2006 - Quick North Review
With that and the end of the 2006 season, now is probably as good of a time as any to look at where we are and where we've been this season of mediocre and yawn inducing Big 12 North football.
Biggest letdown by far to me was Iowa State. Yes, in my eternal wisdom, I picked the Cyclones as the sexy pick to take the north in 2006. (2nd worst prediction of the year...right next to my Troy over Nebraska upset pick). I'm not going to go into too much detail about ISU, because they were rarely on TV, and the one time I did catch them, they were playing in Austin. (Not a good gage on any team.) However, I can tell you anyway why they are in the mess they are in. Missouri syndrome. As soon as I read that ISU fan has taken to the "snake bit" label, I should have known they were screwed. Since we're dealing with 18-22 year old kids here, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that things like this stick in their heads when they are up 18 points and the other team gets a quick TD and a turn over. "Ohhhhh shit, here we go again."
It's been happening to Mizzou for decades.
Speaking of Mizzou, I'd have to say 8-4 was just about right on to where we thought they may be. As with any Gary Pinkel team, you never know where they'll end up (as long as it's not first). However, it's fairly easy to see that this is one of the most explosive offensive teams in Mizzou history. With that, they still have two major problems. 1) Stopping the run. and 2) Getting over the whole "woe is us, we suck" self-destructing attitudes that they've been sporting for years. As soon as they stop feeling sorry for themselves and actually think like winners, they will never get over the hump. Will they have enough talent to overcome that anyway next season? Dunno. Guess we'll find out on October 6th.
Kansas sucks and will suck next year. I will say they did have a nice half of football against NU in Lincoln, but that doesn't mean a whole hell of a lot in the big grand scheme of things.
Colorado and Kansas State both broke in new coaches in various states of failures and glimmers of success. The Wildcats continue to (slightly) improve under Ron Prince, after a bitchslapping to Rutgers in the Texas bowl. They've obviously got a pretty good foundation in Josh Freeman, and they get Mizzou at home next year. But they still have to travel to Lincoln and Austin, and that does not bode well for anybody...let alone a young and improving team. ( I believe they have Louisville as well again no?) To me, KSU is the biggest wildcard of the bunch going into 2007.
Colorado is in much the same boat. I know they got off to a horrible start, but you'd have to think there is still some talent there. Hawkins is a proven winner (See Boise State game the other day), so you'd have to think they're going to do nothing but improve. Then again, it appeared at times they certainly had a ways to go. With their schedule, I think .500 would be a pretty good goal for the Buffs, with a win over the vaunted hicks the day after Thanksgiving. Then again..I've been wrong before.
Which brings me to the mighty Corn. I've never seen the Hillbilly nation in such a state of polarized idiocy as they are now. And again, this goes back to the ongoing civil war between factions of red-clad fans. The way I see it for next year is this:
This IS NOT the absolutely end-all, be-all, do-or-die season for the great soon-to-fail NFL Flunky experiment. There is no way Husker fan is going to settle with a North title next season, especially with the wildcard factor. What wildcard is that you say?
Enter Jesus Christ....quarterback. (From this day forward, Sam Keller will be known simply as J.C. in this blogspace.) Yes, the hopes and dreams of an entire state rest on the 1-year ability of a guy who got demoted by Arizona State just a few months ago. Will he be the guy to guide you through a landmine of tough games in 2007? 8 bowl teams, including USC, Texas and Wake Forest lie ahead, and the pressure couldn't be higher. Will J.C. be able to counter idiotic play-calling with the raw-talent equal to Joe Montana? Perhaps. Will J.C. be able to shoulder the expectations and hopes that a splintered fan base carry with them everywhere they go? Perhaps.
Will 9-5 and a North title be good enough next season for the Huskers? My bet is....sure.
9-5 will be good enough, because you have no other choice. Like the allies landing at Omaha Beach in 1944, there is no place to retreat to but the sea. If J.C. tanks...if J.C can't grasp Clownahan's 50,000 page playbook on gameday....if J.C. does fine but the defensive secondary continues to suck gigantic ass....then you will have no option but to sit back and take it. Why is that your only option you may ask?
Because it would take a 9 loss season or an underage prostitute to make Steve Pederson fire Bill Callahan. They are connected at the hip. They are synonymous with each other. They will forever be linked. How in the HELL is Steve Pederson going to fire the guy that turned everything upside down? One thing we've learned form Steve Pederson in 4 years is that Steve Pederson knows what's best. That is why, it will take an absolute calamity of SMU proportions to get Bill Callahan out next season...no matter how J.C. or the rest of the Huskers do.
And you people don't have the time, the patience or the experience in rebuilding to go through that again.
For your sake, you better J.C. can win games. If not, the Last Supper won't be pleasant. (Except for the rest of us, who will think it's hilarious.
* Real quick....NFL playoff predictions
IND 41 KC 24
SEA 35 DAL 10
PHI 27 NYG 6
NE 21 NYJ 10
* Getting closer to the reality of the Kansas City Penguins. Look for tons more NHL talk if that happens. (Cue the e-mails by most of you to the Pennsylvania legislature urging them to stay in Pittsburgh)
* Fire Mike Kemp
* So long Ted Brockman....you'll be missed.