Commentary

Nebraska gives back its Blackshirts

Originally Published: November 9, 2011
By Mark Schlabach | ESPN.com

WEEK: Preseason | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13

The Bottom 10 inspirational thought of the week:


Back in black
I hit the sack
I've been too long, I'm glad to be back
Yes, I'm let loose
From the noose
That's kept me hanging about
I've been looking at the sky
'Cause it's gettin' me high
Forget the hearse 'cause I never die
I got nine lives
Cat's eyes
Abusin' every one of them and running wild

'Cause I'm back
Yes, I'm back
Well, I'm back
Yes, I'm back
Well, I'm back, back
(Well) I'm back in black
Yes, I'm back in black

-- "Back in Black," AC/DC

The Nebraska Cornhuskers thought they were back in black.

After holding then-No. 11 Michigan State to only a field goal in Nebraska's 24-3 victory on Oct. 29, defensive coordinator Carl Pelini finally distributed the school's fabled Blackshirts to his defense.

Pelini might want to dye them pink after last week's performance.

Nebraska allowed 468 yards of offense and 25 first downs in a 28-25 home loss to unranked Northwestern, with Wildcats backup quarterback Kain Colter doing most of the damage with his arm and legs.

"We take a lot of pride in getting those Blackshirts, and to go do what we did today was embarrassing," Nebraska safety Austin Cassidy said.

Instead of staying in a first-place tie with the Spartans in the Big Ten Legends Division -- and owning the tiebreaker over the Spartans -- the Cornhuskers find themselves one game back with three regular-season games to play. There's not much that's legendary about the Big Ten this season, except perhaps its collective mediocrity.

A couple of former Bottom 10 stalwarts are making legendary turnarounds this season. Western Kentucky, which lost 18 home games in a row, has won five games in a row after a 0-4 start and is one victory away from becoming bowl-eligible. The Hilltoppers probably won't get their sixth win at No. 1 LSU on Saturday night, but they close the season with a road game at North Texas and home game against Troy.

Likewise, Louisiana-Lafayette has won eight of nine games to improve to 8-2. U-La-La plays at Arkansas State on Saturday and at Arizona on Nov. 26.

With apologies to Steve Harvey, Brian Johnson and Angus Young, here's this week's Bottom 10, with the help of some of AC/DC's greatest hits:

ESPN.com's Bottom 10
RANK TEAM RECORD COMMENT
1. New Mexico 0-9 "Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap": Why does it seem like the poor Lobos are still paying for former coach Mike Locksley's mistakes? New Mexico has lost its last four games by a combined score of 195-14. Ouch. "Dirty deeds and they're done dirt cheap. Dirty deeds and they're done dirt cheap."
2. Florida Atlantic 0-8 "Who Made Who": So this is how the Owls reward coach Howard Schnellenberger for launching their program from scratch? The Owls' best shot at their first victory might come against UAB at home on Nov. 26. "Who made who, who made you? Who made who, ain't nobody told you?"
3. Akron 1-8 "You Shook Me All Night Long": Zips fans were undoubtedly shaking each other during last week's Thursday-night snoozer, a 35-3 loss at Miami (Ohio). It might take some more shoulder nudges to keep them awake in this week's game against Kent State. "'Cause the walls were shaking. The earth was quaking. My mind was aching."
4. UAB 1-8 "Money Talks": No new stadium? No problem. The Blazers have no problem losing in their current dump, falling to Houston 56-13 at dilapidated Legion Field. An announced crowd of 13,909 fans saw them lose. "Money talks, B.S. walks. Money talks, come on, come on."
5. Nebraska 7-2 "Thunderstruck": Nebraska fans probably believed the Cornhuskers had better odds of being struck by lightning than losing to Northwestern. But the Wildcats upset the Cornhuskers with their backup quarterback. "You've been -- thunderstruck, thunderstruck. Yeah, yeah, yeah, thunderstruck."
6. Indiana 1-9 "Stiff Upper Lip": After never losing more than five games in nine seasons as an Oklahoma assistant, coach Kevin Wilson has already lost nine games in his first season with the Hoosiers. They'll have to beat Michigan State next week or Purdue on Nov. 26 to avoid a 1-11 season. "I keep a stiff upper lip and I shoot from the hip, yeah."
7. Colorado 1-9 "It's a Long Way to the Top": The Buffaloes probably didn't think it could get any worse than their 5-7 finish in their last season in the Big 12. But now they're 1-9 and sitting in the cellar of the Pac-12 standings. "It's a long way to the top. If you wanna rock 'n' roll. If you wanna be a star on stage and scream, look out it's rough and mean."
8. UNLV 2-6 "For Those About To Rock": What's the best news the Rebels have heard all season? They're playing at winless New Mexico on Saturday in this week's Pillow Fight of the Week. "For those about to rock, we salute you. For those about to rock, we salute you."
9. Memphis 2-7 "Let's Get It Up": What's the second-most excited team in college football this week? Memphis. The Tigers host UAB at the Liberty Bowl on Saturday. "Loose lips sink ships. So come aboard for a pleasure trip. It's high tide so let's ride. The moon is risin' and so am I."
10. Kansas 2-7 "T.N.T": How explosive will Baylor quarterback Robert Griffin III be in Saturday's game at Kansas? RGIII ranks No. 2 nationally in total offense with 395.9 yards per game; the Jayhawks rank dead last among FBS teams in total defense, allowing 541.3 yards per game. "Cause I'm T.N.T. I'm dynamite. T.N.T. And I'll win the fight."

Waiting list: Alabama's kicking, Arizona (2-7), Army's fumbles, Boston College (2-7), Buffalo (2-7), Duke (3-6), Louisiana-Monroe (2-7), Maryland (2-7), Middle Tennessee State (2-6), Minnesota (2-7), North Carolina's arrogance, Ole Miss (2-7), Oregon State (2-7), Ralphie on the loose, South Florida in the second half, Texas Tech's defense, Troy (2-6), Tulane (2-8).

Mark Schlabach covers college football for ESPN.com.

Mark Schlabach | email

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