Welcome to Nebraska week! Grab a Runza and a cup of Kool-Aid and feel free to make yourself at home (by which we mean do not make yourself comfortable. Linger around awkwardly in the approved areas and make small talk while we work) as we get everything ready.
Football: So here we are. Year 4 of the Scott Frost experience, and…everything is not well. The prodigal son returned home a second time to hopes and dreams of history repeating itself and leading the Cornhuskers to a national title. The OWH football writers had to wear dark suits for months to be acceptable in public. The rabid corners of the fanbase were talking about how many times in a row they’d win the B1G West and how they’d match up in the playoffs. And…well…he’s 12-20 overall and 9-17 in the B1G. He’s finished 5th in the division all 3 seasons, and for as much as fans screamed and cried about the abridged B1G schedule, it was the one they originally had pre-pandemic (just without losses to 1-AA Runners-Up South Dakota State, Buffalo, and Cincinnati) before we had a false start on the schedule.
You know who else was 12-20 through their 1st 32 games as a head coach in the B1G? Tim Brewster.
When Brewster was hired, I was nervous but excited. He didn’t have any HC experience but he was energetic, enthusiastic, talked about taking the Gophers back to the Rose Bowl, and the importance of recruiting (especially Minnesota kids). It was all the stuff we wanted to hear, he was the anti-Glen Mason (who again, absolutely deserved to be fired), and some of us bit hard.
And you know what? It couldn’t have failed any more spectacularly. It turns out that a football coach needs to coach football. And maybe keep track of what his football players were doing outside of practice or game day. And Tim Brewster was absolutely abysmal at all of these things. And at recruiting an entire team and not just a bunch of stars, which led to a nuclear crater of a program for Jerry Kill to clean up. But more importantly, I was wrong. Very wrong. I have never been more wrong about a coaching hire than I was about Tim Brewster.
Did I mention that both Scott Frost and Tim Brewster started their careers as B1G coaches with identical 12-20 records? Ok. Good.
So my question to you, dear writer: What was the most wrong you have ever been about a coaching hire?
MNW: I think I see the conceit here.
I don’t know that I was 100% wrong about Frost though, given my remarks in the comments of the initial Frost hiring potluck in 2018, I definitely didn’t think he would turn out to be as much of a colossal asshat as he’s been. That, for me, has been the issue with Scott Frost — if you beat your chest and talk about how them kids are soft and basically go Full Alanis Morrissette in your first couple seasons in the Big Ten, you’d at least better win a few games.
And in that opening profile, I said the question for me was quarterback play and that his offense would need to be E L I T E...and nothing we’ve seen from Frost implies that’s where we’re going: the Huskers’ FEI has gone from 42nd to 80th to 84th. (Defensively, it’s 83rd, 45th, 62nd.) Nebraska appeared to be making progress in 2019, but then COVID rolled around and Frost showed his entire ass in 2020.
At some point, honestly, I don’t know whether it’s worth keeping around the distraction and the mediocre results. 2021 should probably be a watershed year for Nebraska to fish or cut bait.
I was wrong in thinking David Moyes coming back to West Ham would be more of the same, bunkered, boring, avoid-relegation soccer. Holy shit was 2020/21 fun, and I am excited for European soccer this fall.
BrianB2: Hell, I don’t know. Maryland’s head coaching track record since big-Ralph has been pretty turbulent. It feels like decades ago, but I may have had some mild optimism when it came to Randy Edsall. Ya know, who can’t get a little excited by 8-5 Orange Bowl runs that conclude with being absolutely humiliated by Florida (I did not fact check this, so...sorry). That optimism quickly devolved into an undying hatred though, naturally. For now I will firmly hold my seat on the Locksley hype-train so I can soon be wrong about that.
Stew: Well, let’s see, *clicks on MNW’s link*. Damn, I still think that’s correct, but I didn’t really say much about the hire itself. I do think it was a the obvious hire, at the time, and if they didn’t pursue him it was negligence. That all being said, the results have been hilarious. But I’m not sure I was the most wrong about that one. I was fairly sure Dino Babers was going to be an excellent coach, and he’s been pretty meh. The inverse, though, for Matt Campbell, as this was his introduction:
Not sure how much he had to do with that, and how much was ISU AD fuckery, but touting National Championships from when he was a player and then assistant at D3 Mount Union as if he’s got a better rep than Saban is positively Brewsterian. Turns out, Campbell is a pretty damn good coach.
