Dear Fellow Husker Fans,
I said it in a few discussions. I am sitting here hurting like I haven't felt since V-Tech this year. Somehow, some way the opposition caught a break and face it, UT took advantage and made the kick. But, before I get into the previous and some other stuff, I want to talk about the game in general.
First, the Blackshirts did as advertised and more. Suh was a beast in the middle. Heck, I think Colt McCoy and Suh probably exchanged cell phone numbers on one of the many chances they got to know each other (4 1/2 sacks) and countless other QB pressures. The rest of the D pitched in as well as the Blackshirts notched 9 sacks for the game and held the vaunted Texas offense in check. I was only able to listen to the first half of the game and I was impressed by what I heard. Do not fret Husker fans when Suh goes top 5 in next year's draft. There is plenty of talent on the defensive side of the ball.
Offensively, same old story, lack of consistency. If some how some way the offense could move the ball when the D is giving them great field position, one of these field goals turns into a TD. Another big blow to our cause was the INT after the partial blocked punt. I don't mind the call, but throw it to somebody else. Niles Paul in my own opinion is streaky number 1 and number 2 doesn't always fight for the ball like he should. If your gonna throw, have MCNeil run a 5 to 10 yard out and hit him fast.
Like I said, I was unable to watch the second half, so when I got to work lat night my boss did a grand thing, he used the ole comp and found the final score for me. I was bummed, but also proud of the showing, our Huskers weren't blown out. Secondly I found a radio and tuned it to ESPN radio and heard how NU lost on the last play. I was bumming out more. Then I heard about the horse collar penalty (legit call, even my mom agreed with it). Finally I get home this morning and hear about the review of the last play. Wouldn't you know it, that last play and review are instant classics on youtube. So, for the past hour or so I have been doing some research andI would like to give you my findings on why I think it was a bad call all the way around.
First, the timing of it all. Look at the replay, from the time the clock runs out to when the referee is rushing to head off Coach Pelini is exactly 6 to 7 seconds. That's a quick call from the booth if you ask me.
Secondly listen to the play by play guys. Even without a review and from across the field, the color guy si saying there is still one second on the clock. Can I borrow that guys eyes when I go hunting next? He must be damn good to see all that way. I smell something bad.
Third, check out where the game is played, Texas. This is why Husker fans we should be really scared about having all title games from here on out being played in southern territory. Do you think in your heart of hearts if that was Nebraska driving for a game winning score that the play would be reviewed? I say no, those refs would be booking for the showers trying to avoid the crush of Texas and their fans. Mark my words NU fans, if every Big 12 Title game is played in Texas no Big 12 North will A. get a fair call on close calls in close game and B. will not win another close game if game is being decided on a close call. Big 12 South schools don't want to play in weather. Fine, the football title game can play in the northern local of St. Louis. They have a dome there Harvey. Quit giving into the southern boys whims. To say San Antonio is a neutral site is to say the Qwest Center will be a neutral site for a Big 12 basketball title game between Kansas and Texas.
Finally, I consulted the Big 12 rule book on this thing and I came up with this little nugget and I quote
"Article 3. Miscellaneous reviewable plays include:"" f. Clock adjustment when a ruling on the field is reversed."
However there is another part
"Any reversal of an on-field ruling, which would result from indisputable video evidence, would have a direct, competitive impact on the game."
But look at the first thing I gave under miscellaneous ruling. If you take that to the letter, it says clock adjustments can onyl be made if a ruling on the field was reversed. There was no ruling on the field to reverse, they were just checking to see how much time was left. I'm sorry, but time clock dealings only work in basketball, not football. I know other guys on this site that have better sources may know more and even omaha.com had a piece where Coach Pelini talked to Harvey and the Head of officiating, but still something doesn't feel right. I even heard a blip over the net that the officials might have helped the Big 12 send two schools to the BCS bowls if the original ruling stood. Wrong. Say Nebraska wins this game, the bids are Nebraska, Alabama, Oregon, Ohio St., TCU, Cincy, Goergia Tech, Boise St, and Florida for sure. That leaves 3 teams (Iowa at 10-2, Penn St at 10-2, and Texas 11-1) campaigning for 1 spot. And believe me, that will be a tough spot to bid for simply for the fact you would be crazy not to think Iowa wont move up and Texas move down after a Texas loss to a 14 point underdog in Nebraska.
So, just by what I put up there, I think you can make a case that not everything is as cut and dried as the BCS and the Big 12 would like to make it (and remember, Texas own the Big 12 off the field as past dealings have proven).
But enough of the gripe. Happenings or not, I am proud of the Husker football team. This year they have overcome adversity, a inconsistent offense, and some turmoil to put together a 9-4 season and earned another month's worth of practices in preparations for a pretty good bowl (early bowlbuffs say Holiday vs Arizona). Just another good month plus next year's spring ball to hopefully instill consistency and rhythm into the offensive scheme as a whole.
