Tag:Nebraska
Posted on: October 22, 2010 5:51 pm
 

Jacobi's Insane Predictions, Week 8

Posted by Adam Jacobi

Every season, every month, every week, there are several outcomes and achievements that, frankly, nobody operating within reason would ever predict. Who could have predicted Nebraska would beat Florida for the 1995 title by 38 points, or that Boise State would pull off three late trick plays to knock off Oklahoma in the 2007 Fiesta Bowl, or that South Carolina would fail to score a point in the second half against Kentucky a week after knocking off the Tide? Nobody... until now. We're going to try capture that lightning in a bottle by making similarly absurd predictions every week. Are they at all likely to come true? No. Do we even believe the words we're writing? No. But if we make even one correct call on these, we will never stop gloating. Ever.

Highly Unlikely

Washington State, a team that's deceptively frisky even at 1-6, picks off an unsuspecting Stanford team after Andrew Luck blows his knee out in the first half. Despondent at the loss of the game and their quarterback, Stanford drops its last five games and stays home for bowl season. Wazzu, on the other hand, uh ... OK, the Cougars lose the rest of their games too. They're still not very good. After the Cardinal finishes off its six-game losing streak with a loss to Oregon State, head coach Jim Harbaugh tells reporters, "Eh. No big deal. It's just, we win or we lose, whatever. Winning is pretty overrated."

Severely Unlikely

Iowa State blows the doors off the Texas Longhorns in the first half, racing out to a 28-0 lead before hanging on for a 28-27 victory in Austin. In the ISU locker room, head coach Paul Rhoads tells his charges, "I AM SO PROUD TO BE YOUR FOOTBALL COACH," before quarterback Austen Arnaud reminds Rhoads, "Yes, we know. You told us that last year." Which Rhoads did, in fact, after the Cyclones' 9-7 win at Nebraska. Rhoads attempts the save with a "I'm still proud to be your coach," but even he knows the moment's pretty much over. The rest of the day is a pretty subdued affair for the Cyclones. Also, DKR is burned to the ground by rioting Texas fans.

Completely Preposterous

Oregon loses its game against UCLA. By forfeit. Yes, that would be confusing, since the two teams already played on Thursday and Oregon dropped 60 on the poor Bruins' defense. However, Oregon head coach Chip Kelly commits the fatal error of "filling out his scorecard incorrectly" after Rick Neuheisel claims the zero in 60 looks like another six. With Phil Mickelson acting as guest commissioner of the Pac-10 , Oregon has no choice but to forfeit the entire game. Really, the main point here is that golf is stupid. Never watch golf. The end.

Posted on: October 22, 2010 5:49 pm
 

The Saturday Meal Plan: Week 8

Posted by Tom Fornelli

The Saturday Meal Plan is a helpful guide put together for you to maximize the results of your college football diet.  Just enough to leave you feeling full, but not so much you spend your entire Sunday in the bathroom.

Breakfast

Main Course - Northwestern vs. #8 Michigan State - Noon - ESPN

Michigan State leads the way for breakfast for the second straight week, which is what happens when you're the only undefeated team left in the Big Ten.  Be forewarned, though, just because this matchup doesn't seem all that appealing, it...ok, it isn't really.  It's just that the morning slate is light again because that's just the way things work in this television dominated world.

Still, the Spartans shouldn't take Northwestern all that lightly.  First of all, no road game is easy, even if it's being played in a stadium with 35 people in it.  Yes, Northwestern inexplicably dropped a game to Purdue last week, but that's Northwestern's style.  It has a tendency to play to its opponents.  So there's a chance that the Wildcats could hand MSU it's first "Sparty, no!" of the season.

Side Orders: Ohio State hosts Purdue, and this game may be interesting for a few reasons.  First of all, it's our first chance to see how the Buckeyes will respond following a loss, and they'll also be looking for revenge for last season's loss in West Lafayette.  Speaking of revenge, I'm sure Notre Dame wouldn't mind beating Navy and starting a new trend there as well.  Or you can just watch Texas, West Virginia and Virginia Tech romp over some conference foes.

Lunch

Main Course - #5 Auburn vs. #6 LSU - 3:30pm - CBS

Two undefeated Tigers roll into Jordan-Hare on Saturday, and only one will emerge.  Who is it going to be?  Well, there are going to be two different games being played in this one.  There's the game between each team's strength -- Auburn's offense and LSU's defense -- and their weakness -- Auburn's defense and LSU's offense.