BRT: It looks like my expectations regarding Frost were pretty reasonable, though I will say I have been disappointed by him thus far. (My expectations regarding Husker fans’ expectations were very accurate, of course.) That’s somewhat true of on-field performance (although I don’t remember much at all about football last season, as I was distracted by ***gestures vaguely***) and I’m not likely to hold much against any team for last season. But as MNW has correctly pointed out, Frost is just not very likable. Which is fine, I guess, if you’re Nick Saban. But Frost has very much not been Nick Saban. Hell, Bo teed people off left and right, but he still won more games than he lost. Mike Riley was the nicest man on earth, and not a great coach, but he still ended up with a better win percentage than Scott. I don’t think hiring Frost was a wrong move, it was certainly the one that made sense at the time, but… I don’t know. CFB has far more assholes than non-assholes at the helms of programs, and it’s not even close—so I don’t think Frost is quite as unique in this respect as some of my colleagues believe. However, it might behoove him to work on the soft skills part of the job until Nebraska cracks a .500 season, you know?
WSR: One other coach I was completely wrong about deserves a special mention here. You can go to hell, David Moyes. You were hand-picked by Sir Alex Ferguson to replace him, he just won the title, and he got you Wilfred Zaha on the way out the door. It was time for you to prove that while you were really good on a shoestring budget at Everton, you’d be able to dominate Europe with the resources of Manchester United behind you. Sure, David Gill was replaced by Ed Woodward. But that’s no excuse for you gutting the backroom staff, completely ignoring/alienating Zaha (allegedly because he went out with your daughter) and disheartened the team so much and so that there was a mutiny before the end of your first season and you were given the boot despite getting to the quarterfinals of the Champions League. I thought you would be great, and you were so crap that you’ve been hired by West Ham twice.
RU in VA: Yeah, uhhhhh following in WSR’s footsteps, Jose Mourinho was a pretty big stumble for Tottenham. Known for his signature playing style of getting a goal up and playing “hold on for dear life” in Portugal, Italy, and previous Premier runs, we probably should have known that wasn’t going to work with a roster full of quick, creative attacking players.
But when he came in, Spurs had an excellent team - well, they still do. And they added a good amount of talent! Hojbjerg, Reguilon, and Bale on loan? Sign me up.
Well, and now we know how that ended. Failtown.
Kind of…: When did this place become a soccer blog? I wasn’t contributing when Frost was hired, but was lukewarm on him (as I am almost any “high octane/offensive genius” coach making the move to P5.
Anyway, way back when, when Ohio State canned Cooper (and Glen Mason all but took out a classified begging for the job **WSR Note: Are we sure he didn’t take out a classified ad begging for the job?**), I declared that if they hired Jim Tressel they’d win a national title within 5 years. I’m smart! As Tressel was preparing OSU for Fiesta Bowl against Miami, Texas A&M was hiring Dennis Franchione, and I made a similar declaration about his future. I’m stupid! I’ll also admit to being lukewarm about the Chryst hire, but that’s because when it comes to my own team, I have Eeyore tendencies.
HWAHSQB: I really thought Lovie was going to be the guy to bring Illinois football back. I was wrong.
Zuzu: I was SO very wrong about Chris Ash. I thought he was a young up and comer defensive genius out of the top program in the country. Sweet Jesus was I wrong. Don’t really have to say much more on that one.
Food: As we start Nebraska week, we’re winding down the pay-for-play version of the potluck: grad party season. You’re not responsible for bringing anything other than a card with some future book (beer) money in it, but you’re completely at the mercy of your hosts for what is provided to you. Sometimes it’s deli sandwiches, or burgers & brats & hot dogs, or pizza, or fried chicken, or various other foods. It’s almost always a variety of cookies and cake and hotdishes and jello salads, but you’re always taking risks when you try something new. And even your old favorites bring potential calamities.
Way back in the mid-90s, your hero was just getting ready for his freshman year of HS and was at a cousin’s grad party in Central Minnesota. That day we were getting treated to my absolute favorite method of making food for a large gathering (at the time) made an appearance: the pig roaster. There were a couple hundred people there and I was waiting patiently for the feast to begin by playing yard games with family and (poorly) hiding my cup of “fruit punch” that came from the keg from my Mom and grandparents. Thanks to my habit of competing a bit too hard (especially at that age), I was famished by the time the food was ready and ended up demolishing about 5 plates that day. It was delicious. It was perfect. It was perfectly clear about 3 hours later that I had demolished part that was really undercooked as well.
I ended up establishing squatter’s rights in the bathroom over the next 2 days. While I’m thankful it was only coming out of one end, it was an absolutely horrific experience compounded by the fact that I frequently got bored out of my mind because my Game Boy went through batteries like the treasonous pork went through me.
Friends, what’s the most wrong you’ve ever been about food?
