Lee Barfknecht of the Omaha Daily writes a critical look at the state of the Husker program in yesterday's paper. Barfknecht doesn't dispute the position of Steve Pederson and Harvey Perlman that the program was "tired"; heck, Barfknecht wrote scathing articles about Frank Solich's recruiting. My favorite was when he raved about Colorado's freshmen Craig Ochs and Marcus Houston in 2000, and how Nebraska would fear them for years to come. Oops.
But Barfknecht does raise some valid points:
- Winning the Big XII North title isn't exactly a great accomplishment. Since Kansas State won the North (and then beat the latest "greatest team ever" for the conference title) in 2003, the Big XII North has been one of the worst divisions of any BCS conference. Certainly Nebraska has been the most talented team in the division the last few years.
- If 2003's 9-3 record wasn't very impressive (thus sayeth Harvey Perlman), how does 2006 shape up?
- Bill Callahan is 11-11 in Big XII play during the league's worst down cycle, playing in the worst division in the conference.
Callahan's prized 2005 recruiting class has already lost 8 players (including several of the blue-chippers), and Callahan's 2006 class was only #20. The 2007 class is currently rated #26.
Beating Missouri is good. But if Nebraska truly wants to show improvement, games like Oklahoma State need to become bad, distant memories, not recurring attractions.
I'm surprised more people haven't discused Gary Pinkel's brain damaged timeout following Chase Daniel's 4th quarter completion despite being sacked by Bo Ruud. The official's blew the call originally, and fans and the Husker coaches were protesting the call. Why in the world would you call timeout and give the refs time to review the play? You could easily see from the sideline that the call was questionable, and that letting the play get reviewed would cost the Tigers 15 to 20 yards. So why not get to the line quickly and get a play called. Time was running short for the Tigers, and 4th and 7 is much better than 4th and 23. Not to mention wasting a timeout. Heck, if Missouri would have raced to the line, there was a good chance that Nebraska would have been forced to challenge the play... As it was, the timeout gave Bill Callahan time to plead his case and then give the replay official in the booth time to look the play over.