Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Wednesday Night Beer: Skippy's Upset of Texas Likely Means No Gameday in Lincoln

An unintended casualty of UCLA's blowout of Texas in Austin last weekend is almost assuredly the chance of ESPN's College Gameday returning to Lincoln. ESPN is probably going to be choosing between Madison (Ohio State at Wisconsin) or Lincoln (Texas at Nebraska), and after last weekend, Madison has to be the favorite.  Both the Buckeyes and Badgers are undefeated, and there is a chance that Texas could be bringing a two game losing streak to Lincoln if they can't find a way to defeat Oklahoma this weekend.

What does last week mean for a gametime for the Texas/Nebraska game? Well, an 11 am kickoff is likely out of the running now.  Maybe an evening kickoff on ESPN, but that 2:30 kickoff on ABC is looking better than I thought it would.

I missed the start of last Saturday's Central Florida at Kansas State game, as I had a lawn full of grass that desperately needed mowing.  So when I finally sat down to have lunch and watch some football, I found out I had only missed the first few minutes of the game, thanks to a storm that rolled through. Schools are a little more sensitive to lightning than they used to be, so delays happen from time to time.  I really didn't think much about it until I saw this AP picture of the storm, provided to us by Bring On The Cats.  If I didn't know better, I'd swear that was a Photoshop of a screen image from the movie Independence Day.

The Nighthawks will now have a two-game sellout streak, as this Saturday's game against Sacramento is now sold out. It'll be interesting if they can carry this sellout streak further, as the next two games will be tougher.  A Thursday night game against Las Vegas on October 28th will be the tough one, and the season finale on Friday, November 19 won't be much easier due to the weather.  Even so, two sellouts is impressive.

I won't be at the Nighthawks game on Saturday night; instead, I hope to check out year two of Dean Blais' UNO Mavericks hockey squad.  11 freshmen on the roster means there are lots of new names and faces to look at.  One player that I'm simply curious about is 6'8" defenseman Andrej Sustr; 6'8" sounds like a basketball player, not a hockey player.  (He's 10" taller than four of his teammates!)  The Omaha World-Herald's Chad Purcell says he "skates very well for a big guy."

The Mavs are picked to finish eighth or ninth in the twelve team WCHA this season. I think that's purely a crap shoot prediction on most people's part; most of the coaches and reporters aren't terribly familiar with UNO.  We know that UNO won't be favored to win the whole thing or finish last, so somewhere in the middle makes sense.  A little low, perhaps...but I wouldn't expect anybody associated with the WCHA to put UNO that high on that list to start the season.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Nighthawks & UNO Stadium Is Mostly A Dream

Last night, WOWT-Channel 6 reported that the Omaha Nighthawks are investigating the feasibility of building a 50,000 seat stadium in partnership with UNO at Chili Greens. Even though the Nighthawks set a UFL attendance record at Rosenblatt last Friday, Rosenblatt likely is going to be a little too small to help make the UFL viable long-term. I assume that when TD Ameritrade Park opens next year, it may only increase capacity by 1,000 or so unless they find a way to install bleachers in left and center field. Since the UFL is banking on getting attendance over 20,000 on average, the size of these stadiums mean that the Nighthawks have to consistently be sold out or pretty close every game to remain viable.

Could Omaha fill a 50,000 seat stadium for the UFL?  Maybe; never put anything past the city of Omaha.  But first, this deal is dependent on two things:  UFL survival and UNO going division 1. The UFL has long terms plans to grow, and Nighthawks operations director Don Igo told WOWT that NBC is interested in televising the UFL if they expand to 12 teams, especially if the NFL can't resolve their labor dispute with players next season. If that happens, the UFL becomes viable in the intermediate timeframe.

We know that UNO is inching towards division 1 status as well, but does that make a 50,000 seat stadium viable as well? I just don't see how it could be.  TD Ameritrade Park is coming in at around $140 million for a 24,000 seat stadium.  Minnesota just built a 50,000 seat stadium at a cost of $288 million, so I assume that the bare-minimum cost of a stadium of this size is going to be $200 million or more.  I don't see the city of Omaha being able to make a significant investment like this.  I don't see UNO being able to make an investment like this.  And I'm skeptical that the Nighthawks could make it work.  Borrowing $200 million over 30 years would require a $12 million mortgage payment each year, and who would sign onto that?  I don't think many bankers would take a 30 year commitment from a 2 year-old league.  UNO certainly couldn't make that deal unless they were ready to not only bypass 1-AA, but go directly to division 1-A. (Well, as long as we're completely suspending reality, they could simply replace Nebraska in the Big XII!)

