MADISON, Wis. — Cats, strata, rock formations and Ohio State. When one of the best Twitter accounts on the planet meets up with one of the best sports writers on the planet, you’d expect an instant classic.
And an interview by the Washington Post’s Chuck Culpepper with the man behind the brilliant Fake Bo Pelini feed (@FauxPelini), an anonymous satirist and Nebraska fan who (apparently) resides in greater Chicago area, posted Oct. 28 at WashingtonPost.com, does not disappoint:
Fake Bo Pelini’s account has thrived on even though since December 2014, the term “Nebraska Coach Bo Pelini” took on “former” as a modifier. Get F.B.P. — as I’ll refer to the man behind the account — talking, a development highly recommended, and soon he’ll go on about strata and rock and blips and shards. “It’s almost like strata and rock formations,” he said of Nebraska fandom. “It depends on the year you were born.”
From 1982-2001, 20 seasons, the Cornhuskers lost a total 35 games, or 1.8 per year. From 2002-2015, that count ramped up to 4.8 per annum, as a program that once defined itself in dominance slipped to merely … good. Usually.
Or as Faux — the real Faux — continues:
If you were born in the 1940s or 1950s, F.B.P. points out, you were a conscious adult, or close to it, once glory began. “This thing that grew over your lifetime,” he says. “Maybe it’s sort of grown and now it’s receding, like a natural life cycle.”
If you were born in the 1960s or 1970s or even early 1980s, “there was a time when this felt permanent,” F.B.P. says, referring to “the rightful permanent place of Nebraska being a national title contender.” He concludes: “Because you’re born into them being great, you just think that’s what the world is like.”
If you were born from the mid-1990s on, though, it’s something unforeseen. “Everybody in high school and college, pretty much, hasn’t experienced any kind of real Nebraska dominance,” F.B.P. said, so: “It’s really two fan bases now: the people who have experienced the ’80s and ’90s and the people that just hear about it, hear the boring stories about it, you know?”
That second group seems most poignant, even to the point of an F.B.P. term: “Mid-90s Nebraska Fan.” Mid-90s Nebraska Fan yearns for the mid-90s, and as Boyz II Men might say, it’s hard to say goodbye to the mid-90s. Like so many of us, Mid-90s Fan overlooks that from the seasons of 1987 to ’93, Nebraska lost seven straight bowl games and got widely accused of unforgivable slowness, before a four-season period of 49-2.
Even though a lot of Nebraska’s old advantages became everybody’s — recruiting, strength conditioning, televised games — Mid-90s Nebraska Fan looks at Alabama and thinks the right coach can solve all, F.B.P. said.
F.B.P. is not Mid-90s Fan.
“You kind of have to now decide and define what being a Nebraska fan means,” he said. “Because in the ’70s, ’80s and ’90s, it meant everything was focused on winning national championships. Like, ‘When is our next cycle going to be,’ when we could have a run to win the national championship. And you know, you can still have that as a goal, I guess. Every team can, you know, in 2016. But in terms of mental health as a fan, I’m not sure that’s sort of the best prescription any more for Husker fans.”
“I’m telling you, if Nebraska beats Wisconsin this weekend, people will need to get ready for full-blown Nebraska hype again. . . . I think that’s always there, waiting to be activated. It’s dormant, but it’s ready to go.”
We’ll find out just how full-blown that full-blown gets after that visit to Madison tonight. Of course, Faux being Faux, the dude was already in rare form come gameday:
Wisconsin fans are horrible — beer bellies, baggy sweatshirts, scruffy beards. And the guys are even worse
— Fake Bo Pelini (@FauxPelini) October 10, 2015
Buckle up, Twitter. This could be a bumpy ride. Fun, but bumpy.