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R E D    C L A D    L O O N

LOON DROPPINGS, Vol. 5:
Nebraska 49, Iowa State 27
10/7/00

Anyone who watches the TV news knows that meteorology is an inexact science at best. This was never more evident than while watching Nebraska's win over Ames College on Saturday. All week, the all-knowing football forecasters around the country were issuing all sorts of Cyclone warnings. ISU huffed and puffed and did their best to whip up a win -- but NU weathered the storm, then turned in a whirlwind final stanza that blew away all the pregame spin. As a result, NU still reigns.

A few takes:

TAKING AMES: By now, it's pretty clear that the Cornhuskers have a pretty decent offensive unit. Even ABC's effeminate broadcasting duo, which sounded more equipped to cover ice skating than a college football game, was able to muster that profound piece of insight. The evidence -- Eric The Red's 300-plus total yards, D-Ax's punishing runs, C-Buck's timely scores, and Little Wistrom's sweet snags -- was everywhere Saturday. And late in the game, the Big Red replaced its backfield thunder with a little lightning, when the speedy Dahrran Diedrick ran away from Cyclone defenders faster than Mack Brown did from Hawaii. Perhaps it's time to see what No. 30 can do with the first team.

ONCE, TWICE, THREE TIMES A MALADY: In a new ESPN commercial, Tom Jackson is shown discussing three things that make his network's football coverage better than the others. When he counts those reasons, the numerically-challenged Jackson indexes them as "one," "two," and "four." Always looking for that extra edge, Frank Solich now wants to hire Tom to run the Dial-A-Down whenever NU is on defense. That way he'll always skip third down. Yeesh, so far this season, the only time Nebraska defenders experience three stops in a row is when they're driving in downtown Lincoln. Is it just a coinky-dink that opponents' big plays always rear their ugly head on third down? Or, as the School House Rock song goes, is three just a magic number?

CHENEY GANG: Here's one worth debating. The Grand Ole Party's vice-presidential candidate, Dick "W." Cheney, showed up at Saturday's game hawking for votes. As a former Secretary of Defense, Dick probably didn't enjoy seeing all the offensive numbers put up by both teams -- particularly the 500 yards run up by the Mighty Husker Offense. It is paramount that The Pond remains an apolitical sanctum sanctorum for Cornhusker fans, but I feel it is my patriotic duty to report that the potential Veep, who was being escorted around the so-called "battleground" Hawkeye State by Sen. Chuck Grassley, did mention that he was pulling for ISU. For this reason I now expect Gore to rout Dubya in Nebraska in one month.

BUM STEERS: Speaking of goofy Texans, it appears once again that the fire in the Longhorns' belly this year was just gas. Oklahoma, who suddenly looks First-Degree Crazy-Scary-Good, unleashed a blitzkrieg attack that made all of Mack Brown's uber-recruits wish they were still looking forward to the senior prom. Word was that at halftime, Brown was on the phone to the members of his 2001 recruiting class, still promising they can start right away at UT. In fact, he was imploring them to drive down to the Cotton Bowl immediately, and they could suit up for the Whorns right then and there. One of these years, we'll all wise up and quit biting on the Horns' Dallas-based propaganda. But when it comes to Oklahoma, you can definitely believe the Heupel.

CANES ARE ABLE: Also in the Aw-Shucks-Ain't-That-A-Shame Dept., Miami's Hurricanes held off Poppa Bowden and the sportswriters' darlings by forcing yet another Wide Right in the Orange Bowl. Seminole fans are already blaming FSU's loss on Chris Weinke's injured foot, but they should know you risk the possibility of osteoperosis when you go with such an, um, mature quarterback. It went against every red-clad iota of my being to muster a cheer for Miami, crusher of Husker hopes for more than a decade, but it was particularly satisfying to see the Noles get knocked off their lofty perch. But you know the Noles will still be in the thick of things by the end of the year -- they keep coming back, like bad breath.

THE BOTTOM LINE: Here's a question: Who is buried in Grant's tomb? OK, here's another one: How many teams are there in the Big 12? If you said a dozen, you're technically right, but a look at the on-the-field results thus far may have some people doing some recalculating. It looks like the old Big 8 is still great -- while Oklahoma was blowing Texas' horns, the Artists Formerly Known as Colorado were halting A&M's 22-game home win streak. Next week we should have an idea of how good both Kansas State and OU really are as they face off in Manhattan. Meanwhile, the Glorious Cornhuskers will tackle Texas Tech, the only SWC import that was able to snatch an in-conference win this weekend -- and that was only because they played shameful Baylor. By the look of Tech's offensive strategy, the folks from Lubbock are trying to copy the blueprint from the guys in Norman. But Crouch & Co. are still the Big 12's best prototype. Nebraska 44, Texas Tech 21.

==STEVE==
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