Now while I think the Nighthawks and the UFL can work in Omaha, I simply don't see how this plan could work in Omaha.  Developing a way to install 15,000 temporary seats in the outfield at TD Ameritrade Park might be a more cost-effective solution for the Nighthawks.  (Or UNO as well, though I think that Al Caniglia Field could be expanded enough to suit 1-AA football.)  Of course, I've been wrong before, so I could be wrong on this as well.

Speaking of which...has Sarpy County ever said how they're paying for the Boondoggle?

Update:  Tuesday 9/28- Tom Shatel on the World-Herald talked to Igo, who said that a 50,000 seat stadium is a dream at best.  Sounds like channel six's report was based on idle speculation by a couple of fans and nothing more than that.

2010 Blogpoll: Week 5 Ballot

This week's big mover up is Stanford. They've been impressive each and every week this season, and so I'm vaulting them up into the Top Ten. And yes, they bump off Nebraska and Oklahoma after some pedestrian performances this week.  Texas takes a big tumble for being exposed by UCLA in one of the bigger shockers of the weekend.

I'm also demoting Penn State out of the Top 25 for general suckage with Temple. In comes those Missouri Tigers for now. Florida State also reappears after a nice whitewashing of Wake Forest. (Man, are the Deacons bad again or what?)

This ballot is in draft mode for a couple of let me know what you think!

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Huskers Go "Elmer Fudd" Against Those Scwewy Wabbits

A few weeks ago, I noticed that tickets for the Nebraska vs. South Dakota State were surprisingly in high demand; didn't make sense that Husker fans would find a game against a 1-AA team compelling. A little investigation turned out that it wasn't Husker fans buying the tickets, but our neighbors to the north.  And as I got to the top of the tunnel prior to the start of the game, I realized just how many Jackrabbit fans had made it to Lincoln...even taking over a section of the end zone as well as seats throughout the stadium.  What's the point?

South Dakota State was fired up for today's game.  Nebraska simply wasn't.  And at times today, the Huskers were about as effective as Elmer Fudd in hunting those wascally wabbits.

One week after playing the best game of his young career, Taylor Martinez had his worst. Bad decisions, bad ball security, bad name it. Even got flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct. After three turnovers, Martinez found his way on the bench. But he's a freshman; he's going to make mistakes. And after a week where people showered him with praise (complete with absolutely ludicrous speculation that his play was somehow Heisman worthy), he may have listened to too much of it.  That shouldn't be interpreted as a knock on Martinez, but rather on the people who overreacted to Martinez's production early in the season.

Today's game wasn't solely the fault of Martinez, but rather the entire team. The offensive line struggled to get any sort of push. Jeremiah Siriles and Jermarcus Hardrick both had very noticeable failures. Niles Paul and Tim Marlowe bobbled punts.  Kyler Reed made a nice catch of an underthrown ball, but also struggled with blocks on the outside.  I think the running backs ran hard, but there wasn't much room there.

Defensively, Nebraska once again found themselves exposed to the running game. This week was especially disappointing because in two losses to 1-AA foes, South Dakota State had only rushed for 154 yards...tonight, 141 yards.  My initial read was that the defensive line was getting pushed around by the Jackrabbits, but on his postgame radio interview, Bo Pelini indicated that it wasn't the defensive line as much as the linebackers.

That's a bit of a puzzle to me, as Lavonte David racked up 19 tackles to lead the team. But it's becoming increasingly clear to me that Pelini is not terribly confident in his linebackers, as he frequently goes to a dime defense, leaving David as the only linebacker on the field. In passing situations, that has seemed to work out fine. But that dime defense has also been exposed time and time again as being unable to stop running backs. Western Kentucky's Bobby Rainey started it, and Washington's Chris Polk continued it briefly last week before the score got out of hand.  Tonight, it was Kyle Minett who found big gains. I keep asking myself why Pelini continues to take Eric Martin out of the game in situations where teams could audible to a run, and I've never come up with an specific answer. But Pelini's post game comments make it clear that he doesn't have confidence that the linebackers to play with the precision he demands. With Pelini, it isn't so much having the best physical skills as much as understanding your roles and responsibilities.  That's why guys like Matt O'Hanlon play in a Pelini defense, much to the chagrin of recruitniks who think that more talented players are stuck on the bench for some reason.

