Hayes, Manningham, DESMOND, Denard's ND heroics)... But we didn't do REALLY famous field goals.
LineShiftGate? SlideGate? DieloHeroTime? It doesn't have a name but you know what I am discussing.
C4B: Probably wide receiver, considering that's where most of our guys either played in college, played in the pros, or both. Plus, while we've had a couple quarterbacks go to the pros from IU, if I try and claim QB as Indiana's best position, the hate posts from the Purdue fans here wouldn't stop until next year's Nebraska Potluck, if then.
The kick that is probably best known in IU history (at least recently) is Austin Starr's game winner from the 2007 Old Oaken Bucket game. It did a lot of things for the program at the time (7 wins, bowl appearance, and bringing back the Bucket), and the only two downsides from it are that we kept Bill Lynch too long as coach because of it and that Terry Hoeppner wasn't there to see it.
Aaron Yorke: WEAH LINEBACKA U. Penn State has also had a lot of success putting offensive lineman and defensive tackles in the NFL. Favorite kick has to be the one that Kevin Kelly nailed to finally put PSU over Florida State in the 2005 Orange Bowl.
babaoreally:Purdue has had a few successful quarterbacks, most notably "Cowboy" Kyle Orton, who just stole some money from Jerry Jones. There's a few other ones like Brees, Griese and Dawson, but I am most proud of "Cowboy" Kyle.
The best kick in the history of the program was Travis Dorsch's 48 yarder against Minnesota in 2001. Brandon Hance completed a 39 yard pass to Taylor Stubblefield with one second on the clock in the middle of the field with Purdue down 3. Since it was a first down, the clock stopped while the ball was spotted. The FG team ran onto the field and snapped it as soon as the whistle was blown. The refs didn't even have enough time to get down by the uprights for the FG, but it was obviously good. The Boilers won in OT after the pattern in the Metrodome end zone confused a ref enough to disallow a Gopher TD in OT. It was pretty awesome.
Jesse: The best kick that I can remember has gotta be Alex Henery's 57 yard kick to basically beat Colorado in 2008. I just remember freaking out that we were going to try and kick the ball 57 yards, and he nails it.
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BONUS) Nebraska likes steak. It's kind of a big deal here. What is your states' best meat and/or best cut? Bonus points for random beer comments. (I don't really drink. I'm Asian.)
Mike Jones: We just talked about this last week. We have the best pork. And the best diary (wink wink). And Toppling Goliath is arguably our best brewery. Although I'm also a big fan of Peace Tree.
Green Akers: I've never had the sense that Michigan's much of a livestock state, really. We're more into plants. MSU's dairy herd is globally well-regarded, if my freshman year roommate (Animal Science major) is to be believed, and MSU Dairy Store Ice Cream's dominance over the sour froth shat out by certain other conference institutions bears that out. I'm just going to trumpet how we have Bell's, Founders, Dark Horse, Arcadia, Short's, and about a dozen other standout breweries that you don't have and call it a day.
Graham: MEAT in Lansing had turned itself into an intriguing place, full of eggs on delicious bbq or smoked meats.
C4B: Heck if I know, I'm no ag student. Some kind of beef or pork, most likely. Probably something good with beer, whatever it is.
Jesse: So uh, weird question, I know. Nebraska is #1 in commercial red meat production, so we got this whole beef thing down. If you can go to a steakhouse in these parts, get a great Ribeye. These are some fatty cows, and the marbling here is better than anywhere else.
As for beer, it's not that I don't like beer, it's that it's just a pain to drink. Anyhow, the best local beer is Empyrean, and their Vanilla Porter is delicious. Lucky Bucket isn't too bad, either. We're starting to see more and more micro-breweries pop up around here, though, so that's good.