H U S K E R D A N
LONGHORN LONG SHOT
That the Texas Longhorns and the Nebraska Cornhuskers are meeting this Saturday
night at Cowboy Stadium in Arlington, Texas for the Big 12 Championship
should not come as a big surprise to most Husker fans. Many predicted before
the season that these two teams would be meeting for the conference title.
A NIGHT OF STARS
Adding to the allure of Saturday night's championship game is that it will
showcase this year's Big 12 Offensive Player of the Year (and Heisman candidate),
Texas' Colt McCoy, and the Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year, Nebraska's
Ndamukong Suh. And the unbeaten and third ranked Longhorns are coached by
the Big 12 Coach of the Year, Mack Brown.
Texas has been on a mission this season to avenge what they believe was
a raw deal handed to them last year. If you'll recall, Texas, despite its
win over Oklahoma earlier in the season and despite tying the Sooners for
the South Division title, were kept out of the championship game. The reason
is because of a Big 12 rule that says that in the case of a tie, the bid
goes to the higher ranked team at the time the championship game is played.
And in the case of last year's game, the Sooners got the nod.
In short, the 'Horns will be coming to the Jerry Dome Saturday night with
something to prove. And throw in that Longhorn quarterback Colt McCoy is
on the short list for the Heisman trophy. If Colt has a great game, he has
a very good chance of becoming the 2009 winner.
The Huskers, on the other hand, don't have nearly as much at stake. Suh
isn't going to win the Heisman even if he has 20 sacks, and intercepts 5
passes for TDs. And if the Huskers lose-even in a blowout-most Husker fans
are not going to be too crushed. After all, the Huskers haven't even played
in the conference title game since 2006 when the Huskers lost to Oklahoma
21-7 at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City.
ELEVEN ALWAYS WAS MY LUCKY NUMBER
Sure, a win for the Huskers would be huge. It would give Bo and the Huskers
a 10 win season, no matter what happens in the bowl game. It would also
enable the Huskers to play in a BCS bowl game in Bo's second year as the
Husker head coach. And with 10 wins, comes a chance for an 11-3 season.
Not bad. Not bad at all.
If the Huskers could go on a 2-0 run to finish the season, it would be an
amazing coaching performance by Bo and his staff.
NOW'S THE TIME
All the pressure will be on the Longhorns to not only win (and if they do,
they'd play the SEC champion-either Florida or Alabama) for the national
title, but they need to win impressively. This is Colt McCoy's last year
and Mack Brown and his 'Horns know that if they don't get to the NC game
this year, it could be several years before they are in a similar position.
COLT'S A PISTOL
Think about this. Colt is a great player. As a senior, he's seen just about
everything from opposing defenses. He can run and throw. He's a tough kid.
Clearly, he's the best quarterback the Huskers will have faced this season.
And Colt is far from a one man show. He is surrounded by a cast of very
talented players, including a stifling defense.
Everyone knows the Achilles' heel of the Nebraska football team is its offense.
The Longhorn defense should stack up very well against the Husker "O".
Texas will blitz qb Zac Lee and try to get him rattled early (Colorado did
it last Friday). If Texas can shut down the run and force Zac to beat them
with his arm, it could be a very long night for Nebraska.
ONCE UPON A TIME
If these two teams played 10 times, the 'Horns would likely win 9 of them.
But Nebraska doesn't need to beat them 9 times or even two times. They need
to win just once. The Jerry Dome is technically a neutral field, but the
game is being played in the state of Texas.
What could help the Huskers Saturday night is for the huge contingency of
Husker fans who live in an around Dallas to show up and cheer for the Big
Red. Nebraska is going to need all the help they can get.
In 1996, the Big Twelve's first conference championship game that was played
in St. Louis that year, these same two teams met. That year, the Huskers
were the defending national champions and were a big favorite to beat John
Mackovic's Longhorn team.
But as everyone knows, the Huskers, reeling from the flu that hit the team
that week, lost to the 'Horns 37-27.
What this game boils down to is that Texas has everything to lose while
the Huskers don't have much to lose. The pressure will be sky high for the
JUST WIN, BABY
Know this. Bo Pelini is not going to Arlington this weekend just to look
good or keep the game close. He's going there to win the damn game. And
he'll have his team believing they can do just that. Do not sell Pelini
short. Do not count him out. This is one competitive head coach who will
do everything he can to win.
Unlike last year when most Husker fans were glad the Huskers didn't have
to endure a rematch with Oklahoma in the Big 12 championship game, this
year things are different. The Huskers have one of the nation's best defenses
and with a great defense, anything is possible.
HUSKER ELVISES BROTHERS AND SISTERS
One of the Husker Elvises, Larry Brew, sent me these pictures of Larry and
his brother Gerry posing with the sisters of Husker DT Ndamukong Suh and
quarterback Cody Green during the half-time of last Friday's Husker game
The other photo is of the Elvises with William Washington, former Husker
tight end ('89-'92).
comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.
For past Husker Dan columns, click here.
PLEASE VISIT OUR SPONSORS