If that's the case, we'll need to keep an eye on the recovery of Will Compton, who I think has been a bigger loss than we realized a few weeks ago.

Today's game could be explained as simply the "perfect storm" of motivation. The smaller school that sits in the shadow of Nebraska finally gets to debut in the big arena; most of these players originate from Iowa, Nebraska, and South Dakota and have likely dreamed about this game for a long time.  Meanwhile, Nebraska had a letdown from the big victory the week before. And on a day when the rest of the Big XII had their issues (Texas getting blown out at home by Skippy and UCLA, Oklahoma hanging on to beat Cincinnati, and Kansas State needing a last second touchdown to beat Central Florida), Nebraska can be pleased by surviving and heading into October undefeated.

This morning, Tom Shatel suggested that a UNO vs. Nebraska matchup would be ideal when UNO makes the jump to division 1 in a few years.  Makes sense at first; Nebraska needs home games, and 1-AA teams will come to Lincoln unlike a lot of 1-A teams. Problem is the motivation level.  Husker players will view a matchup with UNO as a quasi-bye week; it's only natural. UNO players (especially the ones who grew up dreaming of playing in Memorial Stadium) will be even more motivated than South Dakota State was tonight. And that's something that simply doesn't make sense for Nebraska.  Let UNO play Kansas or Kansas State.  Let UNO upset Minnesota.  But don't open the door for David to knock off the Goliath they wanted to be part of all along.

Husker Mike's PostGame South Dakota State Podcast

It's a win...ugly win, but a win all the same...

Friday, September 24, 2010

Nighthawks Give Omaha a Game Worthy of the Buildup

The Omaha Nighthawks debuted tonight in front of a packed crowd at Rosenblatt Stadium, defeating Hartford 27-26 on a fourth down touchdown pass from Jeff Garcia to Robert Ferguson with seven seconds left in the game. Needless to say, tonight's game lived up to all the buildup for professional football in Omaha.  Sad to say, I missed the dramatic ending; my son tried to make it into the fourth quarter, but we finally had to head out as Hartford drove the field late in the fourth quarter.

So what were my impressions of the UFL? It was a little ragged early on, but you can tell this these are some quality players on the field.  You also see little things that keep talented players out of the NFL.  Omaha's first touchdown drive of the fourth quarter was kept alive by two personal foul penalties that, quite frankly, might have been homer calls. A late hit on Ferguson turned a fourth down incompletion into a first down; shouldn't that dead ball penalty be enforced after the change of possession? A few plays later, a somewhat generous roughing the passer penalty negated a Jeff Garcia interception deep in Hartford territory and set up a touchdown that pulled the Nighthawks within three.

With the Nighthawks, both lines seem to be the weakest links on the team. Most of the evening, Ahman Green and Garcia were under pressure in their own backfield.  Ferguson had the winning catch, but the offensive player of the game to me was wide receiver Devard Darling, a former third round draft pick out of Washington State.  He seemed to be the clutch receiver that Garcia looked for most often in the first fifty minutes.  Hartford quarterback Josh McCown was pretty much unstoppable, though for some reason, Hartford periodically brought in Ryan Perrilloux, who seemed to be the less effective of the two.  Other than former Oklahoma defensive tackle Dusty Dvoracek, I didn't see much out of the Omaha defense.

As for the atmosphere, things really started to roll in the fourth quarter as the crowd and the Nighthawks both picked up the action.  The field at Rosenblatt really seemed to take a beating, necessitating frequent visits from the grounds crew to tamp the sod back into place during most every time out.  I was pleasantly surprised by the sightlines from my "end zone" seats along the third base line.  I didn't much care for the music between plays, not to mention the halftime concert by Nelly.  I estimate about 8,000-10,000 of the crowd absolutely loved the halftime concert, with a few hundred forgoing the game in the second quarter to head out to center field in front of the stage.  The majority of the crowd could be described as disinterested at best.  Otis Day will be next weekends's halftime act, which probably will both annoy and please fewer people.  (Why do I have this feeling that people are going to show up in black toga's for next week's game?)  Rosenblatt's tight concourses and lack of facilities were obvious with a huge crowd, though lines seemed to move faster than the last Royals game I attended.  Go figure.

