Monday, September 15, 2008

Husker Season Gets A Whole Lot Tougher From Here

Now that the "exhibition" part of the schedule is over with, things start getting a little more interesting from here on out. (Some people might argue that "bye" might be as tough of an opponent as New Mexico State.) Certainly, the first three games didn't provide much competition; Sagarin rates the schedule #138 so far. That starts changing next week. Sagarin's computer sure thinks highly of Virginia Tech; they are ranked #11 this week. Missouri is #18, and Texas Tech #19.

But what do we know about the Huskers? Well, not a whole lot, to tell you the truth. They're playing harder, and the coaches can make adjustments during the game. So that's a huge improvement over last year.

ABC selected Virginia Tech/Nebraska to be part of the ABC primetime lineup; that's good and bad. Love the "big game" coverage...but man, does that make the drive home after the game really suck. But really, the important thing about that game is getting our first real impression as to where this program stands in 2008.

There's a lot to like. A fairly diverse offense that can move the ball any number of ways. A much improved defensive line, led by Ndamakong Suh and Zach Potter. Some very talented youngsters in the secondary, such as Eric Hagg and Prince Amakurama. And a surprising linebacker in Cody Glenn, who allegedly couldn't stay healthy while at I-back.

Consistency is going to be the key. We've seen flashes of good play, and stretches of not-so-good play. Problem is that from here on out, there simply isn't any room for error. Virginia Tech looks to be settling on the elusive Tyrod Taylor at quarterback. Missouri is deadly on offense. Texas Tech head coach Mike Leach wasn't impressed with 693 yards against SMU on Saturday night:
"What we've done, quite honestly, for two-and-a-half games, I don't consider acceptable. I don't know at what point we think that we've arrived. This group of quarterbacks and receivers, we haven't done anything impressive."
Will Nebraska emerge from this next three game stretch 3-3 or 6-0? More than likely, somewhere in between. I wish I knew where Nebraska is...but it's purely a crap shoot at this point.

One thing that might be easier to prognasticate is who will televise those games. On October 4th, there are likely five TV windows available: Versus and FSN at 11:30 am, ABC at 2:30 PM, ESPN at 4:30 pm (tentative), and FSN at 6 pm. Here are the games that day: Kansas @ Iowa State, Missouri @ Nebraska, Oklahoma @ Baylor, Texas A&M @ Oklahoma State, Texas Tech @ Kansas State. From my perspective, the Missouri/Nebraska game is the top game of the day, with Tech/K-State close behind. So I expect ABC and ESPN to grab those games.

On October 11th, there are only three or four windows available, with ABC already planning Oklahoma/Texas at 11 am. ESPN will show a 4:30 pm game (time tentative) and FSN will carry a game at 5:30 pm. Will ABC carry a 2:30 game? Here are the candidates: Iowa State @ Baylor, Kansas State @ Texas A&M, Nebraska @ Texas Tech, Oklahoma State @ Missouri, and Colorado @ Kansas. This one's tough, and it might depend on what happens the next couple of weeks. I'll bet that ABC uses one of their 6 day windows on this game to wait and see what happens to Nebraska, Missouri, and Texas Tech the week before.

1 comment:

damon medic said...

Even though the next six games will be a huge challenge, the saying goes, "on any given (Saturday)!