Odds are that whichever team's weakness best resembles a strength is going to emerge victorious, and have a much easier path to the SEC title and possibly a BCS game.  If you're wondering which way I'm leaning, well, I'll just say that one team has Cam Newton at quarterback and the other has some indecipherable combination of Jordan Jefferson and Jarrett Lee.

Also, I'll be doing a live-chat during this game over at our Facebook page, so stop on by and make fun of Les Miles for four hours with me, won't you?

Side Orders: The afternoon is packed with some big games this week.  If for some reason two undefeated teams battling it out isn't good enough for you, you can always go with Iowa and Wisconsin or the also undefeated Oklahoma State taking on previously undefeated Nebraska.

Dinner

Main Course - #18 Missouri vs. #3 Oklahoma - 8pm - ABC

Personally, I've been waiting to dig in to this one for a while.  I've seen Missouri play a few times this season, and as I've said here before, I'm just not sure what to  make of them.  The Tigers are a good team, but are they really 11th in the BCS good?  Is that what a couple of victories over some 3-3 BCS teams and nobody else gets you these days?

Whatever the case, we'll find out on Saturday night.  If the Tigers can knock off the team that sits atop the current BCS standings, then I guess we have to take them seriously. 

Though, I feel I should point this out as well, just so Missouri fans can hate me a little less, I think Oklahoma is a bit overrated as well.  Still, I think the Sooners will prove to be better on Saturday night.

Side Orders: Bit of an light night on the menu this week.  There really aren't any other marquee matchups being played on Saturday night.  Kentucky and Georgia could be interesting seeing as how both teams are still alive in the SEC East, but other than that the only game that even catches my eye is TCU and Air Force.   Though, if you hate yourself, you could always tune in to Texas A&M and Kansas.

Late Night Snack

The Washington Huskies have found a home as a late-night snack here.  I've featured them here twice in the last few weeks, and they're undefeated in those games.  Can they run the streak to three on the road against an Arizona team that is without Nick Foles?
Posted on: October 19, 2010 11:55 am
 

Nebraska fan loses bet, eats soap

Posted by Tom Fornelli

I've never had the honor of getting my mouth washed out with soap.  It's not that I didn't swear a lot as a child, I swore like a sailor, it's just that I made sure not to do it in front of my parents.  Though even if I had, I'm not sure either of them would have stuffed a bar of Ivory down my throat as much as they'd just tell me not to do it.

My parents were forgiving folk, which can't be said of Texas fans it seems.  There was a bet between a Texas fan and a Nebraska fan over last weekends game that called for the loser to either pay the other $200, or eat a bar of soap.  Upon seeing his team lose, Johnny Nebraska chose to go the bar of soap route.  Thankfully people recorded the whole thing so that we could enjoy his incredibly clean embarrassment.



You can really taste the lye!

Hat tip: Wiz of Odds
Posted on: October 18, 2010 7:07 pm
 

Midseason Report: Big 12

Posted by Tom Fornelli

Now that we've reached the halfway point of the season, we have a lot better idea of which teams to take seriously, and which ones we can forget about.  Of course, there's still a lot of football to be played this season, so in the Midseason Report we'll be taking a look at what each team has remaining in front of them, and what they'll have to do to call themselves conference champions.  In this post, we'll take a look at the Big 12.

North


1. Missouri (6-0, 2-0) - Raise your hand if you thought that come the midpoint of the season Missouri would be 6-0, ranked 11th in the BCS and alone atop the Big 12 North.  Now put your hand down and hang your head in shame, you liar.  Looking at this Missouri team through six games it's hard to see a weakness.  They have an offense putting up 34.5 points a game, and a defense that's only allowed 10.8 -- which is the second best mark in the country.  The problem is that the Tigers are just now reaching the part of their schedule that will truly put them to the test.  Over the next four weeks the Tigers will host Oklahoma, travel to Nebraska and Texas Tech, then return home to play Kansas State.   If Mizzou comes out of that stretch unscathed it finishes up with Iowa State and Kansas.   In other words, they wouldn't just be playing for a Big 12 title, but for a shot at a national title as well.  Can they get there?  My gut says no, but this weekend's game against Oklahoma will tell us all a lot more about how good this team is and can be.

2. Nebraska (5-1, 1-1) -
If there was ever going to be a season in which Nebraska finally got the monkey that is Texas of its back, this was supposed to be it.  It wasn't, though, and now there are questions in Lincoln about how good Taylor Martinez actually is.  Personally, I'm not sure.  One week he looks amazing, and then the next he looks anything but, and the fact of the matter is that how Martinez goes, so go the Cornhuskers.  Nebraska's next two weeks will be tough as they head to Stillwater on Saturday before returning home to host Missouri.  Unless they win both of those games Nebraska's swan song in the Big 12 will not end with a conference title.  The good news is that even if Martinez does struggle, Nebraska has a defense strong enough to keep it in any game, but the defense can't win games on its own.  Martinez simply needs to play well from here on out.

