I would love to write more about Nebraska-Idaho State. I would love to preview Nebraska-Wisconsin. But a cold draft keeps blowing my computer off the table.
The front door is wiiiiiiide open, folks. Can the Huskers walk through it?
I’m talking about the Big Ten wasteland. Michigan and Michigan State can’t score. Ohio State and Penn State are on probation. Wisconsin is mediocre. And Iowa, well, Iowa stinks.
What more could Nebraska possibly ask for? How many more stars could possibly align?
You’re going to find out a lot about Bo Pelini’s program the next six weeks. There’s a major opportunity to break the 13-year conference championship draught. There’s no excuse NOT to.
You may look at the Big Ten’s meager non-conference performance and yearn for the Big 12. But Nebraska wouldn’t win that league this year. It should win the Big Ten. It should be able to navigate the next five games with a 4-1 record — 3-2 at the worst.
The Huskers have a huge edge over Wisconsin, whose offense isn’t explosive enough right now to expose the Blackshirts’ troubles in the front seven. Its quarterback is immobile and inexperienced. Wisconsin’s defense, meanwhile, matches up poorly with Nebraska’s speedy skill players.
Moreover, NU has the intangible advantage. Home field and motivation from a 31-point drubbing last fall.
Wisconsin has two paths to victory. One is hoping Taylor Martinez goes on a turnover frenzy as he did in Madison. Two is hoping its offensive line can pound the Blackshirts and keep Nebraska’s offense off the field.
Each is possible. Neither is likely.
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>> Embarrassing is the only word to describe what happened at Memorial Stadium Saturday. I understand the challenges in scheduling. I understand sometimes you have to bite the bullet and sign an FCS team. But to sign that FCS team — by far the worst I’ve ever seen play at Memorial Stadium — is something Nebraska should regret — and be ashamed of. Why not just sign Wayne State or UNK and keep the $600,000 in-state? Those teams might be better anyway.
>> Embarrassing is also the only word to describe Gordon Gee‘s expenses at Ohio State. The school president spent $64,000 on bow ties, bow tie cookies and pins since 2007.
>> Nebraska will probably return to its base defense this week. Three linebackers. But as well as Ciante Evans has played — and as little as Sean Fisher has played — I would keep nickel as my base. I’d rather have a little more speed on the field, even against Wisconsin. In order to stifle the run, move safety P.J. Smith into the box.
>> Jerry Palm projects USC-Nebraska in the Rose Bowl. That might not end well for the Huskers.
>> Tim Miles’ fun-loving personality finally got him in trouble. His comment Saturday that Nebraska is “the only show in the state” was bound to ruffle Bluejay feathers. I take him at his word when he says he didn’t mean to knock Creighton.
But I also don’t think Nebraska seriously looks at Creighton as a competitive peer. Why? Because one plays in the Big Ten, while the other plays in the Missouri Valley. Is that fair to Creighton? No. (Especially when the Jays are gonna beat Miles this season by about 40 points). But it’s the truth.
Sooner or later, this in-state pillow fight is gonna turn into a real rivalry. I wish both sides would just embrace it, rather than downplaying it. Perhaps Miles’ comments will help.
>> Pat Forde says Coach K owes it to Duke to get to the bottom of the Lance Thomas mess.
>> Bruce Feldman peels another layer off the onion of scandal at Miami.
>> Bill Snyder and Collin Klein don’t intimidate, they just win. Sam Mellinger explains.
>> What’s wrong with Oklahoma’s program? Berry Tramel explores.
>> Read this old Torrey Smith profile by the Washington Post. Smith lost his brother last week, but his personal tribulations go back further.
>> Since 2006, Kirk Ferentz has lost 10 games as a double-digit favorite. That’s hard to do. And this week, his nemesis — the undefeated Minnesota Golden Gophers — come to town. If Iowa wins, would it be an upset?