Occasionally, I get lost on YouTube. I don’t think I’m unique. YouTube is a never-ending maze, made for professional procrastinators like myself.
But I don’t go to YouTube to see animal tricks or trick shots. I go because YouTube is the greatest library of nostalgia on Earth. I’m a sucker for old videos. Sitcoms. Springsteen concerts. News coverage of historical events. And most of all, games. Specifically, games I lived through but only vaguely remember.
Games from the late-80s and early-90s.
It’s August, one of the worst sports months of the year. And rather than watch ESPN coverage of Jets training camp, I’d much rather spend 30 minutes shuffling through my childhood.
Growing up, we lived a mile outside a very small town. We didn’t have cable. (Even writing that sentence, I think I just got older.) My demand for college football dramatically exceeded the supply. Certain players and teams took on mythical status. Jamelle Holieway. Darian Hagan. Most of all, Florida State and Miami.
To a Nebraska kid growing up in the shadow of Tom Osborne, the ‘Noles and ‘Canes might as well have played football on Saturn. They threw the ball 40 times a game. They talked trash! And Nebraska couldn’t beat — or catch — either one of ‘em.
It’s hard to overemphasize the magnetism of FSU and Miami in those days. The irony is, I don’t remember seeing them play each other until about ’92. Which is why my YouTube hunts, especially in August, often focus on Florida State and Miami in the ’80s. That’s where I take you this morning.
To a time when shoulder pads were thicker, fields were made of natural grass and Deion Sanders and Michael Irvin weren’t famous yet.
Here is a classic duel between Miami and Florida State in ’87, decided when Bobby Bowden attempted a 2-point conversion — and failed. Here’s CBS’ intro to Miami-Florida State 1988. And here’s FSU’s hilariously entertaining preseason rap video from ‘88. No wonder Miami won, 31-0.
I’m curious, what college football games and moments quench your nostalgia thirst this time of year?
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>> Zac Taylor was one of the most valuable Husker quarterbacks ever. Had he not come to Lincoln, Bill Callahan likely would’ve been fired one year sooner. (Nebraska would’ve been .500 in 2005, I think, making Callahan’s seat fiery hot. Without a veteran quarterback in ’06, Callahan would’ve been gone.) What Taylor lacked in physical talent, he almost made up for with his brain. Which is why he has a chance to be a high-level head coach someday, either in college or in the NFL.
It was fun to see him on “Hard Knocks” last night, tutoring David Garrard, Matt Moore and Ryan Tannehill. I think the Dolphins are gonna be awful this year. But “Hard Knocks,” thanks in part to Chad Johnson, continues to be the best part of NFL’s preseason. I thought the most revealing piece was coach Joe Philbin’s discussion with Johnson about dropping F-bombs in front of the media. He tried to censor Johnson without disrespecting him. Not an easy line to walk for a guy who doesn’t exactly have Bill Belichick’s aura.
>> Speaking of programming, I understand ESPN’s need in August. I don’t begrudge the network one bit. But football programs like USC and Alabama gain a huge advantage by granting ESPN access to practice. The features never fail to make the players and coaches look like rock stars.
>> Penn State is facing so many difficult decisions right now. It constantly seems to be in fight-or-flight mode: Cling to tradition or run from it? And every time they cling, outsiders ridicule them for not burying all things Paterno. From where we sit, it’s easy to say Penn State should change the iconic blue and white uniforms. But this isn’t the same as a statue. This isn’t a locker room where horrible crimes occurred. Personally, I would add last names to the back. But if I were a lifelong Nittany Lion fan, I would probably feel differently.
>> Bruce Feldman says Rex Burkhead is No. 6 on the list of most valuable non-quarterbacks.
>> How the Mets gained an advantage from shortening the fences — and why more teams may follow.
>> A look back at Sandy Koufax’s perfect game, featuring Vin Scully.
>> ESPN tackles the mysterious Honey Badger. Good stuff.
>> Wright Thompson goes all-access with Urban Meyer, a man struggling for balance.
>> SEC, meet Mizzou’s DGB, who might be the league’s best freshman.
>> Girl power at the Olympics? That storyline is a fraud.
>> No cheering in the press box or broadcast booth? That rule doesn’t apply at the Olympics.
>> Joe Posnanski doing what Joe Posnanski does best. He introduces America to an Icelandic handball legend/Renaissance man. Read it.
>> Because I am in a Joe Poz mood, read this one, too. On Derek Raymond, the British sprinter who — 20 years ago — produced a memorable Olympic moment in the midst of personal tragedy.
>> Finally, brackets. It’s the last day of semifinal voting in the Big Red Bracket. Hard to believe “60-3” and “Game of the Century” are on the ropes.
In the Husker Infamy Bracket, “62-36” beat “I refuse to let this program gravitate to mediocrity.” That sets up the championship match-up:
“62-36” v. “One (extra) second in Dallas”
Vote in the comments section, or send me an email — firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks for reading.