Saturday, October 28, 2006
The State of Nebraska Football
Nebraska's true dominance started in 1970, playing in the Big 8. What did this mean? Well, simply, it meant if the Huskers got through the non-conference all they had to do was beat Oklahoma (really, it was the only team that could recruit the same caliber athletes as Nebraska) and all would be right in the world. So, nearly every season, Husker fans got either 9-2 or 10-1 and a bowl season.
They were only players on the national stage when they had "Sunday" players -- guys who went on to the NFL. It's true with the 1970-71 teams and it's valid for the "Scoring Explosion" teams and, finally, for the Osborne title teams. They all had Sunday talent.
Osborne's teams were much the same. 9-2, 10-1 take the bowl. Success. The fact remained that until Colorado emerged as another player, the Big 8 was brutal with a capital B save for the Huskers and either the Sooners or Colorado. It was nearly impossible not to win nine football games.
This Big 12 deal has changed everything. First, if you win the North, your about the fifth best team in the league. That's a fact for the last four years, at least. Texas, Oklahoma, Tech are all better than the North some years you could mix in A&M.
What does this all mean? Husker fans may need to realize that until some Sunday talent gets to Lincoln it's going to be tough sledding at Memorial Stadium. And, how does this relate to Oklahoma State today? Like it or not those were two evenly matched teams. The Cowboys are growing under Mike Gundy and will continue to do so. Les Miles didn't leave that cupboard empty and the Bowman kid will be a Sunday player.
Basically, the Huskers were evenly matched with what most believe to be the fifth best team in the South. Missouri has already lost to A&M and Oklahoma, and the Huskers have a little 0-2 South season going as well. Sure this goes in cycles (NU, K-State and Colorado were all very good at the same time), but Callahan was right to say today in his post-game comments that they still have the goals they set at the beginning of the year in front of them.
That's right, Bill you do. To win the North and be the sixth best team in the Big 12. Is this what Steve Pederson really had in mind?