World-Herald sports columnist Tom Shatel offers his key observations from Nebraska’s 45-17 loss to Michigan on Saturday in Ann Arbor, Mich.
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A SENIOR ALREADY?
I don’t know if you can have a defensive player of the year who’s not in the conference championship game, but Lavonte David should be the exception. It’s a treat right now to watch No. 4 play. He’s playing at the highest level of any Nebraska linebacker in a long while. He’s got Senior Day next Friday and it seems like it’s too soon. The young man gave us plenty and he’ll leave us wanting more.
WHERE ARE THE YOUNG GUYS?
It seems like a silly nit-pick in a 45-17 loss, but why not play more young kids in the fourth quarter? Why leave Taylor Martinez in to get hammered needlessly? Why not play Brion Carnes? Why not more young guys? Where’s Jammal Turner? If he’s struggling with the offense, give him some plays he can run. If he’s not a receiver, put him back at quarterback.
THE WHAT BOWL?
Nebraska’s bowl picture is coming into focus. My best guess is, Outback (likely vs. Georgia or South Carolina) or Insight (vs. Kansas State, Texas, Texas A&M or Baylor). Bowl sources at the game painted this picture: Now that Oklahoma State is out of the BCS title picture, the Fiesta is likely going to take the Big 12 champion (OU-OSU winner) vs. Stanford, if the Cardinal wins out. That means Michigan and the Big Ten championship game runner-up would compete for the Capital One Bowl, with the other competing with NU for the Outback. I could see Michigan in Orlando. I could see NU in Tampa, with MSU going to Tempe. We’ll see. Here’s one thing a bowl source said: If Nebraska loses to Iowa next Friday, it’s the “Car Bowl.” Otherwise known as the Meineke Car Care Bowl, in Houston. Yikes.