As I put up above, I want to talk Pre-bowl Ugly, Bad, and Good (I always like ending my blogs on a good note)
First the Ugly
Ugly Play of the Year: Niles Paul drop of a sure TD against Iowa St. You can call it running without the ball or whatever. The fact of the matter is, Niles lost control of the ball on a sure TD. Just one of a few bad things that happened that day but I am getting ahead of myself.
Ugly Offensive performance of the Year: The offense against Iowa St. 8 turnovers including 5 in the red zone. Ouch ladies and gents.
Ugly Defensive performance of the Year: I know, many of you are saying what is he talking about. THe D may have been bad at times, but not ugly. On the contrary, they were ugly for one game, giving up 400 yards and 20 points to CU. A close second is the Texas Tech game.
Ugly Huskerspot Discussion of the Year: I wont name names, but a certain poster out there played the race card in criticizing Matt O'Hanlon after the Virginia Tech game. Said poster didn't even have the cajones to come back and give him props after the OU game. My words of wisdom to said poster, race card is and always will be off limits in this forum.
Ugly Win: There was actually alot of beauty in this ugly win, but I have to vote for Mizzou. For 54 minutes MU dominated the game. You take out the first 5 minutes of the 4th quarter and the last NU drive, Mizzou wins easily. They play 60 minutes Tigers. Bonus ugliness is Roy Helu Jr injured his shoulder late in the game and wasn't the same for a month.
Now the Bad.
Bad Play of the Year: It's a tie between the Hail Mary's at the end of the V-Tech game and the Colorado game. Football is 60 minutes guys, play to the end.
Bad(in a good way) defensive performance of the year: Ndamukong Suh in the Mizzou game. By the end of that game Blaine Gabbert was rethinking his rethinking.
Bad offensive performance of the year: The offense in the red zone, settling for field goals, penalties, or turnovers at the most inopportune times.
Bad )in a weird way) stat line of the year: Against Oklahoma, Matt O'hanlon had 3 ints for 30 return yards. The NU receiving corp as a whole had 7 catches for 39 yards.
Bad (in an off the wall way) during the week dealing: It's a tie. The first dealing is the oh dear reaction when COach Pelini took his time to hand out the Blackshirts again. I think he respects the Blackshirt tradition and he will keep it alive, I just think he wants to mold it into his own image so to speak. Second dealing is Rex Burkhead's injury during practice that kept him out of games up to CU. To say that injury exposed the running backs is an understatement. One of the 3rd stringers has to step up and prove his metal over the coming months.
And finally the Good and there are plenty
Good play of the Year: So many to choose, (some include the offense), but if I had to pick one play that turned the tide for the year it has to be Suh's INT against Mizzou. A close second would be Niles Paul TD catch in the same game.
Good sight I wish I could see on youtube: Barney Cotton anxiously awaiting for his son Ben to get to the sideline after his TD catch against Colorado. I know he's a coach and all, but he's a father first and you had to believe deep inside he was whooping it up.
Good game of the year: The Kansas game. The one game of the year where the offense made a comeback and sustained drives in a game that was fun to listen to.
Good HuskerVideo of the Year: It's a tie between the Tunnel Walks, the in game tributes for the 300th sellout, and the tribute at the end of the 300th sellout game. The Tunnel Walk, especially late in the year where they added the In the Deed portion is beautiful and gets my heart racing. The big hits and touchdowns are also cool. The in game tributes by former coaches, players, and opponents during the 300th sellout was a praise to our program and us as fans.
Good Rivalry Revival: The respect being heaped back and forth between OU and NU is a thing of beauty. I know some fans on both sides of the fence are cringing at this one but to be quite honest this is good. Believe me, I remember the days of t-shirts/bumper stickers that said my two favorite teams are Nebraska and whoever is playing Oklahoma. But times have changed. Yeah, I find it hard to cheer for OU, but you better believe I will cheer for OU over the likes of Mizzou, Texas, and Colorado. This two way road of respect is waht college football is all about.
Good JUCO of the year: Dejon Gomes. The kid was everywhere this year, always had a nose for the football.
Good comeback of the year: Barry Turner returnign from his lost season last year to help anchor a great d-line.
Good newcomer of the year (freshman): The sightings were few and far in between, but its a tie between Cody Green and Rex Burkhead aka "The Texas Connection".
Good vibes for next year: Through all the struggles on offense our Big Red finished 9-4, earned a bowl trip, and 3 of those losses were by a total of 4 points. We were never really out of any of the games. These young men fought, clawed, and at times willed their way to victory. In year 2 of the Pelini Dogma of D the Blackshirts were looking awesome with more to come (even with the loss of Suh, Dillard, and Turner). I'll take that as a great year two and what most people said would be a good year. Look to 2010.
Thank you for taking the time to read my post and thank you for your comments. I have to wait for the bowl announcements to coordinate the remainder of the year into early next year. God Bless and Go Big Red.