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H U S K E R    D A N
By now, you know that all the so-called football "experts" are predicting a loss for the Huskers as they play at Southern California this Saturday night.  The only uncertainty, they say, is just how bad the Huskers will lose. 
To be sure, Nebraska comes into the game a 19 point underdog, so it's easy to see why no one is picking the Huskers.  According to the "experts", the Condoms have way too much talent for the Huskers.  Their 6'5" wide-outs will have a field day with our small corners, they say.   And as a result, the mismatch will be too much for our little Huskers. 
The "experts" are also quick to point out that the Condoms have won 46 of their last 48 games and haven't lost at home since September 29, 2001 when they dropped a game to the Stanford Cardinal, 16-21.  They'll also note that the Condoms have had the top ranked recruiting classes 3 of the past 4 years and had 11 players from last year's team taken in this year's NFL draft.  And, to boot, the Condoms have produced three out of the last 4 Heisman winners and have played in the last three national championship games, winning two of them.
That's some heavy stuff.
Okay, so include me with those who wish Andre Jones had kept his mouth shut this week in his "guaranteeing" a Husker victory this Saturday.  We all admire his confidence, but dude, in the future, let your actions speak for you.  Words are cheap, cheap, cheap.
Last year, there were many times when the Huskers found themselves down-at home with the 'Clones, Texas Tech (by 21 points in the first half), Oklahoma and late in the game with Michigan in the Alamo Bowl.  Every time the Huskers got down, they got back up.  Zac Taylor was (and still is) the poster boy for the resolve of this football team. 
The Huskers seem to have developed a blue collar mentality this season.  They roll up their sleeves and take care of business.  The Huskers are benefiting this year from having much better talent, greater depth, more experience and a higher level of confidence than they had last year.  And missing so far this year are the stupid and costly turnovers, penalties and sacks that derailed far too many Husker drives last year.
Those who don't like the Huskers' chances this Saturday are quick to point out that the Huskers beating up on two weak sisters doesn't prove anything-the wins are virtually meaningless.
Maybe so, but tell me what else the Huskers could have done with La. Tech and Nicholls State?  The Huskers thrashed both of them (as they should have), were able to bench the starters and had the luxury of playing almost everyone who suited up for those games.
I don't understand why everyone seems to be going ga-ga over the Condoms' season opening road win over the Razorbacks nearly two weeks ago.  It just doesn't add up.
In my view, the Huskers will not be intimidated by the aura of playing in a game of this magnitude.  Bill Callahan, Jay Norvell, Randy Jordan and John Blake have all coached in Super Bowls.  The Husker staff will have a calming effect on the Husker players.  Make no mistake about it, the coaches are telling these kids that if they execute the game plan, play up to their ability, they will win Saturday night.   They will shock the football world, but they won't shock themselves.
In my view, the Huskers, by playing last week will be better off than the Trojans, who were idle, even though Southern Cal will have had an extra week to prepare for the Huskers. 
Last year before the Alamo Bowl, I predicted a Husker win.  Many of you wrote suggesting that I was either on drugs or in dire need of some psychiatric help.  To be sure, out of 36 prominent football writers polled prior to that game, only two-Steve Greensburg of TSN and Chris Dufresne of the L.A Times picked the Huskers to win that game.  So I expect more letters this week questioning my sanity.
Last year before the Alamo Bowl, I had the opportunity to visit with Steve Octavien.  Steve made a very interesting comment regarding what he thought about the Huskers this year.  "We're going to have a great team next year," he said, emphasizing, "great".  That his prediction was unsolicited made his words even more noteworthy.
"In order to be best," Coach Callahan says, "you have to beat the best."  For now, Southern California is the premier program in the country.  Huskers win a thriller.  Don't forget, you heard it hear first.  Remember:
"Trojans Burst Under Pressure".
HUSKERS            35
CONDOMS                                                     31
Thanks to my beautiful grandson, Will, for providing this week's scoreboard for the Nicholls State game.  Look for Will to appear in this column after each Husker game.  And yes, his grandpa loves him to pieces!
Readers:  The following is a thank you letter that Gary McGirr sent to Betty in Lincoln, California.  Gary is with the Northeast Kansans for Nebraska alumni group, based in Topeka, Kansas: 
Dear Betty:
Your gift has allowed us to send out the first box of gifts from the RedZone. Here is a note I received from Major Douglas Bogenhagen in Afghanistan. We want to say think you very much for your support of the troops. We wanted to let you know personally about this shipment and when it was going and where. You were the first Husker to contribute to Husker Dan's army.
The RedZone in Omaha will be sending a box of Husker stuff worth $120.00 or more, to our guys over there.  Each box we send to a unit will contain gifts similar to this one in value.    
Thanks again
Gary McGirr
Northeast Kansans For Nebraska
The following letter is from Major Douglas Bogenhagen:   
Dear Gary:
You guys are incredible. We really need a boost here. We've had a bad week with some of our Afghan soldiers getting killed last week and a near miss for some U.S. soldiers. Football is a great morale booster. You still have my address, right? I'll probably get the first game CD this week.
Major Douglas Bogenhagen

Remember, you can help send Husker Care packages to our men and women who are serving in the military overseas.  For more on how you can join Husker Dan's Army, go to:  http://www.neks4nebraska.org/ 
You may email Husker Dan at huskerdan@cox.net.  For past Husker Dan columns, click here.