The 2008 Big 12 North Season in Review
Over the years, many of my fellow bloggers have questioned why I am so liberal in what comments I approve. One of the great things about running a blog by yourself, is that you can completely dictate how it looks and feels via censorship. However, as I’ve long since stated, I WANT to see you people get pissed at me for several reasons. First, it's fun. Second, it shows the rest of the world what complete jackoff hayseeds you clowns are. Nothing makes me laugh more than some idiot in a yellow foam hat, spending 6000 words, telling me how much he hates me and my blog. Apparently, the irony was missed on him.
The third reason I like to approve pretty much any comment you can throw at me is that I realize all of this is opinion. That’s one thing that gets lost more than any other when it comes to sportswriters, both professional and amateur. The first thing you learn in journalism school is a funny little four-letter word that is the basis of pretty much any and all reporting…both legit and editorial. The word is “bias”, and the perspective that delivers it is the most important principle to remember when reading a blog, newspaper article or Jason Whitlock column where he babbles on about how great KU football is.
You simply must put yourself in the writer’s shoes, and figure out WHY he/she’s saying such things, and what their true motives are. What is their background? What is their stake in the argument? That’s what makes me laugh the hardest, is when I make predictions or submit a power poll and you people lose your minds. I mean, the sign at the front of the website says HUSKER HATER. And then you get all pissed off when I predict you’ll win 4 games? What the fuck did you expect me to say? “Damn that Bo Pelini is going to have Nebraska back on top this year.”
I’ve said this since the beginning, writing about the Huskers is 1000 times easier when they are winning, than when they’re a steaming pile of shit and left to die in the North cellar. People get more uptight....expectations are raised....delusions grow like weeds. I mean, I used to bash Nebraska when they were 60-3 and my own team was 11-43 in that same period. What makes you think I’ll have a hard time dealing with a 9-4 season where your biggest win was a 10 point victory over a 5-loss Insight.com champion Kansas team? (At home) Wouldn’t you think that’s easier to deal with than smack talking with friends when their team just won a 3rd National Title in 4 years and your own team hasn’t gone to a bowl in 2 decades?
Next time you wonder why I’m packing up and claiming victory, go and think about that for a while. If you still don't get it; well..there isn't much I can do for you at this point.
Anyhow…let’s get back to the year in review. With the North season now complete following Nebraska’s yawn-inducing pillow-fight victory last week, we can take a look at the season that was. And yes, we’ll see just how I was wrong…and how I was right on several different fronts.
Iowa State Cyclones (2-10)
Predicted record: (5-7)
High Point: Still trying to find one.
Low Point: Having your coach win 2 games and he fires you..not the other way around.
Summary: The Clones did absolutely nothing this season, so they may as well just start looking forward. Paul Rhodes takes over one hell of a mess in Ames. Granted, any first year coach is going to struggle, but first year success depends a lot on how much talent is there when they arrive. (AhemPeliniAhem)
Kansas State Wildcats (5-7)
Predicted record: (8-4)
High Point: Entering Big 12 play at 3-1 before being destroyed by Texas Tech
Low Point: Rehiring Bill Snyder and raising eyebrows across the nation.
Summary: I had no idea KSU would struggle so bad on defense. I also didn’t think Ron Prince would struggle taking over a BCS conference program the way he did. Gotta wonder how that loss to Louisville early effected the confidence of an already fragile program. A 1 point loss to Colorado was a death blow for the season and sent Prince on the road to the unemployment office.
Colorado Buffaloes (5-7)
Predicted record: (7-5)
High Point: Beating a ranked West Virginia team in overtime on National TV
Low Point: Losing to Nebraska on a fluke 57 yard field goal by a gangly Husker nerd/kicker who is not only fighting acne, but appears to have never kissed a girl.
Summary: I don’t have the exact number, but I thought I read somewhere that Colorado lost 17 starters at some point to injury. I say this every year, but I still have a hard time thinking that Colorado won’t rise up again soon and start to compete. A win in Lincoln would have been a great feather in Dan Hawkins’ cap, as would a bowl game. If Cody Hawkins would have played the whole year as he did in Lincoln, the Buffs wouldn’t have had such a crappy taste in their mouth to end the year.
Kansas Jayhawks (7-5)
Predicted record: (6-6)
High Point: Beating Missouri on a 4th down scramble in the snow at Arrowhead
Low Point: Losing to Nebraska on the road in a game they had no business losing.
