Hah! Admit it, Loons -- when you first opened this, you expected to delve into yet another steadfast, vigilant red-clad defense spelling out why The Almighty Nebraska Cornhuskers deserve to play in the the Rose Bowl, and why others do not. A safe assumption, considering present circumstances. But we in The Pond are above such partisan bickering. That's why we're all registered Independents, too, by the way.

Hah! Admit it, Loons -- when you first opened this, you expected to delve into yet another steadfast, vigilant red-clad defense spelling out why The Almighty Nebraska Cornhuskers deserve to play in the the Rose Bowl, and why others do not. A safe assumption, considering present circumstances. But we in The Pond are above such partisan bickering. That's why we're all registered Independents, too, by the way.

I'll let you in on a little scarlet-colored secret. The Cornhuskers are going to Pasadena regardless of what a bunch of angry hacks with modems think. And also they're Rose Bowl-bound, mind you, whether Kirk Herbstreit and 58 bastage turncoat coaches approve of it or not. So, at this point on the calendar, BCS talk is cheap. The run for the roses is over, bunkie -- Miami won, Nebraska placed, and Colorado showed. Showed what quality people they all are, that is.

Of course, that hasn't stopped Bluff backers -- even some who have memories that go back before Nov. 23 -- from whining incessantly. In fact, our black-turtleneck wearing, SUV-driving, crapaccino-sipping neighbors to the west are threatening to suck the entire state of Nebraska into a vitriolic black hole like the one the rag-tag Colonial Fleet had to go through in the fourth episode of "Battlestar Galactica." Me, I like to focus on the positives -- and my advice to you, fellow Loons, is to not apologize for the Skers. Not one stinking iota. There are lots of reasons to be proud of the Big Red.

In fact, off the top of my head, I can think of at least 113 reasons, in no particular order, why it's great to be a Cornhusker:

1. The scoreboard above the north stands: In this day of 128-bit graphics and DiamondVision gimmickry, its time-warp appearance reminds one of a different era. Its best message after a big play: "NIFTY."

2. Before the game, walking through the Nebraska Union and buying something from the red-haired, bespectacled woman working at The Bakery who officially makes "CanIhelpyou?" one word.

3. Empyrean Ales from Lazlo's: The best booze to watch the Cornhuskers with when the boys take to the road. Runner up: Spilker Ales from teeny-tiny Cortland, Neb.

4. Johnny Carson is one of us.

5. Dick Cavett is one of us.

6. That chick on "CSI: Crime Scene Investigators" is one of us.

7. Tom Osborne's going-away speech: "I think it's wise to back off before you leave feet first or someone tells you it's time to go."

8. Scott Frost's going-away speech: "If you can look yourself in the mirror and say if your job depended on playing either Michigan or Nebraska, who would you rather play?"

9. Pregame meals at Rock 'N' Roll Runza: Roller skating waitresses named Roxette, Sandra Dee, Rizzo and Frenchy. And the feeling that, after you leave, some people in Lincoln still wish it was 1958.

10. The fact that we have at least four fight songs, to wit: "There is No Place Like Nebraska," "Hail Varsity," "Glory of the Gridiron" and "March Grandioso."

11. The fact that we have the Pride of All Nebraska to play them all.

12. The triple option.

13. The double wing.

14. The single foam finger.

15. Volleyball setter Greichaly Cepero, who has the best hair of any Husker athlete in recent memory ... including Wonder Monds.

16. Outside hitter Nancy Metcalf's Zeus-like spikes. You can't return what you can't see.

17. Volleyball Match Club Members, who have been planning to travel to California all autumn long -- but for an entirely different reason than most Cornhusker fans.

18. Johnny Rodgers will always be one of us. 19. Mike Rozier will always be one of us.

20. Eric Crouch will always be one of us.

21. We've got the best nicknames. A few: The Burr Oak. Dave the Dealer. The Triplets. The Jet. Eric The Red. Duke Newcombe. Trainwreck. And Thunder -- Collins or Thornton, you decide. I'd like to see Miami top those.

22. The Nebraska Bookstore, 11th and Q streets: Why buy a Baby's First Husker Book, a scarlet-and-cream toilet seat cover and an audio CD that sounds like a play-by-play of you as a star freshman leading the Cornhuskers to a win? Because you can.

23. Irving Fryar was here.

24. Johnny Mitchell was here.

25. Turner Gill was here ... and came back to get his national title(s).

26. Dr. Tom's growing repertoire of books, each one reading a little bit more like a third-grade book report than the last. "We won 31-0. I felt badly for Don Nehlen. The next game, we won 42-16. I felt badly for Spike Dykes..."

27. Paul and Joyce at Sidetracks, the only musicians who can make songs about oral sex and random body functions worth singing along to.

28. Shane Osborn is one of us.

29. Bob Kerrey is one of us.

30. Tom Osborne now speaks for all of us.

31. The sayings engraved on the Memorial Stadium's cornerstones OTHER THAN "Not the victory but the action; Not the goal but the game; In the deed the glory." In particular:"In commendation of the men of Nebraska who served and fell in the nation's wars."