All in all, it'll be interesting to see how Omaha responds to the Nighthawks going forward. Tickets are reasonable and the competition is pretty good. I have no doubt that the Nighthawks will go as far as the UFL goes; the only question is whether Omaha can pull the entire league up to viability.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Thursday Night Beer: Nighthawks More Intriguing Than Huskers This Weekend

Nothing against the Big Red, but the last of the Steve Pederson body-bag games might be the worst of the bunch. South Dakota State is a 1-AA team that's 0-2 so far this season.  They don't really run the ball all that well, and they've thrown five interceptions against only one touchdown pass.  Oh, and they can't really stop the run either. So unless the Huskers decide to turn the ball over eight or more times, this one should be over early.

The biggest news of the day is that Bo Pelini awarded the Blackshirts to the starters on defense. From a pure accomplishment perspective, the defense earned them last week.  But deep down, I still think there's something to be said about giving it to the first teamers before the first game.  I'm conflicted on this one, but after what happened in 2004-07, it's hard to argue against the point that the Blackshirts really are something that needs to be earned on the field.

I'm really interested in seeing how the Nighthawks game turns out on multiple levels.  The photos of a striped Rosenblatt Stadium look better than I thought it would; the left field bleachers might be some of the best cheap seats anywhere in football.  The only issue I see is that the new sod probably needed a bit more fertilizer to green it up a little better.

I'm fully expecting parking to be a Royal pain in the rear; it's been a while since I've navigated the College World Series, and I'm not looking forward to finding a spot down there tomorrow.  And no, I'm not burning vacation time to attend a minor league football game.  It'll be much better next season when TD Ameritrade Park opens with two to three times as many parking spots surrounding the stadium.

With all the talk about the Nighthawks, there haven't been much to discuss about the team to this point. Jeff Garcia and Ahman Green would have made a nice core of a fantasy football team five years ago, but what about 2010?  Robert Ferguson was a decent receiver with the Packers earlier this decade, but what about now?  And what kind of offense is head coach Jeff Jagodzinski going to put together at this level with this personnel?  I just found the depth chart buried in the game notes; looks like former Husker defensive in Jay Moore will be starting along with former Oklahoma defensive tackle Dusty Dvoracek.  Of course, I don't have anything else to compare this team to, so it'll be interesting to see just what we see tomorrow night.

Monday, September 20, 2010

2010 BlogPoll: Week 4 Ballot

I'm resisting the urge to raise the Huskers much higher on my ballot; I'm still not sold that Washington was a great opponent, though I think the Huskers played their best game of the season on Saturday.  That being said, I am moving the manic-depressive Oklahoma Sooners and the muddling Texas Longhorns below the Huskers for now.  Which Oklahoma team is the real OU? The one that blew out Florida State, or the one that struggled with Utah State and Air Force?  And while Texas is undefeated, I'm not sure I'm seeing a top ten team there just yet.

TCU's blowout of Baylor counts for a rise, so up they go.  Florida moves up in response to the demotion of the Sooners and 'Horns.  If you went to bed early, you missed Stanford absolutely crush Wake Forest in the really late-night ESPN2 game.  Arizona also vaults up by holding on to beat Iowa; that's not the same Arizona team we saw in San Diego.  Iowa doesn't drop as far because of the way they fought back against the Wildcats on the road.

I dropped USC and Wisconsin because I frankly wasn't impressed with either team.  Arizona State hasn't played anybody else yet, and lost due to a blocked extra  point.  Southern Cal muddled through with Minnesota much like they muddled through with Hawai'i in the season opener...a team that lost to Colorado on Saturday.  I'm keeping Virginia Tech in the Top 25 for now; I still believe last week was a fluke.

As always, this ballot is a draft, so if you have any feedback, comment below because I can change it until Wednesday.

Big XII PowerPoll
Now that we've got a little bit of data to work with, here's my first draft for a PowerPoll at the conference level.
  1. Nebraska
  2. Oklahoma
  3. Texas
  4. Texas Tech
  5. Kansas State
  6. Oklahoma State
  7. Missouri
  8. Texas A&M
  9. Kansas
  10. Iowa State
  11. Colorado
  12. Baylor
I actually think it was easier to group the teams at the top of the list than the bottom, as it's pretty easy to rank the top five teams. Oklahoma has had the best single game of all of the teams, but the inconsistency drops them to #2.  Missouri is undefeated as they should be, but both games against 1-A opponents have been much closer than they should be.  Likewise, A&M's struggles against a Sun Belt opponent should be turning up the thermostat under Mike Sherman's chair.  Colorado's second half performance against Hawai'i gets them out of the cellar thanks in part to Baylor's submission to Texas Christian.  You could make a case for any of the bottom four teams to be last on the list.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

UFL Trying Too Hard; Who Is Nelly and Why is he at a Nighthawks game?