3. Kansas State (5-1, 2-1) - To me, Kansas State is one of those teams that is more a byproduct of their schedule than a real contender.  It's 5-1 through six games, but those five wins have come against teams like UCLA (college football's answer to schizophrenia), Missouri State, Iowa State, UCF and Kansas.  The one test the Wildcats had this season came two weeks ago when they hosted Nebraska.  They lost that game 48-13.  I just have a hard time believing that the team that got killed by Nebraska and struggled with Iowa State and UCF is going to beat Oklahoma State, Texas and Missouri in consecutive weeks.  Maybe the Wildcats will prove me wrong, but I doubt it.

South


1. Oklahoma (6-0, 2-0) - If you're ranked first in the BCS rankings, then I guess you have to be the favorite to win your conference by default.  Not that the Sooners don't deserve to be, as they've had a few impressive wins over Florida State and Texas already this season.  Still, the Sooners don't exactly have an easy path to the finish line.  Four of the Sooners first six games this season have been played in Norman, with another on a neutral site against Texas.  Of its final six games, four will be on the road, including games against Missouri, Texas A&M, Baylor and Oklahoma State.  The one time the Sooners hit the road this season they had trouble fending off a Cincinnati team that had no business hanging with them.  Also, the Sooners went 1-3 on the road last season.  There are no easy road games in college football these days, so Oklahoma's trip to the Big 12 title game is anything but a guarantee at this point.

2. Oklahoma State (6-0, 2-0) - There isn't much question that the Cowboys can put points on the board, as Brandon Weeden and Justin Blackmon have led Oklahoma State to the third-best passing attack in football, and the second-highest scoring offense in the nation as well.  The concern with Oklahoma State is it's defense.  A unit that is giving up 27.2 points a game is likely to cost the Cowboys a game at some point.  Looking at the Cowboys remaining schedule, plenty of tests remain.  The Cowboys host Nebraska this week and then have Kansas State, Baylor, Texas, Kansas and finish with Oklahoma.  Aside from Kansas, there isn't a guarantee in the bunch.  You have to think that either the Texas defense or Oklahoma's will figure out how to slow down Weeden and company, and if they do, do you trust the Cowboys defense to stop either?  I certainly wouldn't write off Oklahoma State's chances to reach the title game, but its schedule and defense certainly doesn't do it any favors.

3. Baylor (5-2, 2-1) -
Baylor is off to a nice start, being led by Robert Griffin III, but it has a lot of landmines to avoid if it wants to play for the Big 12 title.  First of all, the Bears already have one more conference loss than either Oklahoma or Oklahoma State.  The good news about that is that Baylor still has a chance to hand either of those teams its first loss.  The bad news is that Baylor still has to play Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Texas and Kansas State.  Yep, four of Baylor's last five opponents this season are in the BCS top 25.  That seems like a lot more work than I think Baylor can handle.

4. Texas (4-2, 2-1) - Texas is the wild card in all things Big 12 right now.  Following back-to-back losses to UCLA and Oklahoma there was plenty of doom and gloom in Austin, but following Saturday's win against Nebraska, the Longhorns aren't in as bad a shape as you'd think.  Texas is still only one loss behind Oklahoma and Oklahoma State, and still gets to play the Cowboys at home.  What could end up killing their chances, though, is that loss to Oklahoma as the Sooners would have the tiebreaker should the finish with an equal mark.  So Texas needs to win out and hope that the Sooners lose twice, which isn't likely, but not all that crazy either.  They have the defense to do it, but unless an offense that has been everything but impressive this season improves, I wouldn't expect it to happen.

Prediction: So who is going to be playing for the Big 12 title when all the dust has settled?  It's a good question, and one that isn't all that easy to answer.  Every team that remains in contention has question marks and some tough games remaining on its schedule.

Still, when it's all said and done I think Oklahoma and Missouri will meet at Jerryworld in December, though I don't think either team will get there without a blemish on its record.  As for who wins, I'll go with Oklahoma as I believe they have more weapons on offense with Landry Jones, Ryan Broyles and Demarco Murray.
Posted on: October 17, 2010 8:43 pm
Edited on: October 17, 2010 9:20 pm
 

BCS rankings bad news for Boise State

Posted by Adam Jacobi

The BCS rankings were just released on ESPN, and seeing Boise State at No. 3 is, at this point, trouble for the Broncos.