32. The Bummeroosky: The way we'd all like to remember Tony Davis, rather than lawsuits over phantom Notre Dame tickets.

33. The Bounceroosky: The fact that Gill-to-Fryar-to-Krenk worked even though Oklahoma's defense didn't buy it for a second that the ball was dead.

34. The Fumbleroosky: Schleusener scoring in a losing cause vs. OU, Steinkuhler scoring in a losing cause vs. Miami, Shields not scoring in a winning cause vs. CU.

35. Mary Hamilton, a waitress in a Lincoln coffee shop who never saw the Cornhuskers play but listened devotedly on the radio while she waited tables. After Iowa State upset NU 24-21 in 1977, Hamilton shut off the radio in disgust, turned to a patron and said, "We really blew that one." Then she dropped dead. Her tombstone, courtesy of her son, reads: "Mary Hamilton, 1917-1977, Go Big Red."

37. That 15-points-over-five-years thing vs. Colorado: stuffing Detmer; denying Hessler; booting Neuheisel; sighing in relief at Jeremy Aldrich's miss; laughing at Barnett's squib kick.

38. Losing by 26 in 2001, but still winning by 0.05.

39. Slaying the Miami Dragon Sublime Moment No. 1: Dwayne Harris dekes his blocker, grabs Frank Costa's shirt, and yanks him down on the colored turf of his own end zone. Pavelka growls: "THE HUSKERS GET A DEUCE!"

40. Slaying the Miami Dragon Sublime Moment No. 2: Sapp to Frazier: "Hey, Tommie, where you been?" Frazier to Sapp: "It ain't where I've been, fat boy, it's where I'm going."

41. Slaying the Miami Dragon Sublime Moment No. 3: Chris Collinsworth's call after a two-point pass knotted up the Orange Bowl: "And what about Tommie Frazier? 'He can't throw! He can't throw!' It's tied."

42. Clete Blakeman is one of us.

43. Matt Turman is one of us.

44. Brook Berringer was one of us, God rest his soul.

45. Buck Beltzer was one of us, God rest his soul.

46. Van Horn Small Ball: Jeff Leise, fresh off a walk and taking a big lead off of first, making the catcher piddle his pinstripes.

47. Shane Komine's curveball. If you watch for long enough, you, too, will believe in telekinesis.

48. Haymarket Park: Come this spring, the best damn place to watch the best damn college baseball.

49. The Big Three: Cheese Runzas, Fairbury Hot Dogs and Valentinos.

50. The Next Three: DaVinci's subs, Amigo's Crisp Meat Burritos, burgers from P.O. Pears.

51. Septugenarians wearing foam red cowboy hats, red shirts and polyester white shorts -- a fashion statement that screams: "Don't you DARE stand up in front of me!"

52. That funky gold statue of Jerry Tagge, which by the way looks nothing like him, in the center of the bar at Misty's.

53. Knowing that Penn State won the National Title in 1982 after losing by 21 points to Alabama and that Miami won the National Title a year later after losing by 25 points to Florida, and wondering what all this year's fuss is about.

54. Jarvis Redwine's Revenge Run, 1980: At the end of an 86-yard sprint, J.R. does his best Billy Sims imitation and points back at his Sooner persuers. He was trash-talking before trash-talking was even cool.

55. John Ruud's hit on Kelly Phelps, Oklahoma 1978: The phantom fumble that was sure to have Nebraskans cursing the referees all winter long.

56. Jim Pillen's fumble recovery a few minutes later, ensured that all the griping wouldn't be necessary.

57. Missouri 1981: Phil Bates scoring with 23 seconds left to break the Tigers' hearts.

58. Missouri 1997: Matt Davison plucking the ball off the Faurot Field turf to break the Tigers' hearts.

59. Missouri 1998: Corby Jones getting sacked on the game's final play to break the Tigers' hearts.

60. Missouri 2001: Eric Crouch turning a safety into a touchdown to break the Tigers' hearts.

61. Heisman resume plays that have gotten more reruns in Nebraska than "I Love Lucy": The Punt Return of the Century; Rozier's 60-yard 2-yard run; 41 Black Flash Reverse Pass.

62. Good ideas that look better with time: Hand-picking Tom Osborne in '73. Going for two against Miami in '83. Ditching the surrender-like all-white road uniforms in '92. Going to the 4-3 attack defense in '93. Switching Newcombe to wingback in '99. Scheduling TCU in '01.

63. Players who keep their relatives' numbers alive: The Kelsays' No. 57, The Davis's No. 25.

64. Guy Rozier.

65. Charles Fryar.

66. Gregg List.

67. True-believing Husker fans thinking that Alan Parson, the artist behind the spine-tingling Tunnel Walk music is a native Nebraskan who wrote the song just for the trendy Memorial Stadium entrance ritual.

