Photo by Eric Francis
Nebraska Football

A Viewer's Guide to Navigating Nebraska's Bye Week

October 19, 2019
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Hey champ. So, your team is on a bye this weekend and you’re wondering what to do with your life. Your spouse asked for some help doing things around the house and you started to say, “But the ga…” and had to stop yourself. It’s natural to be unsure of what to do on this weekend walk through the wilderness. 

We’re here to help.

Here’s how to handle the bye. 

You Have Time, Take Advantage

That Texas Longhorns fan with just a picture of Bevo as his Twitter avi and 17 numbers in his handle has been in the mentions of every Southern-based kid who tweets either an offer from or a visit to or a commit to Nebraska saying “There is nothing to do in Lincoln except be cold.” 

Well, Jake. You’re wrong. 

Lincoln, on this Saturday, is sunny with mid-60s weather. 

It’s the perfect kind of October weather to take the kids to a pumpkin patch, or take the spouse to that sushi place and sit outside. Or, you can just go sit out on the porch with a cold beer and rub Jake’s nose in the fact you’re enjoying beautiful temps while he’s in Austin sweating through his ill-fitting Nike coaches polo during his 25-minute walk from his $30 parking spot to the stadium. 

You have time to do that today. You can kick back with your feet up and listen to the birds chirping and not worry about when (not if) Nebraska is going to get called for a hold on that 36-yard run that would have set up first-and-goal from the 7-yard-line and instead killed a drive and somehow ended up with the other team starting at midfield.

Take your daughter out to play catch. She’s more interested in hearing about how you almost made it to D1 college football than Karen in HR. 

It’s important to remember, though, that bye week viewing doesn’t mean checking out. You have a window to get things done, not the entire day. Even though Nebraska isn’t playing and you aren’t dedicating your entire day to pregaming, tailgating, watching, then finding a way to wipe away another week’s worth of existential dread, there is still football on. 

Check the schedule and find which pocket of games — the 11 a.m., the 2:30 p.m. or the evening slate — that interests you the least and dedicate to being football-free for those four-ish hours. Unless you’re the kind of person who watches Pac-12 football or enjoys a 6-0 Baylor (yuck), the 2:30 p.m. window is that time this weekend. 

You have time, go use it. Remind your family how much you love them before disappearing from their life again next Saturday.

Get Yourself a Bad Call Brick

I have a “Bad Call Brick” that rests on the entertainment stand in my living room. It is brick-like in shape, but not brick-like in composition. This brick is foam and will not hurt anything if it is violently hurled from one side of the room to the other. My brick is strictly for watching my NBA team of choice. Your brick can be for anything, but let’s be real here, your brick is going to be for Nebraska football. 

So, if you don’t already have one, the first step today is to go get yourself a brick. This weekend presents the perfect opportunity to get used to it. 

Because this weekend, the Minnesota Golden Gophers — coached by a man who wears ties on the sidelines and has more hair on his fingers than his head and runs around carrying a boat oar with him everywhere — are 6-0. 

One of two things is going to happen this weekend and you’re going to hate-watch the Gophers so hard in order to find out which. Minnesota plays Rutgers, a 1-5 football team that somehow calls the Power Five home despite being outscored in four Big Ten games this season 165-7. But Minnesota hasn’t been 7-0 in a season since the year aluminum cans were introduced. It has started 6-0 in a season once over that span and lost the seventh game.

The Gophers are either going to have a massive letdown game and let Rutgers have a breakthrough a week after making Nebraska look like second-class citizens in the Big Ten just to pour salt in Big Red wounds, or they’re going to be 7-0 and we’re all going to have to reckon with what that means for society.

Here’s where the brick comes in handy. 

Every time Minnesota gets stuffed on a run by Rutgers and you catch yourself thinking, “Why couldn’t this happen last week,” throw the brick. Get used to the weight of it. 

Every time the Gophers score, throw the brick. Get a feel for how the foam cuts through the air of your home. 

Every time a highlight from last week plays or the color commentator references last week or you just think about last week, throw the brick. It’s therapeutic. 

But also practice. You’re preparing for next week when you actually need it because Big Ten officials are conspiring to never call a hold against a Nebraska opponent again for the rest of our days. You’re going to need it when Nebraska throws a screen on second-and-4 and loses 3 because blocking.

Minnesota is probably about to be 7-0. You definitely need the brick. 

 Enjoy It

If you do ultimately decide to plop down in front of a TV and watch football all day, remember to smile. Your team cannot lose this week. Your hopes and dreams will not be crushed this week. Your susceptibility for stress-induced health problems will not rise this week. 

Turn on Purdue-Iowa and tell yourself it could be worse. 

Turn on South Florida-Navy and reminisce about a better time when the only game-day-related question worth asking was if Nebraska was going to run for 300 yards or 400.

Turn on Arizona State-Utah and root for THE NATION’S FAVORITE COACH HERM EDWARDS AND HIS RANKED SUN DEVILS. 

Turn on Michigan-Penn State and remind yourself Nebraska has Scott Frost as its head coach and not Jim Harbaugh. 

Turn on what will be a public massacre in Alabama-Tennessee and remember that Nick Saban was 12-11-1 in his first two years as a Power Five coach after coming from the G5 ranks. 

(I would also recommend watching Tulane-Memphis at 7 p.m. CT because Tulane has the best uniforms in football and the best logo in football and none of this is up for debate.)

Watch the trick plays and the stupid decisions (cough Kirby Smart cough) and the missed kicks and remember that it’s not all bad.

Root for Kansas

This one is pretty self-explanatory.

 
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