What's important to note here is that the BCS standings are, for the most part, resume rankings, and unlike teams in the power conferences, the cream of Boise's resume is done. Yes, the Broncos play in the WAC, but they've only played two of those eight games against that WAC competition thus far. Meanwhile, cupcake non-conference schedules are still being more heavily considered than conference games at this point in the season.

In other words, Boise State's not going to make its case on the field any better than it already has from here on out.

Now, this isn't to say that Boise State's chances are completely doomed; far from it. The Broncos are still ranked third in the BCS rankings, and there isn't much chance of them dropping any games and submarining their title chances from here until the end of the season. If Oregon or Oklahoma lose, the Broncos are in decent position. Their problem is that if teams like Auburn or LSU go undefeated, those teams are basically locks to pass Boise State -- and TCU's certainly not out of the picture, with its high-profile Mountain West Conference schedule still yet to come.

Still, though, the fact remains that Ohio State, Alabama, and Nebraska have all lost, and Boise State still needs help to get into the title game. That's not good news for the Bronco faithful in Idaho tonight.

Posted on: October 17, 2010 3:14 am
 

What I learned from the Pac-10 (Oct. 16)

Posted by Adam Jacobi

1. Oh, right, USC. That team with an embarrassment of riches. Them. It's easy (and not altogether unwise) to forget sometimes based on their on-field "exploits," but the USC Trojans still have a ton of talent. They don't have a ton of experience and they're with a brand-new coach, but still: these guys have some innate physical advantages. Take Matt Barkley, for example. The 5-star recruit had a rough freshman campaign last season with 15 touchdowns and 14 picks, but, y'know, he's still a former 5-star recruit. And he flashed that talent in a big way today with a 25-37, 352 yard, five-touchdown, zero-interception performance against Cal in a 48-14 whipping. Even with the reserves seeing plenty of garbage time, the Trojans still racked up 32 first downs, 602 total yards, and 5.9 yards per rush. And this is against a Cal defense that held UCLA to seven points and Arizona to 10 in their two prior games (yes, 52 to Nevada prior to that, but hey). USC isn't allowed to go to a bowl, and its scholarship restrictions are going to sting for years, but every now and then these Trojans are going to lay waste to mediocre opponents. This was one of those weeks.

2. Jake Locker is here, and not a moment too soon. Washington QB Jake Locker, the much-ballyhooed freshman of three years ago, is a senior now, and whether through lousy luck with injuries, insufficient surrounding talent, or poor play of his own, he hasn't really lived up to his high expectations for any sustained amount of time. Again, not completely his fault, but it's true. To Locker's credit, he's kept his head down and stayed at the task of improving this whole time, and he was rewarded today with a five-touchdown performance in Washington's 35-34 overtime win over Oregon State. Locker made some gorgeous throws today, and the memories of his ghastly 4-20 performance against Nebraska just four weeks ago seemed much further away today. Locker wasn't perfect, and his fourth-quarter fumble in Beaver territory killed the Huskies' most promising shot at a game-winning score in regulation, but still: five touchdowns. 

3. Meanwhile, bravery and stupidity are not mutually exclusive. After seeing his team match Washington's touchdown in the second overtime, Oregon State coach Mike Riley made the commendable decision to go for the win right then and there, to tell his team that victory was only three yards away. Curiously, though, Riley declined to dial the number of Jacquizz Rodgers, who had played like a man possessed up to that point with 189 total yards and four touchdowns up to that point -- including three rushing scores from within six yards. No, Riley called on his sophomore quarterback Ryan Katz, who tried to connect with tight end Joe Halahuni on the conversion. The ball slipped through Halahuni's hands before falling harmlessly incomplete, and that was that. Now, going for two was a bold, mansome decision, but not giving the ball to Rodgers even if the defense was expecting it (much as they had for the entire game thus far) doesn't put Oregon State in the best position to succeed, and for that Oregon State now has a loss instead of a win.

4. Is Matt Scott better than last season? We're about to find out. There wasn't a whole lot to take away from each team's performance in Arizona's 24-7 win over Washington State; the Huskies are improving but still not very good, but we already knew that. The real news is that Arizona's star QB Nick Foles injured his knee after getting rolled into early in the second quarter. Early indications are that it's a dislocated kneecap, which sounds far worse than it is; Matt Barkley suffered the same injury last season, and he was practicing after a week or two. Mike Stoops told reporters he expected Foles to miss two to three weeks. If true, that's rough news for the Wildcats, who will face Washington, UCLA, and Stanford in their next three games. Backup Matt Scott came in for Foles, but he's the guy who was benched for Foles after three games last season for ineffective play. He sure didn't do much for Arizona against Washington State, and there's no guarantee he can put up points against some of the Pac-10's better defenses. For the sake of everybody on the Wildcats, let's hope Scott can put together some good games in Foles's absence, because it's incredibly disheartening to see a team's shot at a conference crown go south on account of one key injury.