68. Bob Devaney is one of us.

69. John Melton is one of us.

70. Bill McCartney, Gary Barnett and Rick Neuheisel are not.

71. The arithmetic that keeps us warm on cold winter nights: 60-3 over five years, 247 consecutive sellouts, 40 consecutive winning seasons, 33 consecutive nine-win seasons, 33 consecutive bowl bids, 338 consecutive weeks ranked in the Top 25 Associated Press Poll, 57 wins out of the last 58 home games.

72. Nebraska 34, Missouri 24: Tommie Frazier's first start.

73. Nebraska 24, Miami 17: Corey Schlesinger's second touchdown.

74. Nebraska 42, Tennessee 17: Tom Osborne's third Sears Trophy.

75. Roamin' numerals: 641 rushing yards vs. Baylor in '01. Calvin Jones' six TDs vs. KU in '91. Texas' 9 yards rushing in '99. Going a combined 154-33-5 vs. the State of Kansas since the dawn of time.

76. The Herbie Husker sighting in the Cornhusker Hotel scene in "Terms of Endearment."

77. The "Big Red Keno" sighting in "To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything, Julie Newmar."

78. The "cold Nebraska night" reference in the 1998 song "Guardian Angel" by one-hit wonder The Pistoleros. And another "cold Nebraska night" reference in that song "She Ran Callin' Wildfire," by some artist I've never heard of before.

79. Frank Solich is one of us, even though he was born in Big Ten country.

80. Ed Stewart is one of us, overcoming the very same handicap.

81. Devaney, Jan. 1, 1971: "Even the Pope would have to vote us No. 1."

82. Osborne, Jan. 3, 1998: "We won 13, and that's all we played."

83. Points the offense scored in 1983: 654.

84. Points the defense gave up in 1984: 105.

85. Lyell Bremser: "Holy Moley! Man, woman and child!"

86. Kent Pavelka: "Touchdown! Touchdown! TOUCH-down!"

87. Warren Swain: "I'll be stepping down at the end of basketball season."

88. Warren Powers, 1983: "What do they think we do every Thursday before we play Nebraska? Have 15 minutes of twisting ankles and 15 minutes of wringing necks?"

89. Highway 8, one of Nebraska's most scenic east-west byways.

90. UNK and UNO: We could do much worse for in-state brethren.

91. The brothers Wistrom, Kelsay, Peter and Booker.

92. DirecTV's Platinum Sports Package, the single greatest thing to happen to Nebraska sports fans since Tippy Dye called a certain Robert Devaney of Laramie, Wyoming and convinced him to move east.

93. The Killer D's: DeJuan, DeAnte, Demoine, Dion, DeAngelis, Dahrran.

94. The Killer C's: Craver, Cody, Clanton, Crouch.

95. Pregame festivities: Stopping by the walk-in liquor store set up at O'Rourkes on home Saturdays, even though Rum & Pepsi isn't quite as good as Rum & Coke.

96. Athlon's National College Football Preview before the 1999 season: "If Newcombe and Evans stay healthy, the Cornhuskers will roll." Still, it's the greatest Father's Day present a guy can give -- or receive -- in any given year; it signals six weeks until football.

97. Receivers: Wilson Thomas, and Clester Johnson and Irving Fryar before him. And Johnny Rodgers before the whole lot of them.

98. I-backs: Dahrran Diedrick, and Ahman Green before him. And Mike Rozier before the both of them.

99. Quarterbacks: Eric Crouch, and Tommie Frazier before him. And Turner Gill before the both of them.

100. Knowing Trev Alberts is full of crap when he picks against Nebraska with a straight face.

101. Brent "Mushmouth" Musburger: Without this smug, loyalty-switching, Big Ten-bandwagon-jumping extremist, it would a helluva lot harder to hate ABC than it is today.

102. Terry Bowden's horrible, horrible voice having to say "Nebraska and Miami in the Rose Bowl." Th-th-th-that's right, Porky.

103. Lee Corso being the only white man in America who can say "Yo!"

104. The new look of the Omaha World-Herald. They're stodgy, boring and are afraid to try anything that's remotely creative, but it's a start.

105. Valentino's on 33rd and Holdrege, one of the few "sit-down" Valentino's left.

106. The Big 12 championship game: Despite how much Osborne hated it, it's been good to Nebraska -- regardless if they're playing in the game or not.

107. No Nike Swooshes on the scarlet jerseys.

109. Cornheads, particularly if they're on children under 15. Any older than that displays a questionable fashion sense.

110. The loudest cheer in Memorial Stadium, ever: A color guard, a firefighter, and area police officers performing the vaunted Tunnel Walk on Sept. 20.

111. The 1994 Associated Press Poll.

112. The 1997 ESPN/USA Today Coaches' Poll.

113. The 2001 Bowl Championship Series rankings.

How about some cheese with that whine?
Read the "Childish Husker Insult of the Day" in THE POND, Home of Nebraska's RED CLAD LOON.

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