Tuesday, December 27, 2005

A Tale of Two Programs

About a week after the Alamo Bowl matchup was announced, I was talking to a casual Michigoon fan about the game. She was surprised that I wasn't talking more trash about the matchup, and I responded by being surprised that she wasn't talking more trash.

Seems that there are a lot more similarities in the two programs than just great tradition and history. Both teams underachieved this year, with Michigan starting the season in the top 5 in many polls and Nebraska struggling to become bowl eligibile. Both teams have been hit hard by injuries this season. And both teams have fans that aren't terribly impressed with their leadership.

If you look at both team's seasons before Thanksgiving, you would have to say that this game looks like a Weasel Rout in the making. And yes, Nebraska has lost Bo Ruud to a broken arm, Wali Muhammad to a suspension, and Dontrell Moore to grades to hurt the Blackshirts more.

But, Michigan was initially extremely disappointed to end up in the Alamo Bowl instead of the Outback Bowl. And Nebraska is extremely excited to be in San Antonio after a 5-6 "Home for Christmas" finish was staring them in the face following the Kansas debacle.

Nebraska's performance against Colorado opened a lot of eyes; for the first time in the Bill Callahan era, Nebraska didn't underachieve on both sides of the ball. Does Nebraska have the talent to compete with Michigan? Hard to say, Michigan is the best team Nebraska has faced this season. If Nebraska can continue the momentum they found against the Buffies, they can play with a team like Michigoon. And if Michigoon really doesn't want to be in the Alamo Bowl, Nebraska can make a statement and solidify the programs status. (Remember what happened to Kansas State in 1998 when they missed out on the National Championship game by losing the Big XII Title Game?)

It should be an interesting game. I have no idea how this one is going to turn out; I have thoughts that can explain a 4 touchdown victory by either team. That's what happens when you have 2 talented teams that haven't played that way.

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