Dear Fellow Husker Fans,
All sports are a game of inches. In basketball Paul Pierce hit a free throw where the ball hit back iron, went straight up, and then through the hoop to help the Celtics win the NBA title. Kenny Calhoun with just a fingertip tipped away a 2 point conversion pass to help Miami seal a NC during the 83-84 season. Matt Davison scooped a pass just above the Farout Field grass in helping NU win a epic battle against Mizzou in 97. And then this year, a two point conversion pass fluttered in the wind, falling like a lame duck into the waiting arms of Eric Hagg (And to think the captains messed up the call again, more on that later). Seriously, a national championship is won with 49% talent, 49% execution and 2% luck. This is the luck for Nebraska this year. This game like the OSU game had a feel that the last team with the ball could win it (and that was before the OT). Guys and gals, since the 92 NU/ISU game you had to learn, had to know any game in Ames would have the making of a yikes. This year was no different. This Husker team overcame injuries to perhaps the biggest X-factor in college football , Taylor Martinez. This Husker team overcame a raucous crowd and even though they failed to finish it in regulation, somehow, some way, they overcame.
The Good: The third quarter. I was in shock when the 4th quarter started. Part of me thought the game was over with NU up by such a good margin. The offense was clicking and things were seeming to open up for the RBs. However, the 4th quarter started and ISU got the wind.
The Bad: The weather, if you had the wind, you had the advantage in this one. If there is ever a weather condition that doesn't play favorites, its the wind.and this game proved it.
The Ugly: When the ISU won the toss and chose to go on defense, the radio call was saying that NU should go with the wind. The captains chose to play against the wind which to some on the broadcast were saying Coach Pelini didn't want. Coach, please, for the love of the Husker faithful before you send the captains out there for a toss make sure you give them explicit instructions on what to do if the coin toss is won or loss. This is getting ridiculous.
History lesson of ISU. Funny, the only biggy historical games seem to be ISU wins, but I think I have a few gems picked out.
1. 1994 NU 28 ISU 12 ISU played this one tough for most of the game. However, NU pulls it out on the way to a national title,
2. 1995, 1997 NU wins both 73-14, 77-14: Proof of the dominance of the Big Red over ISU. Many games in this series had huge margin of victories for NU (5 or more TDs) and these two were also on the way to NCs.
Ok, I know I was going to give a rundown on Friday, but since the Utah-TCU game is over and for the most part eliminated one more team from the NC talk, I will give a rundown of the teams sitting atop the BCS standings and give you how I think NU still has a chance for a national title.
-First: Without a doubt Nebraska has to win out from here on out.
-Second: We're in need of some help, but it is out there and using my rundown you can decide for yourself. Note, the rankings I give will be in this order BCS, AP, Coaches
1. Oregon (1, 1, 1) Tough game remaining vs #18 Arizona @ Oregon St UofA has a shot at beating Oregon, especially if N. Foles is healthy. OSU, don't let their record fool you. They lost in OT to Washington, they took #6 TCU to the finish line and they failed to show up against UCLA.
2. Auburn (2, 2, 2) Tough games remaining @12 Alabama, SEC Title game (against Florida or South Carolina). Alabama was up there all year until self destructing the past few weeks. Bama wants to wein this game more than ever just to keep Auburn out of the national title. SEC title game is just an after thought to the Iron Bowl considering the west has underperformed, but you never know.
3. TCU (3, 3, 3) No tough games left on the schedule, only hope here is for Nebraska to continue to impress and for a fluke loss by TCU.
4. Boise St. (4, 4, 4) Tough games remaining @idaho @ #21 Nevada. Idaho could pull it out, maybe. Nevada, if they get the pistol working will be a tough win for BSU.
5. LSU (5, 5, 6) Tough games @#15 Arkansas, SEC title game. They are actually 2 games back of Auburn so they need Auburn to lose twice to get into the SEC title game. However, don't overlook that Arkansas game either.
6. Stanford (6, 7, 9) Tough game vs Oregon St. I said it earlier, don't let the record fool you, OSU can flat out play football.
7. Wisconsin (7, 6, 5) Tough game @Michigan. Part of me just thinks Denard Robinson is due another big game soon. Could this be that game?
8. Nebraska (8, 9, 8) Just keep on winning.
9. Ohio St (9, 8, 7) Tough games vs Penn St, @ #13 Iowa, vs Michigan. Talk about a finish line gauntlet. Wait a second, that almost looks like what Nebraska will be facing next year.
10. Oklahoma St (10, 12, 11) Tough games @Texas @#16 Oklahoma. I know, Texas stinks big time this year, but this is about the time where people bring up the fact that under Coach Brown UT has never lost 3 in a row.
11. Michigan St (11, 10, 10) Tough games @ Penn St. I am only going this far down because I firmly believe that beyond this point barring some astronomical bad play no team outside the top 11 has a shot. This game probably eliminates MSU if they lose.
If I had to pick which teams I think falter and help NU out, my gut feeling is Auburn and LSU don't make it out of the rest of the month without losing a game. Oregon I don't see losing and TCU will be a luck of the draw deal. BSU might up and lose that game against Nevada so the question is do you place a one loss team out of either the PAC-10, Big 10, or Big 12 ahead of a undefeated TCU and if so, which team? I think Stanford would have to be eliminated just because Oregon is already sitting at the top. So that a possible 1 loss Wisconsin and 1 loss Nebraska playing for #2 with a undefeated TCU. Personally speaking, I hope TCU falls flat against one of their remaining opponents. Only time will tell and we shall see.
That's it for this week. Give a shout out to Coach Gill, then hope its a good old fashioned KU butt kicking like the fun ones from the 80s and early 90s. God bless, and Go Big Red.