Monday, September 03, 2007

Weasels Implode while Trojans Idle

As you look around college football, Nebraska's 52-10 victory over Nevada starts looking better and better. Yeah, it's only one game. Yeah, we don't know how good Nevada is (or isn't). But a lot of teams would sure like to be where the Huskers are right now. Let's start in Ann Arbor, where Weasel fans are thoroughly embarrased by their loss to Appalachian State. The MgoBlog spent most of the weekend draped in pink and displaying kittens, and now plans to spend the rest of the week "crying like little girls". The MichiganZone blog, meanwhile, is watching their season and expectations burst into flames like the Hindenberg.

Husker fans probably should pause briefly before chuckling at the Weasels, remembering that 1-AA Maine pulled within one score of the Huskers 2 years ago. That's a little better than trailing a 1-AA team by two scores much of the second half. Fortunately for Weasel fans, most college football fans could only watch highlights since the game was only televised on DirecTV by the Big Ten Network. I was able to catch part of a replay of the game yesterday and came away impressed with both the Big Ten Network and Appalachian State. The Mountaineer victory was no fluke; they outplayed the Weasels. And the Big Ten Network broadcast was better than just about every FSN broadcast of college football. (Better announcers, better graphics, better camera work, better production.) Of course, with the money they are trying to charge cable companies, they'd better be putting together a pretty good broadcast.

Back to Appalachian State, they almost made a huge tactical error by kicking the winning field goal with 30 seconds left. Like Florida State in the 1994 Orange Bowl, they left enough time to allow the other team to throw a long pass to get into field goal range. I'd hate to be on the Michigoon field goal unit after allowing two field goal attempts to be blocked by the Mountaineers...

Other teams that laid eggs were Texas and USC. The Longhorns 21-13 victory over Arkansas State of the Sun Belt Conference has Burnt Orange fans unhappy with all aspects of the game. And after getting off to a fast start, the Trojans spent much of late Saturday night in neutral. Rule number 1 in college football is that you shouldn't read too much into opening games.

However, that being said, the idea that there are two "automatic losses" on the Husker schedule is certainly not as strong as it looked before. For as bad or mediocre that some teams looked, Nebraska looked pretty darned good in the second half Saturday afternoon.

Meanwhile, Wake Forest QB Riley Skinner suffered a separated shoulder on Saturday against Boston College and is doubtful to play against the Huskers. Before getting too excited, Brett Hodges went 17 for 23 for 130 yards in relief of Skinner.

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