Dead Blog Walking
Here you all are…fresh off your EPIC win over a so-tough-they-should-be-ranked-but-aren't Colorado team… Now you’re set to go to another NEW YEARS DAY BOWL!!!!! You’re feeling confident. You're feeling good. You’re feeling great about the future. You’re feeling great about order finally being restored.
And it’s still hard for me to even find the strength to mock you.
I figured that once you have your little uprising that it would inject life into my little online crusade here. I figured I’d listen to local radio..maybe receive a few e-mails from friends and co-workers and I’d be right back to hating your guts in no time. After all as I’ve said for ages…it’s WAY WAY easier to write this column when you are winning. Watching you implode into a giant fireball was fun…but even your pseudo run at miniature glory isn’t enough to make me care all that much. But unfortunately...even today....nothing.
You still haven’t beaten a top 20 team since Joe Ganz was in Junior High. You haven’t beaten a top 20 team on the road since most of you were in junior high. You’ve prayed on the meek for the victories you DO get and fall short in pretty much every test you’ve taken since Miami was done wiping the floor with you in the Rose Bowl way back when.
And yet none of that has really changed. Oh sure, you’ll beat the teams you are supposed to beat. And sure, some teams still crumble at the sight of all those 80 year olds in matching sweaters 8 Saturday’s out of the fall. But in the end, that BIG STEP, that “return to greatness” is still nearly as far away today as it was the day Steve Pederson stepped up to the microphone, and made you national laughingstocks for the entire world to chuckle at. Wish as you might…you still should be embarassed to celebrate such menial goals that would barely even make the post-season banquet “other accomplishments” section of past Husker teams.
I’m not jumping ship just as you are ‘returning to glory’. I heard all of this back in 2006. No, I’m jumping ship because I know what is going to happen. I know Bo Pelini is parlaying mediocre talent leftover from the Callahan administration, and maximizing it against some of the worst collections of conference foes in Big 12 history.
I may not be there in a year or two to remind you of this when it happens..but rest assured, you will remember my words, and shake your head in reluctant disbelief that I called your demise yet again…even if for one year, you are too blinded with giddy mediocrity to even see it.
Ho hum…same shit…every other year.
I’d be failing you if I didn’t at least mention the gigantic shit-spat going on nationally this week, as Oklahoma once again gets over on Texas for the right to take on Missouri at Arrowhead. (What do you have going on Saturday night? Anything special planned?) Anyhow, you all know the argument and you all know the reasons why or why not the Big 12 did the right thing by handing the opportunity to advance to Oklahoma. However, if you want to get technical about the whole thing…the real key here is Missouri.
Because if Mizzou had actually lived up to their pre-season hype..and actually become the team lots of people (outside of this state) thought they would be…then this “outrage” would be coming from a completely different angle. Hell, even if more of you sold your souls and actually became a dominant power again (sorry..had to stop and giggle to myself for a bit thinking of your “big win” over toothless Colorado)…even if the Huskers sat at 12-0, the griping today would be coming DIRECTLY from Bob Stoops’ desk...not Mack Brown.
Why? Because in this exact same scenario, Oklahoma would be bitching about having to play an EXTRA game in Big 12 North territory against a team that…for the sake of this scenario…could knock them out of title contention, all while Texas stays home and watch. Granted, it’s big-risk and big-reward, but don’t think for a second that all of this is due to 30 minutes of awful Missouri football in Austin. Take that away, and there isn’t NEARLY as much “outrage” across the land.
Speaking of Missouri, I’m guessing you all want my take on just how the hell I’m going to spin something positive for the Tigers as they head into Kansas City Saturday as anywhere from 15 to 17 point underdogs.
Some of you probably don’t remember this..but those of you who were here during 2005 and 2006 know that I actually do bash my own team when it’s appropriate. The problem for the rest of you is..Mizzou has won 21 games in less than 2 complete seasons, and in the gigantic outhouse that is the Big 12 North, that’s crappy enough competition overall to make any good team appear great. That's why it appears I'm such a "Mizzou homer". If I had a reason to really bash them...trust me, I would.
Anyhow, both teams are coming in hobbled. Oklahoma is down to their 4th string middle linebacker, and Sam Bradford is set to have surgery following the game on his thumb. Mizzou has Chase Coffman playing at less than 100% with turf toe, and reports on Jeremy Maclin’s availability continue to be sketchy regarding his status. (There are even rumors of Chase Daniel having shoulder problems over the past few weeks, but I can’t really substantiate those without sounding like a pussy homer, so I shall digress.)
Anyhow, I’m going to agree with the masses that the Tigers have less than even a slim chance of pulling off the upset. Oklahoma landed SEVEN players on the 1st team All-Big 12 team. SEVEN. Think about how absolutely ridiculously stupid that is. Granted, Missouri is playing at home, but one look at local ticket agencies show that Tiger nation is following Wall Street’s recent lead, and dumping tickets to OU fans at an alarming rate. (And yes, as quick as I am to point out what rotten, horrible fans you idiots are in this state…I am just as quick to point out that my own team has some of the worst. Unlike you though…it doesn’t keep me up at night worrying what others think about my team.)
Regardless, although completely undermanned, Missouri does have a LOT of intangibles going for them this weekend, most notably is the fact that these are 18-22 year old kids who are motivated/unmotivated by the simplest of things. I remember in my playing days that the quickest way to get a team fired up, is to hear from those around you that you can’t do something. Sounds corny, but we see this time and time again in college football. One team comes prepared..the other doesn’t.