MNW: I don’t know that I’ve ever had true food poisoning (which I’m taking here to mean “gone full Bridesmaids” and/or “both barrels blazing”).
I will, however, give a special shout-out to the Monticello, MN, KFC Buffet, where my buddies thought it would be hilarious to stop on the way home from my bachelor party in the spring of 2018 after a weekend of, well, really just trying to murder me with too much alcohol up by Crosslake. I ate something. Don’t really know what. It was fine.
The next morning, as per usual for what I was doing at that time, I had to drive the 5 hours from my house back to grad school for the week of teaching Monday-Thursday. Was at about Tomah—fucking Tomah—when the GI distress hit. While I stopped in Mauston, they say you could hear the cries of anguish as far east as Pewaukee.
BrianB2: I have had food poisoning twice, once from a crab cake at Jasper’s (I don’t know if Jasper’s still exist, or if they ever existed in parts midwest, but I should have known that ordering a crab cake from Jasper’s was a poor choice) and once from shrimp at a local dive. I cannot really quantify which experience was worse, I would prefer not to take that journey again any time soon. Perhaps I unknowingly have a severe, yet incredibly selective allergy to shellfish. I sadly no longer have any desire for crab cakes, which being a Marylander...can be quite troublesome.
Sticking with that theme, I was completely wrong about crawfish. Being raised on the one true God of shelled beings, blue crabs, I was quick to turn my nose up at those little bastards, but man, I sure hope to have that experience again. Oh, and loose meat sandwiches somehow fell short of my meager expectations.
Stew: Full out food poisoning? I honestly can’t really think of anything specific. The occasional logical consequences of shady burritos, but that’s over within a couple of minutes, generally. And you wouldn’t say you were wrong, as it would be completely predictable. My wife, however, and a group of co-workers, all got food poisoning at a banquet from a bad batch of seafood at the Christmas party. But again, I don’t get how serving seafood pasta in a buffet, even a small one, gets the ok.
BRT: The calzones… betrayed me? With God as my witness, they are dead to me.
I’m not sure I can recall a proper case of food poisoning, but I’ve had things “not sit right.” I’m a forgiving person though, and haven’t crossed anything permanently off the list. I like how Brian interpreted this though - I used to not like french fries or donuts. I don’t know, I can’t explain it. Sometimes I wish I’d persisted in that prejudice, because now I eat both way too often.
RU in VA: I went to Red Lobster in Watertown, NY before deploying to Afghanistan for the second time. Stayed up all night alternating between back and front, dry heaving, on death’s doorstep.
Unfortunately, I was forced on that 13 hour plane ride the next evening. I remember laying in the staging facility probably looking like a homeless John Mayer busking on the subway when one of the officers just looked at me and said “RU in VA, what the F is wrong with you?”. It sucked. But then he gave me some tiny round blue pill and the next 13 hours were a blur.
Two lessons learned: don’t eat at Red Lobster ever again, and don’t eat seafood more than like, two hours from saltwater.
Kind of…: I was just assuming I would be competing with a half dozen other “bad burrito” stories, so I’m pleasantly surprised to have that lane to myself pretty much to myself. There was a New Year’s Eve where I had a burrito al pastor from a not so fine establishment in Chicago before going out. I puked sometime around 11:00, sat in a corner looking like death until midnight, then wandered back to my buddy’s place to curl up and long for death. Puked again, he stumbled home about 2:30 and cranked the music full blast to top the evening off. I think I made out a little bit better than WSR, but, friends, bad pork is no joke.
HWASHSQB: I bought some jalapeno poppers from Allsup’s (the southwest’s answer to Casey’s) I got food poisoning from this unfortunate decision coming and going. 24 hours later, I was so dehydrated that I just wanted a drink, but I knew my stomach wasn’t ready for much. I got a teaspoon out and drank one teaspoon of water and then dry-heaved for three hours. Today, if I see or smell a jalapeno popper, I gag and nearly vomit instantly. I also had an unfortunate run-in with a $5 bottle of tequila on my 21st birthday that continues to haunt me, but that was self-inflicted.
Zuzu: Hmmmm most wrong I’ve ever been about food... you know I’m pretty good when it comes to knowing what I can palate and what I can’t, and **KNOCK ON WOOD** have never gotten good poisoning. I guess as an anti-cheese person I’ve made huge mistakes biting into things with that I didn’t know had cheese in them and I insta-gag and spit it out. Happens about once a year. Literally I cannot eat cheese. Yes, I know I’m weird.
Which is worse?
This poll is closed
Nebraska fans and media telling us that NO REALLY, 2021 IS THE YEAR SCOTT FROST TURNS IT AROUND!