I have yet to write anything about my beloved Nebraska Cornhuskers' first couple games, and with my other team currently marred in seasonal depression disorder, this seems like the perfect time to do so.
The Nebraska Cornhuskers, currently ranked 10th in the poll that matters, are simply overrated.
Lets start out with the one big positive of the season for the Big Red - Taylor Martinez. He's fast again! And he's currently 3rd in the nation in rushing yards. The biggest question coming into this season was whether T-Mart's ineffectiveness over the second half of the 2010 season was actually due to his injured knee/ankle or because of the demons in his head. While you can't say that he's exercised 100% of those demons, it certainly seems like he's back to pre-injury form. The problem now, is that usually when your team's biggest question mark is answered favorably, they're due for a promising season. However, that's not the case with this Nebraska team. Here's why...
- The playmakers are there on offense, but they are all young. WR Jamal Turner made the biggest play of the game last week with a 43 yard reception. Ameer Abdullah took a kick return to the house in what should be his first of many. Super recruits Aaron Green and Braylon Heard have yet to make a big impact, but have serious potential. The good news? All are freshmen. The bad news? It's hard to say if they'll be able to provide enough for the team this season, and the team may not have enough game changers without them.
- The interior offensive line couldn't open holes against Fresno State, to the point where running between the tackles became pointless. That's not a good sign, and is an even worse sign when it comes against a team from the WAC.
- The defensive line has been largely disappointing. Jared Crick has looked alright, but certainly hasn't lived up to the hype of a potential Nagurski Award winner. After appearing to be almost unblockable in the first week, Cameron Meredith's name was hardly called against the Bulldogs. The most worrisome part of the line is their inability to stop the run right now, with even Tennessee Chattanooga ripping off chunks of yardage a couple of times. This must be fixed.
- Bradon Kinnie. Oy.
- The defensive backs look mostly lost out there with Alfonzo Dennard out to injury (although I'm a fan of CB Ciante Evans and S Damion Stafford - he did this). Word on the street is that he'll most likely miss the Washington game this week, but should return soon after. I think they'll be fine without him against the Huskies, but the Blackshirts will need him come Wisconsin.
Now while I expect the defense to improve over the course of the season, I think the offense will remain too one-dimensional with an overdependence on T-Mart running the ball. I'm not sold on offensive coordinator Tim Beck enough to feel confident going up against a good defense this season. Thus, I will stick with my previously unannounced prediction of a 10-2 regular season for this team, with a loss in the Big Ten Championship to the Wisconsin Badgers (we don't need no stinking badgers!). Oh, and the Huskers take out some frustrations on the Huskies this week. Big time.
Nebraska 38, Washington 13
Other games you should care about:
Florida St over Oklahoma - I think the smart bet is on the Sooners, but I gots a feeling! I've also got a theory, the Sooners don't have experience in huge road games because they always play their biggest opponent, Texas, at a neutral site. This leads to their annual disappointing loss on the road. I got Steele Jantz in my pants thinking about this one.
West Virginia over Maryland - Two underrated quarterbacks makes this the Steele Jantz Game of the Week. (Yea I went there twice, did you see that kid last week???)
Ohio St. over Miami - Big. Bounce back effort.
Georgia Tech over Kansas - Closer than the experts think. Turner Gill baby.
Upset Special: Illinois over Arizona St. - Beware of the team going on the road, coming off a huge win at home.
Upset Spectacular - Northern Illinois over Wisconsin - Not picking it, but don't say I didn't warn you.