There is a lot to say about
what went wrong, but it is getting tiresome saying the same thing. Iowa
State beat Nebraska. Iowa !$%#@&*^ State. Gone are the days of a
three-loss total signifying a throw-away year because we wouldn't be
playing for the National Championship. Now we'll be fighting for that
sixth win, just to get bowl-eligible. And we wondered why this one wasn’t
Throw out the comparisons
to the other members of the six-car pileup that is the Big XII North.
Ignore the relativistic discussions of “But we beat Team X, who
killed Team Y, who in turn gave Team Z a good run for three quarters.”
This team has apparently hit its peak, and that peak is one of severely
painful inconsistency and what has become a sickeningly predictable
tendency for letdowns.
How do diagnose this season?
Imagine telling your mechanic that earlier this fall your car ran well
right out of the garage but inexplicably ran out of gas before reaching
the destination, and it had a tendency to throw critical parts of itself
into the ditch. Then it began to sputter on the highway and seemed terrified
of other vehicles, especially when you were driving out of state. Then
you discovered that it ran well in low gear, and while it wasn’t
giving any Ferraris a run, at least it got you from point A to point
B well enough until you could overhaul the motor next year. And then
just when you were going on a nice, leisurely road trip that should
have offered few speed bumps last Saturday, you go out to the garage
to find the whole fricking thing in pieces, hemorrhaging vital fluids
and puking gaskets right there on the concrete.
Any reasonable mechanic would
place the impact wrench back in the toolbox, reach for the phone and
dial the local exorcist. This Red one is about to suggest the same for
a football team that can’t seem to stay between the ditches. We
can talk about transition years and trade the same clichés. We
can talk about coaching game plan, and the conversation becomes interesting.
We can talk talent level, and it would be a lengthy conversation. Or,
we can speak at length about discipline and intensity, and the expletives
Judging by the previous two
games, it appeared the coaches had mothballed much of the aerial chapters
of the WCO playbook in an attempt to grind out the games with Pork Chop
and Man-Child. To revert to an ineffective passing attack at this point
in the season is difficult to: 1) understand; 2) explain; 3) defend;
4) stomach. In a perfect transition-season world, this would have been
the fine-tuning game before staging a challenge to the other red in
the south. Not so, not now, not this November. Expecting a lot is to
be expected in the Redlands, yet looking at how unexpectedly abysmal
our opponents have been this year, a three-, two- or fewer-loss season
was possible. This season has been a missed opportunity at the least.
Now instead of being hopeful of a postseason ranking, we are instead
quite thankful we’re not in the South.
I would like to make a comment
along the lines of, “If ISU can smack Nebraska around, anything
is possible in Norman.” I won’t. It pains this Red one to
say it, but Oklahoma is going to grab Nebraska by the shoulder pads
and shove us facemask-first into the ground. The Sooners have trouble
defending the pass, but that’s okay, because we have trouble completing
the pass. Pork Chop still will not be full speed by Saturday, and while
Man-Child is a tremendous frosh, he can’t carry a W out of Norman
shouldering the load by himself. Playing the spoiler to OU’s title
run is possible but about as likely as the sun going supernova a few
billion years early. In both cases it sure would look neat, but all
life as we know it would cease.
A likely loss this weekend
will even the numbers at 5-5, but worse, will provide CU with enough
blood in the water to whip themselves into their normal Nebraska Game
frenzy. They would love nothing more than to end NU’s bowl game
streak. I would rather they not have the chance.
Oft expectation fails, and
most oft there
Where most it promises; and oft it hits
Where hope is coldest, and despair most fits. Speak, then.