Archive for the ‘History’ Category

Sammy Vegas Says – R.I.P Orange Bowl

August 22, 2007

It’s impossible to deny that as a Nebraska fan your most vivid and invigorating memories of modern day Husker football likely feature the ‘original’ Orange Bowl. Today, it was announced that the Miami Hurricanes will move to Pro Player Stadium, located on Dan Marino Blvd., in fall 2008. But I’ll touch on that in a bit.

Although the ‘Orange Bowl’ has been played at Pro Player since 1996, it’s sad to think, that once the Hurricanes relocate, we will no longer be able to watch a football game in Coral Gables, near the U. of Miami, and have random memories of Husker triumphs and sorrows course through our minds.

From 1953 to 1963 and then 1975 to 1994, the Orange Bowl has hosted the Big 8 champion vs. an at-large opponent. In 1994, the inaugural Bowl Alliance matched Florida State and Heisman Trophy winner Charlie Ward, Warrick Dunn, and Derrick Brooks against the #1 ranked and 17 point underdog Nebraska Cornhuskers, who boasted the likes of Tommie Frazier, Lawrence Phillips, and Trev Alberts. It is fair to say that this game bolstered Nebraska over the next decade back to the college football elite.

Here is a great recap of that game from an FSU perspective. Although they fail to touch on the phantom flag and the obvious fumble, after the 80s and early 90s of being humiliated against big foes, it still brings chills.

Finally, one year later, the ’95 Orange Bowl brought us back on top

Back to the issue at hand Mayor Diaz offered the University $206 million for upgrades and renovations for the Orange Bowl. Unfortunately, University of Miami president Donna Shallala turned it down, stating:

“Mayor Diaz and the commissioners of the City of Miami made an extraordinary effort to identify funds and design a renovation. But in the end it wasn’t enough.”

Wow, I guess 70 years as one of college football’s grandest stages just isn’t enough. Athletic Director, Paul Dee’s thoughts were even more disturbing:

“We are committed to providing the best facilities for our student-athletes and fans. The decision to move to Dolphin Stadium was made for that reason. Our student-athletes will be playing in one of the best facilities in the country and the ‘fan experience’ will be first-class.”

HEY, Dolphin Stadium is 20 YEARS OLD! But, enough about that.

Since 1955, Nebraska has played in 16 Orange Bowls. Bob Devaney won his first championship there in 1970 after beating LSU 17-12. The following year, to the dismay of Kirk Herbstreit, the best team ever, the 1971 Huskers, dismantled Alabama and Bear Bryant 38-6 (the Bear’s worst defeat in his career at U. of Alabama). Whether it was Nebraska losing to Clemson in 1982 costing Osborne his first championship or Oklahoma exacting revenge on us in the 1979 Bowl (only ever Big 8 rematch in a Bowl), the memories are engraved in our heads whether you like it or not. The thick, humid air, the Orange Bowl patches on Big Red sleeves, and scores of Husker fans seeking a victorious beginning to another New Year, all fading before our eyes.

In closing, I pose a question for you. What is the one Orange Bowl moment that overtakes you with emotion unparalled by anything else? Well, this is mine…

A Great Husker Orange Bowl Trivia Question:

Can you name the year of Nebraska’s first Orange Bowl visit, who they played, and the outcome of that game?

…still thinking? (I would challenge any of your friends for a free beer to answer just one of these – no way anyone under 60 gets this right).

The Answer – 1955. Duke 34 – Nebraska 7.

Old School Video: Johnny "The Jet"

August 21, 2007

A collection of Johnny Rodgers returns. Complete with Lyle Bremser madness.

Insert obligatory – “Man, Woman and Child.”

Tommie Frazier Highlights

August 10, 2007

Just to refresh your memories. Eat your heart out, Pat White.

1998 Texas at Nebraska on YouTube

July 27, 2007

From a Longhorn POV, but still worth your time. The game features two Heisman winners in Williams and Crouch. Also remembered for Mike Brown’s 21 tackle performance. This game was also the only home game Nebraska lost during my time as a student at UNL. Sometimes I still can’t believe I live in Texas.

First Half:

Nebraska and Home Field Advantage

June 28, 2007

An interesting take on the concept of home field advantage at The Straight Dope of all places. The Straight Dope is a question and answer site run by Psuedonymous columnist Cecil Adams. If you have a question about just about anything, chances are The Straight Dope have attempted an answer.

Regarding home field advantage (HFA), The Straight Dope says:

What explains HFA? Several possibilities are often cited, including familiarity with home turf, no travel stress, and what football fans call “the 12th man,” the home crowd. But establishing what’s most important isn’t easy. Take familiarity — one study of 7 baseball, 17 basketball, and 13 hockey teams that moved to new stadiums (without changing cities) between October 1987 and April 2001 showed a significant reduction in HFA in the season following the move. However, other studies purport to show that MLB teams do better in a new stadium. One clear-cut case of HFA arising from venue familiarity is the Colorado Rockies, who consistently display the largest differential between home and away records of any MLB team. All agree that’s because only the Rockies are acclimated to high-altitude Coors Field.

