Top 10 Husker Things to Watch in 2007 - #10
In an effort to continually out Husker fans for what they truly are, I present to you yet another way to spend your summer months. You and I both know the start of the season is still months of the way, but it's still never too early to start trying to predict what will come.
As a public service to YOU....I give you a special series this month.
The top 10 Husker stories to watch for in 2007.
#10 - The Schedule
Vs. Nevada (8-5)
@ Wake Forest (11-3)
Vs. USC (11-2)
Vs. Ball State (5-7)
Vs. Iowa State (4-8)
@ Missouri (8-5)
Vs. Oklahoma State (7-6)
Vs. Texas A&M (9-4)
@ Texas (10-3)
@ Kansas (6-6)
Vs. Kansas State (7-6)
@ Colorado (2-10)
@ Crappy Bowl Game (Maybe)
As you can see, despite scheduling Maine, DeVry and the University of Phoenix in past years, the Huskers actually have a pretty rough road ahead. 8 teams on the schedule went to bowl games last year. Wake Forest is the defending ACC Champion. USC played in the Rose Bowl. Texas was by far the top team in the Big 12 for 4/5th of the season, until Josh Freeman came along and knocked them into a tailspin.
So why is the schedule "something to watch" in 2007? Because as Steve Pederson made it abundantly clear with his 2009 schedule additions yesterday, the Huskers have absolutely no business playing a schedule this tough.
But is it that tough to begin with?
Ask any red-clad douchebag from here to Scottsbluff, and they'll break it down as such: The Huskers may lose against USC. The Huskers will probably lose at Texas. Other than that...nobody comes close. Now, I've heard this more than 100 times in the past few weeks alone, and I'm not quite sure what to attest it to. Is it the usual Husker myopia that inflicts the soul of Joe Husker with delusions of past glory? Is it because of the JC Keller hype? Is it because their coach actually played NOT to get blown out against good teams last year in order to save face?
You all know my opinion already on why they feel this way...simply they don't know any better. But the more I look at the schedule, the more I see at least the possibility of 5...6..maybe even 7 or more losses.
Nevada isn't exactly a cupcake, but not really a threat either. Oh sure, they gave Miami fits in Boise last year, and they averaged 30 points a game. But Nevada is going to fall into that same lame trap that any other mid-level WAC team falls into every time they travel to Lincoln and see 85,000 gomer's with red overalls on. They'll fall for the hype. They'll fall for the "pageantry". They'll be in awe for about 15 minutes, until the realization hits them that this team isn't that damn good. I don't see much to worry about for Husker fan...but hey, at least they're not McNeese State.
It's pretty obvious that USC, Texas and Missouri are going to be losses, so we'll skip over those. They have 3 semi-tough swing games all at home against A&M, Okie State and K-State. I wouldn't be shocked to see any of those teams knock the hicks off, but I wouldn't be shocked to see one of these teams fail to win in Lincoln. A&M is improving and has won in some pretty hostile environments. Okie State's offense ran circles around Kevin Cosgrove's collection of stiffs in Stillwater. And Josh Freeman may just be pissed off enough at NU fans for calling his cell phone, that he might just put on a Brad Smith-esque one man show. Any of these games could be an L for NU.
Road games at Kansas and Colorado are tough to call because we don't really know how good either team is. Colorado showed signs of life last year in games against Georgia and Nebraska. (In Lincoln). Do you honestly think CU's talent level is so down that the Buff Nation will just let NU fans waltz right in and take over? FAR worse CU teams have beaten FAR better Husker teams by huge margins...so this should be scary. Kansas is somewhat in the same boat, because after last year's OT game in Lincoln,it's pretty obvious that the Fat Man can out coach Clownahan any day of the week. Both of these games are potential losses.
Which leads me to my final question for you people: HOW IN THE HELL can you people chalk up Wake Forest as a win? I've heard this over and over and over again in the past few weeks. THOUSANDS of Husker fans are simply discounting the ACC is "sucking" last year, and Wake Forest being the product of dumb luck and an easy schedule. Uhhhh...Correct me if I'm wrong but aren't Georgia Tech, Florida State, Maryland, Boston College all better than anybody Nebraska came close to beating?
I know, their stats aren't outstanding, except for one category: Turnovers. Wake finished 6th in the nation in turnover margin last season, which tells me that the electricity and atmosphere will be intensified that much more. OK, so they can't pass...but passing defense isn't exactly NU's strong point, especially with 3 NFL caliber D-Linemen needing to be replaced. (And the new guys facing their first challenge in hostile territory on National TV). I'm not saying Wake Forest is USC. I'm not saying Wake Forest would win the Big 12. But if you're playing a team searching for respectability...on the road...in a dinky little snake pit with the TV lights squarely on you....you better be ready.
So by the time mid-October hits, and the Huskers are sitting at 3-3 (minimum), how is the schedule going to come into play? Because Husker fans of all ages...still not convinced of the overall crappiness of their team, will blame Steve Pederson (and probably Bill Byrne) for scheduling such a rough out-of-conference schedule. Granted, that argument was doused with the announcement of 3 NAIA teams on the 2008 and 2009 schedules...but it will be discussed nonetheless.
As the house of cards begins to collapse in mid-season...the schedule and the breakdown of how it got to be so tough (when in fact it's the team that sucks)...will definitely be something to follow. That's why the 2007 schedule is our #10 thing to watch for 2007.
Coming up next:
"This is a joke, right?"