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Winging It 13:

Unless another one of those nine-way Democratic presidential debates suddenly breaks out, it appears that Saturday's game between Nebraska and Kansas State will be broadcast live sans interruption by ABC Sports, Home of Championship Television. For me this is a very good thing, as I will be unable to actually go to the game Saturday. Instead of being in the friendly (if Nebraska is winning) confines of Memorial Stadium, I will be out of town at a pre-arranged social engagement. Luckily, there will be TVs at this particular gathering, as well as plenty of items with which to wet one's whistle. Whew.

I'm optimistic, also, that I will be able to work up a quorum to play my favorite drinking game during the NU-KSU battle. I know, I know -- next to Internet bulletin boards and treaty summits, drinking games tend to be the lowest form of social interaction. But hey, adding the Huskers to just about anything automatically makes it better -- look what the Big Red did for Pepsi products and lame physics lessons. So, with a little bit further ado, here are the official rules for the Nebraska Cornhusker Drinking Game. Of course, these guidelines are always open to change. And while we're at it, a public-service announcement about drinking in moderation and the dangers of drinking too much shoudl go right about ... here. OK, so that's out of the way -- let's crack 'em open and get started, shall we?

First, DRINK EVERY TIME you hear the word "football" used as an adjective. For example, if the bobbleheads calling the game say "This kid's a pretty good FOOTBALL player, but his FOOTBALL team is really struggling down there on the FOOTBALL field," like we've forgotten what sport it is we're watching, then that's three drinks. If you're really nitpicky, drink every time you hear the word "foot" and "ball" in the same sentence. If you're hosting a game party, this should definitely get your ball off on the right foot. Aha -- see, that's a drink right there.

If Jammal Lord comes to the line, counts up the defenders, then begins to call an audible, DRINK ONCE. Quickly swallow before Sewell snaps the ball and then say quickly: "Option. Option. See, I told you it was going to be an option" as the play develops. Given the number of times this happens each week, those words should be the last ones you remember before you wake up three days later in a Tijuana motel, naked and minus a kidney.

DRINK TWICE if Lord throws off his back foot/on the run/underthrows a receiver, but only if the pass is complete. DRINK ONCE if Lord is called to run a slow-developing play-action pass on third-and-long, then is immediately forced from the pocket. DRINK TWICE if he scrambles but winds up takes a sack. And DRINK THREE TIMES if somehow some tiny white-hot ember in the back of his brain tells him to throw the ball away.

DRINK ONCE if Demorrio Williams lines up as a defensive end. DRINK TWICE if he takes the quarterback's head off. DRINK THREE TIMES if he causes a fumble. DRINK FOUR TIMES if he recovers the fumble, too. The likelihood of all this happening? Well, probably pretty good.

If a Nebraska defender throws up the bones after a studly defensive play, DRINK ONCE. If Titus Adams deflects a pass, DRINK TWICE. If he intercepts a pass, DRINK THREE TIMES. If he runs it back for a touchdown, DRINK FOUR TIMES and duck for cover -- he's going to spike that sucker.

If Josh Bullocks gets an interception, TAKE A SIP, especially if you're planning on driving home. This happens all the time, and you want to be in shape to get behind the wheel by game's end.

DRINK FOUR TIMES if Judd Davies misses a block on the isolation. If he misses one on the perimeter during the option, DRINK THE NUMBER OF YARDS the ballcarrier loses on the play. Hey, no one said this was going to be easy. All right, to be fair, DRINK THE NUMBER OFYARDS the ballcarrier gets when he makes a good block, too.

If the announcers talk about Nebraska's offense getting behind that all-important down-and-distance schedule, DRINK ONCE. If Bob Griese is helping to call the game, well, good luck staying out of the hospital.

If the announcers refer to Memorial Stadium as "the state's third-largest city" in a condescending poke at how empty all our lives would be without this red-and-white hoopla, DRINK 7.8 TIMES, one for every 10,000 people at the game.

DRINK ONCE if the sideline reporter talks about Steve Pederson's gawdy plans for Memorial Stadium, then turn to the person on your left and give them $50 million.

For every time a player's or coach's family members are shown on television, DRINK ONCE. If the sideline reporter decides the middle of the third quarter is a good time to interview them and get their expert analysis on the game so far, now would be a good time go get another drink out of the fridge.

If a melodramatic commercial for either university is shown, DRINK ONCE.

DRINK TWICE if TV cameras show Frank Solich staring blankly ahead at a crucial point in the game. DRINK THREE TIMES if announcers happen to mention that Solich holds the single-game record for yards gained by a fullback at Nebraska. DRINK FOUR TIMES if they try to make a comparison between Solich and fellow Liliputian Cory Ross.

DRINK ONCE if a Blackshirt throws up the bones after a studly defensive play. Hell yeah.

If Brent Musburger is calling the game, DRINK ONCE every time he raises his voice. Doesn't matter if it's "He throws to the MIDDLE ... CAUGHT!" or "Fum-BLLLLE!" or "He's going to GO ALL THE WAY, PARDNER!" They're all worth one drink. Warning: As the game goes on, this can be a hard rule to remember. Just try to keep this rule of thumb in mind: Eventually, Both Brent and Beer Make Your Head Hurt. Oh, and for every time Musburger calls one of his favorite players by his first name or his nickname, DRINK ONCE MORE.

If ABC replays the same play three times or more, DRINK THREE TIMES. Take one drink for each subsequent replay. Double it if the color analyst gets out his video pen and starts drawing on the screen.

If cameras show Ron Brown giving one of his players a congratulatory slap on the helmet, feel guilty for a second before DRINKING TWICE.

DRINK ONCE if you see a "________ for Nebraska" sign hanging on the stadium wall. Double that if it's a Californians for Nebraska sign. Why? Because I used to live in California, that's why. My rules, I make 'em up.

If a coach, ballboy, chain-gang member, photographer or mascot gets crunched in a sideline pile following a play that goes out of bounds, don't laugh. I know from experience that those collisions can really, really hurt. Well, don't laugh unless it's Herbie or Lil Red who gets schmacked. In which case, DRINK ONCE and celebrate the fact that a mascot finally got brought to justice.

If assistant coaches are shown from their perch high above the stadium in the skyboxes, DRINK ONE TIME each for the number of coaches up there.

If someone is shown holding a "Bo Knows Defense" sign, feather your hair back, put on some Duran Duran and DRINK like it's 1988, dude. That catchphrase would be totally awesome if it wasn't so rad!

DRINK SEVEN TIMES if the crowd boos the team off the field at halftime.

If Jammal Lord looks off his primary receiver and throws underneath to his safety valve, PUT YOUR DRINK DOWN IMMEDIATELY and back away from the TV set. The game is automatically over.

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