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Posted on: October 16, 2010 11:02 pm
 

What I learned from the Big 12 (Oct. 16)

Posted by Tom Fornelli

1. T-Magic has a lot of tricks left to learn.   Seems somebody left their top hat and magic wand back in the dorm room this morning, because Taylor Martinez had no answer for the Texas defense in Lincoln on Saturday.  Martinez only had 21 yards on 13 carries and had completed 4-of-12 passes for 63 yards before getting yanked by Bo Pelini in favor of Zac Lee.  The good news for Martinez is that Lee didn't exactly do anything to take away his starting job. 

2. Texas' defense is still pretty good, the offense, however, is not.
  Hey, listen, the way things have gone for the Longhorns this season, they have no reason not to be thrilled after picking up a big win on the road against Nebraska.   That being said, unless they start picking things up on offense, whatever slim hopes they have of winning the Big 12 are nothing more than a pipe dream.  The good news is that the 'Horns finally found some semblance of a running game, as they did gash a stout Nebraska defense for 209 yards on the ground.  The biggest surprise being Garrett Gilbert 's 71 yards and two touchdowns.  Still, that 4-of-16 passes for 62 yards needs a lot of work.

3. I still don't know what to make of Missouri.   I made a comment about this on Twitter on Saturday afternoon, and caught a lot of flak from Missouri fans over it.  Listen, I don't think Missouri is a bad football team, it's just I don't know how good they are.  I'm sorry, but beating Texas A&M just doesn't impress me all that much because the Aggies are horrible.  So far the Tigers most impressive win is against an Illinois team that is 3-3.  Other than that it's wins against teams like McNeese State, San Diego State and Miami (OH).   Next week's date with Oklahoma will give us all a better idea of how good this Missouri team actually is.

4. Jerrod Johnson just isn't working.
  It's time for a quarterback change in College Station.  I don't care what Johnson has done in the past, or what everybody thought he'd do this season, the fact is the kid has played horribly.  Maybe Mike Sherman is just worried about losing his job and doesn't want to give the ball to another quarterback at this point in the season, but trust me, staying with Johnson at this point is only going to help ensure he's out of work at the end of the season.

5. More people need to learn about Justin Blackmon.  The Oklahoma State wide receiver has been a monster this season, and his name should be thrown out there when it comes to Heisman talk.  He has 48 catches for 748 yards and 11 touchdowns this season, including a 10-reception 207-yard performance against Texas Tech on Saturday.  His worst game of the season (yardage wise) came in the Cowboys' opener.  Blackmon only had 8 catches for 125 yards and 3 touchdowns that day.
Posted on: October 16, 2010 7:45 pm
 

Martinez pulled as Nebraska falls to Texas 20-13

Posted by Chip Patterson

Texas has fallen out of polls and off of many lists for Big 12 contenders, but as history has shown us, the Longhorns will always have a chance against Nebraska.  The cross-divisional rivalry held the final chapter on Saturday, and Texas gets the last laugh.  Again.

Around Lincoln, this was expected to be a revenge game.  Getting Texas back for a Big 12 Championship the Huskers believe was taken from them.  Students wore shirts that read "REDemption" and had an image of ":01" to represent the one second placed back on the clock for Texas to kick the game winning field goal.  But the fifth-ranked Nebraska offense had not seen a defense of Texas' caliber yet this season.  

After carving up defenses for an average of 337 rushing yards per game, Nebraska was held to just 125 yards rushing by the swarming Texas defense.  Nebraska quarterback Taylor Martinez has impressed everyone with his ability to burn defenses on the ground, but the true freshman looked overwhelmed and out of place against the Longhorns.  After two and a half quarters that only produced 63 yards through the air and a season-low 21 yards on the ground, Martinez was sent to the pine in favor of backup Zac Lee.  Lee helped orchestrate a touchdown drive in the fourth quarter to pull Nebraska within a touchdown, but Garrett Gilbert and the Longhorns were able to hold on for the win.

One thing we did learn is that Nebraska is not as good as we believed.  The big numbers and highlights were so impressive, we mistakenly ignored the identity of their opponents.  One game does not mean that Nebraska's Big 12 title hopes are trashed, but it did reveal weaknesses that need to fixed before they are exploited again.

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