Not since the Ringling Brothers Circus left town have we seen so many tricks and pratfalls as we saw in today's Nebraska-Colorado game. Frankly, as Tierre Green sprinted to a first down, I had reached my limit of trick plays, as the gags were wearing thin as the miscues and breakdowns in fundamentals mounted.
Watching highlights a few minutes ago, I can see how the Green run was set up by play calls earlier this year where Nebraska tried to draw the defense offside. In this light, it was a great call.
Likewise, the Joe Ganz touchdown pass to Barry Turner was also a creative play, set up originally by the final extra point against Oklahoma State. I'm surprised that the Puffs (or at least their coaching staff) didn't recognize that Ganz was the "kicker" instead of Jordan Congdon, nor did they seem to recognize the "high school" formation where the offensive line lines up away from the ball, with only the center, holder, and kicker (Ganz) in a traditional formation. Still not exactly sure where Barry Turner lined up; the replay I saw indicated he was hanging around on the far sideline.
So why the frustration? Well, when you see the I-back pass called for the third time in the game, and on the last one, the Huskers MVP QB gets blasted, you start questioning the sanity of it all. On top of that, add in the frustration of unforced penalties occuring over and over on offense and horrible, horrible tackling on defense, you get the feeling that perhaps Nebraska spent way too much time on gadget plays compared to the rest of the game plan. Even Bill Callahan had to shush the Husker Information Minister in the post-game radio interview from pumping too much sunshine on this win.
I think fans recognize that the Huskers were a little too sloppy and a little too gimmicky today; it was eerily quiet outside the stadium and the internet also seems rather quiet as well, especially considering the postgame trophy celebration. (I don't remember ever seeing a conference trophy presentation "ceremony" before, let alone a division trophy presentation.)
That takes us to next week's Big XII Championship game...and the big surprise of the day is that the opponent might not be Texas after all. After the snowy game in October, I recalled that the last time we expected a rematch (in 2001), it didn't materialize after upsets. And while Nebraska avoided the upset, the Bovines weren't so lucky. Now, if Oklahoma can hold off Oklahoma State tomorrow, the Sooners will get another trip to Kansas City.
Which sets up quite a quandry for Husker fans. On one hand, Nebraska playing Oklahoma for the conference championship just feels oh-so-right, even if the game is a week after Thanksgiving. Could we get the old diamond Big 8 logo painted on the field at Arrowhead?
But on the other hand, if Okie State can upset the Sooners, Tejas would back into the conference championship game on a 2 game losing streak. Colt McCoy was knocked out of the Kansas State game early with a neck injury, and struggled today against the Aggies, throwing 3 interceptions before getting carted of the field on a stretcher after suffering another neck injury today. You would have to like the Huskers chances in this game with the prospect of McCoy either being unavailable or hampered again.