Crowd effects are easier to demonstrate, at least in some sports. A study of more than 5,000 English soccer matches found that teams scored an average of 1.5 goals at home vs only 1.1 on the road, with the difference growing by 0.1 goals per 10,000 spectators. The researchers attribute this to cowed refs’ giving the visitors more penalties. Schwartz and Barsky thought crowd effects explained why HFA for baseball and football was lower than for hockey (in the 70s anyway) and basketball — the latter two sports are invariably played indoors, where the noise is more intense. Travel stress is probably a minor factor, since HFA persists even among teams that are geographically close.

Whatever the reason, a home field advantage certainly exists in Lincoln.

  • Nebraska was 7-1 at home in 2006 and has won at least six home games in 17 of the past 19 seasons.
  • Nebraska is 116-11 at home in the last 18 seasons (since 1989), including a pair of losses against teams that went on to win the national championship–Colorado in 1990 and Washington in 1991.
  • Since 1986, only seven different schools have left Memorial Stadium with a victory (Colorado, Kansas State, Oklahoma, Southern Miss., Texas, Texas Tech, Washington).
  • During Nebraska’s run of success at home in the past 25 years, Nebraska has had three home winning streaks of 20 or more games.
  • Nebraska had a school-record 47-game home winning streak from 1991 to 1998, a 26-game home streak from 1998 to 2002 and a 21-game win streak in the early 1980s.
  • Nebraska has not been shut out at home since a 12-0 loss to Kansas State in 1968 (245 games), and has posted 40 unbeaten and untied home seasons.
  • All-time Nebraska is 481-129-20 (.779, 630 games, 117 years) in Lincoln.
  • The Huskers are 356-106-13 (.763, 475 games, 84 years) in Memorial Stadium (since 1923).
  • 1983 Nebraska – Oklahoma Highlights

    June 11, 2007

    Part I

    Another classic Nebraska YouTube find. What a great way to catch some highlights of our amazing football past. You’ll really want to notice the diversity of Osborne’s offense. Its complexity is almost always overlooked.

    NFL Draft Analysis – The Lazy Version

    April 30, 2007

    This is all I’ve got, considering these two days are the last I will follow the NFL until playoff time.

    When I heard the names of this year’s crop of Huskers called on NFL Draft weekend, I thought the teams selecting them seemed familiar.

    Adam Carriker – St. Louis
    Brandon Jackson – Green Bay
    Stewart Bradley – Philadelphia
    Jay Moore – San Francisco

    It just seemed at first glance, that we have had a lot of Nebraska players on the rosters of these particular NFL squads. That got me thinking about patterns among NFL teams and which colleges they tend to raid for talent. In particular I was interested in which teams seem to select Huskers at higher rates than others.

    I limited my analysis to the years of 1982-2007, as that seemed to be the most readily available. I also tried to do some combining of teams based on moves to new cities. For example, the LA Rams and the St. Louis Rams simply became the Rams.

    Anyway, here is the chart showing the teams that have drafted the most Nebraska players from 1982-2007.

    Not that enlightening and only the Rams selection of Carriker would seem to fit the data. Certianly we have had many players on rosters of other NFL teams, but these are the ones that have drafted the most Huskers during that time period.

    Other random notes from the data:

    We’ve had 141 players drafted during that time period.
    Linebacker, DB, RB, and offensive line are the most common positions drafted.
    We’ve had three players drafted with picks #6 and #39.
    The players drafted at #6 were: Broderick Thomas, Lawrence Phillips, Grant Wistrom. The players picked at #39 were: Jared Tomich, Toniu Fonoti, Mike Brown


    If anyone else would like the data to play around with data, shoot me an email at jcadams(at) and I’ll send you the Excel file.

    YouTube Husker History Lesson – 1986 Fiesta Bowl

    April 25, 2007

    Here is some classic bowl footage as Nebraska takes on Michigan in the 1986 Fiesta Bowl. It is from the Michigan perspective, which is fitting since they won the game, but it’s worth seven minutes of your time all the same.

    I was actually at that game with my family as we spent Christmas and my 9th birthday in Tempe. It was an amazing atmosphere as two storied programs met and their Midwestern fans made the trek to the sun-drenched valley.

    I remember a lot of what shows up in the highlights. First, it was definitely the era of exposed midriffs and towels hanging from the players’ pants. McCathorn Clayton started the game at QB, but was replaced later by freshman Steve Taylor, who wore #11. Michigan RB Jamie Morris ran all over us as our linebackers lumbered aimlessly. And Jim Harbaugh was quarterbacking Michigan in the days before he was busy talking shit about Pete Carroll.