KOZN's Matt Schick reports tonight that the UFL is going to announce that R&B/Rap artist Nelly will be the halftime performer at Friday nights Nighthawks season opener against Hartford.  I don't follow R&B/Rap music at all, and frankly, don't care to.  It's not my cup of tea.  I tried to sit through Kanye West (pre-Taylor Swift) as the opening act for U2 a few years back; that's an hour of my life I won't ever get back. (U2, on the other hand, was absolutely epic that night and worth every penny and then some.)

Doing a little Google research on Nelly indicates that he's apparently a big deal to some people; he ranks #3 on Billboard's top artists of this decade.  Of course, any list that has Nickelback and Britney Spears ranked in the same top ten has dubious value to me.  Musical taste aside, I do have one question about this choice:


Schick and fellow KOZN broadcaster Mike'l Severe indicate that this game is close to a sellout. People aren't going to this game for the halftime show.  People want to see football in Omaha, not a hip hop halftime show. I have my tickets, and I'm planning to bring my kids.  Except now I have to deal with a halftime show by an artist who's albums are blazen with "Parental Advisory-Explicit Content" warning labels.

If Nelly is as big of an artist as he seems to be, he's not coming to Omaha for cheap. Again, I've got my tickets, so it's not like I'm paying extra for it. But it's got to hurt the long-term viability of a league that lost an average of $2.3 million per game last season.  And if the game is just about sold out, Nelly isn't going to increase ticket sales either.

I guess there is a message that this suggests that the UFL is somehow "big time"...but unless the UFL is going to sign up name artists for every game, I don't see the point.  Most people who bought tickets to this game bought them without any expectation of a "big time" artist to appear.  It's simply not necessary.  Put the time and resources into the actual game atmosphere.  Some people will enjoy Nelly, but others won't.  Even worse, if Nelly decides to drop an f-bomb in front of my kids, it could be the last time I attend a Nighthawks game.

Up to now, the Omaha Nighthawks have seemingly done everything right in promoting the team.  This move seems to have more downside than upside.  The Nighthawks have the potential to be big...but are they going to screw it up anyway?

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Huskers Make Husky Fans "Sleepless in Seattle"

At times this afternoon, the Huskers made it look easy, seemingly scoring at will on big play after big play. Is this a sign that Nebraska is "back" and "national championship worthy"?

No. Not yet.

Let's remember that Washington had a losing season in 2009. They lost to BYU to open the season, then trailed woeful Syracuse 10-0 last weekend.  Much of the hype around Washington centered around former Heisman candidate Jake Locker, who was considered the top pick for next year's NFL draft prior to kickoff today.

Then for the second week in a row, the Huskers made an apparently NFL-bound quarterback look like a scout-team reject. Remember last winter when Bo Pelini thought he this year's Blackshirts might be even better? He might know something after all.  It was a total undressing on regional television.

Today the Blackshirts showed only one weakness:  Chris Polk and Jesse Collier gashed the Huskers' dime defense when Eric Martin wasn't on the field early on in the game, leading to Washington's first touchdown of the game. Idaho exploited that a bit last week as well, but this week, Nebraska adjusted to remain in the base Peso defense on first and second down late in the first quarter, and the Washington offense was pretty much non-existant after that, except for a brief outburst at the start of the second half.

Offensively, Nebraska was slow to give the ball to the I-backs until the second quarter, when Roy Helu and Rex Burkhead began to pound away at a woeful Husky defense up the middle. Add in a few keepers by Taylor Martinez (especially a sweet 80 yarder to open the second half), and the Huskers rolled easily.

Brandon Kinnie had an outstanding game, making several good catches and gaining some key yards after the catch. Martinez performed nicely for a redshirt freshman in his first road start, and if you saw the ABC camera shaking at the start of the game, you know the 50,000 Husky fans who didn't sell their tickets to Husker fans were loud and into the game initially. That's not a perfect performance; Martinez made a few wrong reads on the zone read and held the ball too long in the pocket at times. But against BCS level competition, he impressed many national pundits who intended to focus on the other quarterback as the star o the game.

A good win for the Big Red today, and it does nothing to quiet expectations around the Husker football program.  But Husker fans probably should keep an eye on Kansas State, where Daniel Thomas is setting himself as the biggest foil to the Blackshirts scheme on the upcoming schedule. That's not to say that Thomas is the best player remaining on the schedule, but rather that the Huskers have shown a weakness to power running up the middle, and nobody does that better than Thomas.

