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 soldier_returns (32K)

When you are saying your Thanksgiving blessings this Thursday, be sure to include our men and women serving in the armed services in your prayers. They are the real American heroes. God bless every one of them! — Husker Dan
Call it what you want, but Nebraska's struggling offense, coupled with the zebras' penchant for calling penalties on any team with a red "N" on a white helmet and you had the makings of one of the most bizarre games in Husker football history.

In fact, the 16 flags thrown on Nebraska Saturday night in College Station, Texas, established a new record for futility for Nebraska. The Huskers had more penalty yards (145) than rushing yards (142) – and this from the Big 12's #1 rushing offense.

Is there a conspiracy against the Big Red in this, the final season for Nebraska as a member of the Big 12 Conference? Are the Bo Pelini meltdowns now coming home to roost as the season winds down?

Usually, I don't believe in conspiracy theories. But in the Texas A&M game Saturday night, even Aggie fans felt sorry for the Huskers, especially after Courtney Osborne's 15-yard penalty for a late hit on A&M QB Ryan Tannehill on a fourth quarter, third-down incompletion. The flag enabled the Aggies to get in position late in the game to kick the winning field goal.

I don't care how you purse this one, Osborne's penalty was the game. And the official who called it undoubtedly knew it.

The only question is, why was the penalty called? Was it because Pelini had been yelling at the officials most of the night (and most of the season)? Was it because the officials were taking a personal vendetta against Nebraska for nearly breaking up the Big 12 Conference? Or, did the officials really think Nebraska deserved all 16 penalties?

Maybe, just maybe it's all the above. To be sure, about half the calls were warranted. But what about the other eight?

There should be little doubt that for the better part of three years, Bo Pelini has earned a reputation for verbally abusing game officials. If you think refs always make calls based solely on intention, you don't know much about human nature.

It's like leaking off a clerk at the DMV. Treat them poorly and they can make your life difficult. And the Big 12 officials don't make anywhere near the money the Bo Pelinis of the world make, but at the end of the day, they can have a great impact on which teams win. And what a better target than the head coach of the football program that many people think nearly killed the Big 12 Conference? Think of that. These officials could have been out of jobs had the conference folded.

And what would the fallout be if they did make calls to punish Nebraska? Shoot, the football season is almost over, so what is there to lose? Who cares? Nebraska is history.

To be sure, one of the things Husker fans like about Bo Pelini is his passion for the game of college football. And considering where Nebraska's defense was a short three years ago, it's easy to see why Husker fans have embraced Pelini. Fans also appreciate that he stands up for his players, and as we saw Saturday night, almost to a fault.

But Bo's meltdowns may have reached the point of diminishing returns. Officials talk amongst themselves. They warn their fellow refs about coaches like Bo Pelini. The tell them not to put up with any b.s. that someone like Pelini dishes out.

Was the flag thrown on Osborne late in the game intended to get back at Pelini? Again, look at human nature.

Bo needs to realize that his outbursts are considered even by longtime, loyal, money-contributing Husker fans as boorish. Many who have contacted me are embarrassed for the Nebraska football program. Embarrassed by what they saw from their head coach Saturday night.

I've been around Husker football since 1962 and I've never seen people as upset as I've seen them in the aftermath of Saturday's game.

Bo needs to understand that whenever he's in public, he represents not only the Husker football program, but the University, the state of Nebraska and Husker Pride Worldwide. Husker players get similar notices each year.

Bo was contrite in Monday's press conference, admitting he was wrong and promising that such meltdowns won't happen again. And many Husker fans would like to believe it, but sadly, most don't buy it.

No one doubts Bo's ability to coach the game of football, especially when it comes to defense, but his outbursts are starting to wear thin.

As a recovering Type A aggressive driver, I changed about five years ago after taking a driving class, the result of yet another speeding ticket. But through the years, I've been to several such schools. It finally took a great instructor to get through my thick skull that what I was doing not only was dangerous, it was foolish and immature.

Until Bo reaches that same realization, his behavior is not apt to change. I believe he can change. I'm an optimist. To me the glass is half full. Bo, it's up to you to fill it.

zac (61K)
Larry Brew of The Husker Elvises sent me the picture of him and former Husker QB Zac Taylor taken last Friday in College Station. Zac took Larry on a tour of the Aggies' athletic facilities. And Husker fans remember that it was Zac who engineered a last-minute comeback win over Texas A&M in 2006 to clinch the Big 12 North title. Zac was a class act who always gave everything he had when he played for the Big Red. Best wishes from all of us, Zac!

So much for my prediction about the A&M game. With the status of Husker QB Taylor Martinez still unknown, it's really hard to get a handle on this game. Win, and the Huskers are playing for the Big 12 championship, December 4th in Dallas. Lose, and with a Missouri win this weekend over Kansas, the Tigers will be traveling to Dallas.

I don't know which teams will show up Friday in Lincoln. The Buffaloes are on a two-game win streak, while the Huskers have struggled in their last three games, going 2-1. It doesn't seem to matter what the two teams have done prior to their annual showdown, but often in Lincoln, the Huskers have struggled. Both teams have a lot to play for: Nebraska, the Big 12 North, and for Colorado, a chance to play in a bowl game.

At the end of the day, the Huskers have much more on the line. It'll be senior day and this writer thinks the Huskers will prevail.

CU 21

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