    Nebraska went 9-3 in 1985 (just like every other year in the 80s it seemed). We started the season 0-1 after a loss at home to FSU. We then rattled off nine straight wins and were ranked second as we headed to Norman to take on #5 ranked Oklahoma. Oklahoma was led by Jamelle Holieway, who took over for Troy Aikman (broken ankle), four games into the season. Aikman had been injured in OU’s only regular season loss, a 27–14 beating at Miami. The Sooners absolutely crushed us with Holieway at the helm, 27-7. They outgained us 423 yards to 161 and would have had the shut out, were it not for a Chris Spachman 76-yard interception return with 26 seconds remaining in the game.

    After the OU loss, Nebraska dropped to #7 and would then meet fifth ranked Michigan in that Fiesta Bowl. Nebraska jumped out to a 14-3 halftime lead behind a 5-yard TD pass to Doug DuBose and a 3-yard TD run, also by DuBose. Everything fell apart for the Huskers, however, in the 3rd quarter. Sparked by two lost fumbles, a blocked punt and a short punt in the first 10 minutes of the third quarter Michigan’turned the 11-point deficit into a 27-14 lead. In the fourth quarter Nebraska scored on a 1-yard run by Taylor, but later his pass with under a minute remaining the game was intercepted.

    Oklahoma would go on to win the National title in 1985. They met #1 Penn State in the Orange Bowl and came away with a convincing 25-10 win. Miami had gone to the Sugar Bowl ranked second hoping for a convincing win over SEC champ Tennessee to keep its title hopes alive should Penn State lose. Instead, the Hurricanes suffered their worst defeat of the year, 35–7.

    Bo Jackson beat out Iowa QB Chuck Long for the 1985 Heisman.

    Scoring Explosion Highlights

    April 11, 2007

    A recent YouTube find, and one that brings back pleasant early childhood memories. God, that offense was beautiful. Check out the option pitch to Irving Fryar who was lined up in the backfield at about the 2 minute mark. That’s why I grew up wanting nothing more than to be a wingback for Dr. Tom.

    The Safeties: A Rudimentary Semi-Historical Analysis

    December 12, 2006

    This year’s safeties have taken a lot of heat from Nebraska fans (and especially from me). As a result, I thought it might be helpful to try and put their performance into some type of historical perspective. The results are below.

    A few things to keep in mind: First, when we examine the statistics we must remember that these reflect four different defensive coordinators, each with his own system. Secondly, these statistics do not summarize all that is expected or required of a safety. Third, the performances include those of a “once in a generation” type player in Mike Brown along with 3 other players who made NFL rosters at one time or another. Fourth, I am not privy to film sessions or to how the performers graded out in the eyes of the coaches. And finally, the 2006 season is the only one of those included, in which both safety spots were filled by first-time starters.

    Player Games Tackles TFL INTs FF FmbRec
    Tierre Green 13 48.5 .5 1 0 1
    Andrew Shanle 13 47.5 0 4 0 1
    Player Games Tackles TFL INTs FF FmbRec
    Daniel Bullocks 12 83 4 1 2 1
    Blake Tiedtke 12 68 6 1 2 0
    Player Games Tackles TFL INTs FF FmbRec
    Josh Bullocks 11 68 2 2 0 0
    Daniel Bullocks 11 58 4 5 1 1

    Player Games Tackles TFL INTs FF FmbRec
    Phillip Bland 4 7 1 0 0 0
    Josh Bullocks 13 49 0 10 0 0
    Daniel Bullocks 13 59 4 2 1 1

    Player Games Tackles TFL INTs FF FmbRec
    Philllip Bland 13 84 6 1 1 1
    Josh Bullocks 13 48 0 1 1 1
    Shane Siegel 14 14 1 0 0 0
    Aaron Terpening 14 17 2 0 0 0

    Player Games Tackles TFL INTs FF FmbRec
    Dion Booker 12 62 1 1 0 0
    Willie Amos 9 28 0 4 0 0
    Phillip Bland 10 24 1 0 0 0

    Player Games Tackles TFL INTs FF FmbRec
    Joe Walker 11 44 2 2 1 1
    Dion Booker 11 34 2 0 0 0
    Troy Watchorn 11 27 2 5 0 0
    Clint Finley 11 22 1 0 0 0

    Player Games Tackles TFL INTs FF FmbRec
    Mike Brown 12 96 8 5 6 1
    Dion Booker 12 28 0 1 1 0
    Clint Finley 12 27 0 1 0 1
    Joe Walker 10 11 4 0 2 1

    Player Games Tackles TFL INTs FF FmbRec
    Mike Brown 12 102 5 1 1 1
    Clint Finley 9 28 3 3 3 1
    Joe Walker 12 50 5 3 1 0

    After looking things over, my take is that our safeties performed average to a little below average by way of statistical analysis. Shall we say, I don’t know…mediocre? What do you guys think?