But that's for three weeks from now.  Tonight the Huskers celebrate being 3-0, with 1-AA's South Dakota State on the schedule for next weekend.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Wednesday Night Beer: Live from BFE, It's HailStorm Baseball

The Omaha Royals have started their "Rename the Team" contest and have filtered down over 1400 submissions to a list of 24 candidates.  If these are the 24 best, I'd almost hate to see the list of rejected names.  Here's a bunch of the names they actually had the nerve to put on the ballot:  Omaha Cattlemen, Omaha Commanders, Omaha Diamond Dogs, Omaha Force, Omaha Funnel Clouds, Omaha Hailstorm, Omaha Locomotives, Omaha Meadowlarks,  Omaha Omahogs, Omaha Prairie Dogs, Omaha Prairie Thunder, Omaha Pride, Omaha Sizzle, Omaha Slayors, Omaha Sodbusters, Omaha Storm Chasers, Omaha Thunderbolts, Omaha Thunderbats, Omaha Twister, and Omaha Windwalkers.

The only nonembarrassing names?  I'd suggest the Omaha Blue Bombers, Omaha Monarchs, Omaha River Rats, and Omaha Royals.  Monarchs is one of those names that's intriguing, but could be a disaster down the line.  It's an play on the "Royal" lineage, and ties back to the Kansas City Monarchs of the old Negro league as a tribute.  It also could be viewed as a message that they've abandoned the city of Omaha for Papillion, where the Monarch is the symbol of the city and the high school.  (Remember what happened to the Omaha Lancers when they changed their name to reflect that they weren't "just" Omaha?  I don't think the Lancers ever recovered from that debacle until they moved back inside the city limits...)

I think Tom Shatel has it right.  Just leave the name alone, if that's the best you could come up with.

Meanwhile, over at Rosenblatt, things seem to be hitting high gear with the Omaha Nighthawks. The infield has been sodded over, and it sounds like they've sold over 10,000 tickets at least for the opening game.  I'm intrigued to see what they actually draw to the first game next week.  I'm guessing that it will push 20,000 fans, and I wouldn't be completely surprised if it sells out if the weather is good.  I don't know how much Omaha is going to know about the other teams in the league yet, but as far as the Nighthawks go, it's hard to ignore a roster that features former pro-bowlers Jeff Garcia and Ahman Green.  This organization has done just about everything right since coming to town, and if they can make a franchise work averaging 15,000 to 20,000 fans each game, it'll work in Omaha.

But before Hartford comes to town, we've got the Huskers heading out to Seattle. I'm going to plead guilty to overconfidence on this game; I think Nebraska is markedly better than Washington.  Yes, I know Jake Locker is a potential #1 selection in next season's NFL draft.  Yes I know that Chris Polk and Jermaine Kearse are solid players.  But I also know that last season, Washington's offense ranked 69th in scoring.  That Nebraska offense that was all thought was so inept for whatever reason?  It ranked 75th.  Washington averaged 26.08 points a game while the Huskers averaged 25.14.

I think Nebraska's offense has improved by more than one point this off season.  And even without Ndamukong Suh, I think Nebraska's defense is still better than Washington's, which finished 70th last season in scoring defense.  All this doesn't matter once the game kicks off, but if Nebraska plays their game and doesn't make a bunch of mistakes, I think this is a game Nebraska can win rather convincingly.  That's easier said than done (remember Iowa State last season?), but I think the point spread is surprisingly low.

Monday, September 13, 2010

2010 BlogPoll: Week 3

This week's big mover is Oklahoma, who proved last week was simply "looking ahead" by pasting Florida State.  So they recover much of the standing they held in my preseason poll.  Boise State drops in part due to the Hokies loss and in part because Ohio State and Oregon looked very good in impressive wins.
Nebraska jumps into my top ten not because they looked that good, but rather because Miami and Virginia Tech didn't look good. Another impressive performance by South Caroline puts the 'Ol Ball Coach into the Top Ten as well.  I considered dropping Virginia Tech out of the poll completely for a 1-AA loss, but remembering the hangover effect and a short week, I'm keeping them in at #19.

New teams are Stanford, Arizona, and the Weasels.  I'm not sure UConn and Notre Dame are all that good either, but it's a better schedule that most teams have played at this point, so being 2-0 counts for something here.

Other teams I considered for the Top 25 were Missouri and Texas Tech.  Neither has played a team like Michigan has beaten, so for now, the Weasels get the nod.  As always, your feedback is welcome as I can make changes for a couple of days.