Look at last week’s Missouri vs. Kansas game for perfect examples of that theory.
The other major item I see in play is two fold. The first is Oklahoma’s defense. OU has given up more points in Big 12 play than Missouri has, which is a pretty bold feat considering how bad the Tigers have played the pass this year. In order for the OU beatdown to take place, the Sooner D is going to have to get into Mizzou’s head with a few 3 and outs early on…just as KU did last week. The Tiger offense is potent, but they’ve shown very little ability to keep their heads up after getting hit with body blows early in games. Jump up 14 points early, and the stadium will be nearly empty by halftime, with temps expected to be in the low 20's during the game.
The second factor is turnovers..which is pretty obvious. Oklahoma is +20 in turnover margin this year, which like the All-conference nods, is completely ridiculous. Also ridiculous is the fact that OU has fumbled the football 14 times. But that's not the ridiculous part. No the ridiculous part is, they’ve only lost ONE of those. Hell, drop a football in front of yourself in your living room, and see if you can fall directly on it with nobody around you. Odds are you probably won’t get it right away 13 out of 14 times. Not sure if that's luck or skill, but it's certainly something to keep in mind. OU doesn't hurt themselves...ever.
Anyhow, yours truly will be there rain or frozen..live from the upper deck of Arrowhead, decked in multiple layers and filled to the brim with bourbon and God knows what else. I’m not about to make any stupid predictions that Missouri is going to shock the world, because I think it would take a TON of things to go right for that to happen. However, there is enough talent playing in front of a mostly home crowd that would keep things from getting out of hand.
I may change my mind later in the week, but right now, my gut is a 49-39 Oklahoma win. The cold, the crowd, the expectations and a Mizzou team that actually shows up, should keep OU from hitting on all cylinders. Did I mention Missouri kept OU under 400 yards in both their meetings last year? Hmmmmmmm…..
(* Probable slot)
1) Missouri (9-3, 5-3) vs. Oklahoma @Kansas City – Tigers take on the world Saturday vs. the Soviet Union of college football teams. After a tough loss Saturday, is there enough gas in the tank to make a run at OU? Will they finally find the guts that made them a top 5 team last season? Probably not..but we shall see. Stranger things have happened.
2) Kansas (7-5, 4-4) @ Insight.com Bowl* - Rumor has it KU is going to forfeit the annual bowl in Arizona, and continue to celebrate it’s annual Super Bowl vs. Missouri throughout the new year. Joking aside as I said earlier this week, they did earn it. Where was that team all year? That's the question I would ask if I was a KU fan. (Right after I figure out who drank my last Zima and stole my Kenny G album)
3) Nebraska (8-4, 5-3) @ Gator Bowl - The greatest Cinderella story ever told ends in the fantastic southern Camelot known as Jacksonville against one of the toughest teams in the nation…Clemson. This battle is sure to be the talk of the college football world, as dozens of overweight farmers will hop on planes to figure out Clemson is decent, even MAC teams get to play after January 1st and Jacksonville is not only a toilet, but it really isn't that warm.
4) Colorado (5-7, 2-6) Season Complete – Great showing by Dan Hawkins’ team in light of a crushing defeat. One has to wonder how much of a springboard that game will be going into 2009, and just how their year would have changed had they actually rushed NU’s geek kicker before he struck the ball. As if they needed another reason to hate Nebraska.
5) Kansas State (5-7, 2-6) Season Complete – Bill Snyder is already working the KC area, making appearances and hopping on the recruiting trail. He’s not actually serious about this coaching thing, is he? I mean..it was all fun and jokes for a while..but he's still acting like he's the coach. You mean you guys were SERIOUS about him coming back? Whoa.
6) Iowa State (2-10, 0-8) Season Complete – Clones starting off the hoops season fairly well at 4-1 with their only loss a tough decision at Hawaii.
1) Oklahoma (11-1, 7-1) vs. Missouri @Kansas City - The Sooners have now spent the better part of two weeks listening to how they are the greatest offense in the history of college football. Tickets to Miami are booked, and national pundits are already breaking down an OU vs. Florida/Alabama match up. Anybody who doesn’t see this coming….
2) Texas (11-1, 7-1) @ TBD – Texas has a right to be pissed…somewhat. However, the bitching and crying going on in cyberspace and in the media is out of control. You’re fucking Texas..you run the league. It’s not like you’re going to suddenly suck next year. When Jerry Jones gets the Big 12 title game permanently, you’ll have a lifetime home-field advantage. Yes you got screwed. Life sucks, wear a lifejacket.
3) Texas Tech (11-1, 7-1) @ Cotton Bowl* - Granted, they got crushed by OU..but wasn’t that in Norman? The Raiders may be the most dissed 1 loss BCS conference team in the history of college football. Perhaps scheduling an actual 1-A team in the non-conference season is in order next year?
4) Oklahoma State (9-3, 5-3) @ Holiday Bowl* - Just as I’ve said all year..the Cowboys have a great team..but they just aren’t deep enough to beat the big boys. Great effort on Saturday, but not no semblance of defense. A trip to San Diego is a nice consolation prize though.
5) Baylor (4-8, 2-6) Season Complete – I’m 100% positive, without a shadow of a doubt that Baylor is the single greatest 8 loss team in the history of college football. Did you see the Tech game Saturday? God help the poor team that has to go down there next year and…heh…oh wait.
6) Texas A&M (4-8, 2-6) Season Complete – Pitchers and catchers report for spring baseball in 4 short weeks.