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Nebraska Potluck: Revisiting the Past, Again

The Huskers vs PSU '94 and UM '97—Let's Settle This With Arguing & Hypotheticals

NCAA Football: Wisconsin at Nebraska
The team that would have beaten Michigan.
Bruce Thorson-USA TODAY Sports

So, it's 2:25 am and here I am doing this dumb piece for an early morning drop using my phone that has stopped providing autocorrect, meaning I have to write everything correctly like it's 1995 or something—which is actually very fitting. What I'm saying is that I am out of energy to bring you something cute for the potluck. I'm bringing a roll of paper towels today. And maybe some Zima, because get a load of today's question:

"NU/Mich 97 - who ya got? NU/PSU 94 - who ya got?"

Oh boy.

GF3: Ah, the 1990s...the last time any of these programs mattered on the national stage. I assume ‘97 UNL only has to play Michigan for 2 quarters since Michigan was only a half-champion? ‘94 UNL would’ve had a field day with ‘94 PSU.


Thumpasaurus: Let’s look at the schedules here. 1994 Nebraska’s closest contest was in the Orange Bowl against #3 Miami, a 7-point win. Penn State, on the other hand, edged Indiana by six and fell behind Illinois by 21 points before squeezing out a 4-point victory. Of course this connects to Illinois. How could it not? Nebraska wins.

Now in 1997, Michigan had Charles Woodson, a disruptive weapon against the passing game and a dynamic return man. Why the Wolverines bothered to counteract new-age offenses that employed such avant-garde concepts as the forward pass is beyond me; perhaps a Michigan Man was not coaching a Michigan Team. Either way, the Huskers have several key advantages. As any Michigan fan in the area will tell you, Tom Brady was the key player on that 1997 team because he later won multiple Super Bowls with the Patriots. Well, Brady plans to play until he’s 50. They say the star that burns twice as bright burns half as long, and Scott Frost had an NFL career substantially shorter than Brady’s, which means his star burnt many many times brighter. Add to that the fact that Michigan’s schedule allowed them to duck Illinois in 1997 and Nebraska clinches it easily.

LGHF: This wasn’t the finest Nebraska team of the 1990’s although the talent level was out of this world. Michigan’s margins to being undefeated that year were tiny. Michigan struggles throwing the ball and scoring, as they did against all top-level defenses that year, Nebraska runs into a B1G-level defense...21-17 Huskers.

Aaron: In 1997, Nebraska only faced two ranked teams during its waltz through the Big 12. Both No. 17 Kansas State and No. 12 Texas A&M fell to the Huskers pretty easily. Meanwhile, Michigan had to deal with No. 2 Penn State and No. 4 Ohio State in addition to Iowa and Michigan State, both of which were ranked during their games against the Wolverines. Plus, against common opponent Colorado, Michigan won 27-3 while Nebraska won 27-24. I’m giving UM the edge based on the strength of its victories.

In 1994, all Penn State fans know that the Nittany Lions only dropped in the polls because JoePa refused to run up the score against Indiana. No good deed goes left unpunished, and the one-score margin of victory did not impress the voters. The Lions would have rolled over the Huskers just like they did against every other team they faced that year.

Creighton: I know you’re just trying to bait me into making fun of you for bringing up the 90’s, but what you don’t realize is that I hate Michigan and their fans way more than I hate I’m going to throw a curveball and claim that Nebraska would’ve steamrolled Michigan and their half-championship. I find the ’97 Huskers particularly likeable because

A. When they beat Missouri on the famous Flea Flicker play, Mizzou fans hilariously stormed the field because they thought they had just won the game and

B. They scored 77 points on Iowa State.

As for Nebraska vs Penn State: Huskers would’ve beaten the Nits by like 30 points that year. No question. What no Penn State fan will ever bring up when talking about that year is that they had one of the shittiest defenses in all of the major conferences. What do you honestly think would happen if the 70th best defense in the country had to play against Tommie Frazier and Lawrence Phillips? The Simpsons episode Homie the Clown wouldn’t air until 1995, but the “He’s already dead” gif from that episode that you see on Twitter every time Rutgers plays a game in some sport somewhere would’ve been the perfect summary of this hypothetical matchup.

Beez: I’ve been insane levels of busy lately and have missed the Nebby potlucks. No longer! But also I’m still busy so I’m just gonna say Nebby wins both of them because when has the B1G ever been great on the biggest stage other than OSU?

Stew: PSU blows out UNL and Charles Woodson beats UNL. UNL may have had the best team in college football history in 1995, but they won the 1994 title because Osborne begged for it, because he hadn’t won a natty, yet. And they won a half natty again in 1997 because Osborne begged for it as a retirement gift.

BRT: “Osborne begged for it” is my favorite revisionist history ever. Not only is it completely unsubstantiated, it doesn’t even make sense. Like, let’s pretend Osborne did beg for it. Actually made some calls and said “Pretty please, I want a Natty, I have an undefeated team, please give it to me, pretty please.” What would be the motivation for giving in to this begging? That a 60+ year old man begging is somehow persuasive? That Osborne was bffs with every person who decided who got a title? Sure, I bet. I at least respect Aaron, because although he is wrong, he at least tried to make a plausible argument, instead of pulling something out of his ass and calling it a fact.

In the times we live in, it’s important to be able to tell plausible theories and facts apart from the deluded ramblings of madmen. One of the easiest ways is to ask yourself “Does this theory make any f*cking sense at all? Like in the real world, the one we live in?” If not, like the Stewspew above, then it is right and just to consign such ramblings to AM radio where they belong.

Oh, and Nebraska would have rolled both of those garbage Big Ten teams. Especially PSU. Defense wins championships, and in the end, they had neither of those things.