Summary: KU was pretty much exactly where I thought they would be. Granted, I didn’t think they’d beat Missouri at Arrowhead (not many did), but gotta give them credit. Reesing played out of his ass and pretty much carried that team all the way to their win over a horribly brutal Minnesota team in the Insight.com bowl. The fat man can do a whole lot with not a ton of talent, and this season was no different. Having the whole team take a picture in front of the scoreboard after the Missouri game was pretty lame though..even for a guy wears a tent as a jacket.
Missouri Tigers (9-3)
Predicted record (11-1)
High Point: Crushing Nebraska and going on to win the North for a 2nd straight year
Low Point: Being destroyed at Arrowhead by OU in front of 40,000 OU fans.
Summary: Back to back 10 win seasons is nothing to sneeze at, and certainly no sane Tiger fan will discount that feat. But you have to wonder how the season would have gone, had the Tigers not laid a giant egg against a very beatable Okie State team in October. Granted, they weren’t going to beat Texas or OU this season, but you gotta think the KU debacle may not have happened if higher stakes were on the line at Arrowhead. Just goes to show you how big a part the mental game plays in football at this level. Right now, it looks like more Mizzou players will make the NFL out of this senior class, than the previous 15-20 years combined.
Nebraska Huskers (8-4)
Predicted record (4-8)
High Point: Getting crushed by Missouri at home and then suddenly forgetting it ever happened.
Low Point: Kidding yourself that Winning 9 games means you’ve turned a corner, even though your very best wins include a 5 loss Kansas team and a 6 loss Clemson team.
Summary: Order restored right? Funny thing is …Callahan brings in TONS of talent (per you), and yet somehow Pelini got 9 wins out of a group of “nobodies” (as a friend of mine called them the other day.) Which is it? Pretty safe to say the whole “playing harder” mantra worked out for you...but I think deep down, I feel a sense that even you know that this is only a small…even tiny step forward toward you getting back up atop your throne. You still haven’t beaten a top 20 team in nearly eight seasons. Hell, even the Omaha World Herald, in a story about season highlights listed an OT loss at Texas Tech as one of the season’s high water marks.
Don’t you think that's slightly telling if one of your greatest season “highlights” is a loss where your QB pissed the game away? And seriously, how many times are you going to lose to teams that are better than you? Granted, it’s better than losing to those teams…as you did last year. But still, it depends on what your expectations are. Next season, expectations are going to be sky high, despite the fact the vaunted CornCoast offense returns nearly zero playmakers for 2009. Good thing you guys don’t have a history of over estimating incoming talent huh?
Just a few years ago, you people hailed the executive motto that you absolutely will “not gravitate toward mediocrity”. Yet now, you celebrate it. Nine wins is but a number in days of 12 game schedules. This is especially true in a "great" fan base celebrating the non-choking of games away from such superpowers as San Jose State (81st in RPI.com’s final rankings), New Mexico State (140th), Iowa State (144th), Baylor (89th), KSU (85th) and Colorado (74th). Hell, even the Western Michigan and Clemson wins are considered mediocre according to the computers, who rank both teams in the mid 40’s….barely in the top half of the nation.
So maybe an OT loss to Texas Tech is what you should shoot for now? Perhaps this really is where you live these days? When I told you that your program lied in ruins all summer long, many of you mocked me for the simple fact that you know that Nebraska will never be a 2-3 win doormat…Hell, even I know that. (Not while Dr. Tom is in charge of scheduling) But what has changed in all this is how you define success. Even I will concede that 9 wins out of this group is a pretty major accomplishment. But make no mistake, the highway of college football is littered with programs who took a step forward, only to take two steps back. Bo Pelini isn’t blessed with a senior QB to save his ass in 2009. Remember the last time you had to break in an underclassman QB? Neither do I…it’s been a while.
So was this year’s edition of Husker football a success?
I guess it depends on how you look at it. Is listing an OT loss worthy of a season “highlight”? Is an unaccredited “co division championship” worthy of your mighty program? Now that mediocrity has been re-gained, is a division title the only acceptable outcome for Bo Pelini in 2009? Is it fair that this is where the bar has been set, despite the fact that not a single player he recruited has played a down in his system to date? I once told you the worst possible thing Pelini could do is have a good record in year one with very little to show for it in his first year. Right on cue, that’s exactly what happens. Now, he is forced to up that goal, with a complete lack of returning skill position players, and a defense that was improved…but still gave up a whopping 46 points per game in their 4 losses. 46 points...PER GAME.
Whether that is restored order to you is not for me to decide. I just hope you can keep your focus when you find out that red is the only color that bridesmaid dress comes in.