In case you don’t recognize it, that is the sound of Husker pride and arrogance slowly leaking back into the atmosphere. It’s something we really haven’t seen since the Nevada game last year, so it took me a few minutes to recognize it after last night’s epic win over perennial power New Mexico State. Nebraska's romp toward the WAC title took another huge step forward with an “old school” beat down of the Aggies on a perfect night in Lincoln. Actually an “old school” Nebraska win over New Mexico State would have been highlighted with 800 yards rushing and a 70-0 win…but I’m sure you’ll take what you can get now.
As many of you know, one thing I hate more than anything in the world is agreeing with Omaha World-Herald columnist and Husker homer Tom Shatel. Nowhere on earth are predictable columns met with wishy-washy flip-flopping. (“Frank Solich should stay!! Wait, I mean fire Frank! I mean….) But regardless of his past history of crappy takes for the sake of sheep-like readers, he did get one point correct this morning: The pre-season is over.
Despite your lowest talent level in years (don’t kid yourself), The Huskers have waltzed through a three-game September home stretch that would barely have challenged Omaha Westside High School. Granted, struggling with San Jose State is particularly noteworthy (and ironically forgotten this morning)…yet somehow that old feeling is back, despite the avalanche of reality forthcoming that says almost every single team you play from here on out has a decent chance of beating you.
But alas, we are pretty much exactly where I said we would be.
I predicted Western Michigan would have put up a bit more of a fight on opening day…and you ended up winning by 23. (I said 8…Oh and by the way, the Broncs barely beat Northern Illinois at home last week and struggled to put away mighty Idaho yesterday). Then came San Jose State, and the late game surge that gave you another 23 point win. Before the season I said you would win by 20. (Hmmmmmm…) And lastly, we have last night’s epic win over a team that gave up 30 ore more points NINE times last year. I said you'd win by 30...you won by 31. (Hmmmmm....) As one e-mail from a Husker buddy of mine who was at the game said, “New Mexico State looks like they’re starting 4 women’s gymnasts on the defensive line, this is the smallest team I’ve ever seen.” Yes, the WAC is known for their monster linemen and physical style.
So with a bye week upcoming and yet another 7 days to digest just how close you are to restoring the order, we will soon turn our attention to Virginia Tech. Now granted, the Hokies have more athletes on their practice squad than the three JV teams you just got done beating the past three weeks…but still, this is a team that is averaging a whopping 85 yards through the air. We do have time to break it down however, since Tyrod Taylor has a matchup in Chapel Hill next weekend to work out some kinks before his trip to the Corn Palace. But if you watched that game vs. Georgia Tech yesterday, you’ll notice the young freshman is extremely quick but has trouble throwing the ball more than 5 yards downfield. (Good thing you don't have a pass rush anyway huh?)
In the meantime, those of us stuck behind enemy lines will be inundated with over-analysis, debatable logic and plain old fashion Husker shortsightedness as we waddle through the bye week. I do have a question though. According to my predictions…and they haven’t changed…where are those extra three wins going to come from in order to grab that golden ticket to Shreveport? Ames? Waco and....? Guess we’ll just have to wait and see.
In the meantime a couple of notes from a great day of channel surfing yesterday.
- Ohio State, go away. Take your slow, unimaginative offense, ignorant fans, your shitty…overrated as hell 5* defenders and go back to your rightful place on the Big 10 network at 11am on a given Saturday against Purdue. Beanie Wells or not, that team…like most Big 10 teams is a product of hype and daydreaming back to a bygone era where conference powers like Michigan didn’t get bitchslapped by crappy teams like Notre Dame. (Did they even play yesterday? I barely even remember seeing highlights.) What was my point? Oh yeah…I don’t care if they’re sitting at 11-1 and have beaten every crappy Big 10 team by 60 come the end of November…keep them away from the BCS title game. If they snake their way in there, the people should revolt. I'm not kidding.
- I respect Oklahoma and their fans. Hell, I even respect Bob Stoops for being a brilliant coach..especially considering the massive beatdown he gave Washington yesterday. That team is ridiculously scary and has speed and size at every single position. But is it really necessary to emulate the 86 Miami Hurricanes? I mean Jesus, I almost expected Luther Campbell to be standing on the OU sideline as the camera panned. Starting fights with hapless Husky players in the tunnel? Cheap shotting linemen in the back after a play is called dead? And yes, I haven’t forgotten the class act of swinging by the Missouri locker room in San Antonio last year, taunting the team through the door. You’re supposed to be a National Power…feel free to act like it. (And not circa '95 Nebraska either in case domestic assault is on the plate for later this season)
- Kansas….oh Kansas. First off, Sod Reesing has serious skills at eluding the rush; I will readily admit that. That is extremely important when your offensive line can’t stop anybody from getting past you simply by blinking. They’ve got a couple of nice receivers and even a few decent linebackers. But if you’re going to survive Texas, OU and Tech by simply having Reesing run for his life for 60 minutes, you’re probably going to find yourselves in a bit of trouble. KU has convinced themselves of their greatness, which while annoying….is probably a good thing for them. This will allow them to get by the lower-tier teams of Nebraska and ISU with no problem. The hobbit can’t win games by himself though…and you better find yourselves a running back (and not slow pasty ones or a guy who likes the younger ladies...allegedly)
- Good win by Mizzou yesterday, albeit over a fairly crappy WAC team. (Better than some of the WAC teams that played Big 12 teams the past couple of weeks..ahem…but I digress). Anyway, Chase Daniel is ridiculous as is the rest of the offense. The key for the Tigers on offense is going to be Derrick Washington. Why? Because somebody down the road is going to get cute (as Arkansas did in the Cotton Bowl) and play with 9 DB’s or something like that. At that time, Daniel, Maclin and company are going to have to diversify just a bit to keep things level. And yes, I realize how ridiculous this is to nitpick a team that hasn’t been good for 30 years.
On defense there really isn’t anything new to dissect, other than the prevent coverage has got to get better when the other team is heaving a Hail Mary with :00 left in regulation. William Moore should take a week off to rest his ailing foot, and it was nice to see Van Alexander back in the lineup a bit yesterday as well.
Hate week is on the horizon. At over 57 points per game so far…the visions of gassed Husker linebackers chasing Missouri receivers like a group of 4 year olds at an Easter egg hunt is too great to ignore. However, Turner Gill’s bitchslapping and a battle of has-beens in Lincoln stands in our way. We'll get there eventually. Buckle up.