@J.C.: I don't think Michigan is overrated at all. I watched it back and thought the Wolverines controlled the game much more than the score indicated. Held a 349-159 yardage advantage.Clement's been dinged up, yes, and he is a senior. I think he's a good back but I don't know that he just changes the fortunes of that offense. Wisconsin's going to be in involved in old-fashioned slobberknockers the next three weeks. That defense can keep them in most games and gives them a solid enough chance to beat both Iowa and Nebraska, but I don't believe the offense is dynamic enough to run away from anybody. It's why I don't count out Iowa in the West race. Wouldn't be surprised at all if the Hawkeyes won some 17-14 game against the Badgers in Iowa City in two weeks.
@Trashman: I'll say Nebraska by a touchdown. I've been saying since the summer this is that under-the-radar big game on NU's schedule. On paper, it seems like the sort of week where the Huskers should win and Wisconsin loses and Nebraska has a nice two-game cushion with Purdue next. But as much as I like this Husker team's resilience, I think we've seen early in this season they don't have significant margin for error. So if you turn the ball over two or three times against an Indiana team that has nine takeaways you could be in trouble. But I also have this feeling that Nebraska's D, following a bye week, performs at a much higher level than it did against Illinois for three quarters. I think it's something like 31-24.
@Josh: Everyone just take a sip of their drink and pretend he didn't say it.
@Pipeline: No specifics beyond just saying he has a lot of soreness in the back. Agree with you in how it looked. It was one of those plays where you see a guy's body do something you know the body wasn't intended to do. Frankly, I think there's some relief over there it wasn't worse than it was. If looking at Nebraska's schedule, even if Westerkamp and Carter are close for Purdue, you wonder if coaches make the call to let them keep healing behind the scenes until Wisconsin. In this particular game, I think Carter's loss is most significant. Not only a tough matchup as a receiver but really gets it done blocking if you pay attention to it.
@Brian: I think it's a significant loss, though I also think the guys behind him are solid players with plenty of game experience. Sam Cotton has been a productive player for this program and probably could be a bigger part of the receiving game, if not for Carter kind of taking ownership of that role. Trey Foster is another guy who now has a fair amount of snaps under his belt and caught a big touchdown pass a week ago. Two seniors there. So it's not like they're throwing newbies into the fire Saturday. Also, Tyler Hoppes is a player people don't know a lot about, but could be a very good receiving tight end for this team. Needs to keep improving as a blocker, but in any other year, he'd have seen more reps by now. It just happens he's behind three seniors.
@TerryInIowa: I don't think coaches would want that, especially right now with the SEC still stuck on 8 conference games Also, in a 10-game conference scenario, it makes it a much tougher challenge for athletic directors to get always get 7 home games a year. That's a big, big, big deal. If you notice Nebraska's schedules over the next 5-10 years, they are all set up so that the program maintains that seventh home game. Also, at least the Big Ten has made it so all the West Division teams have five road games the same year.
@Tweedychris: I'd say Wisconsin because I trust its defense more right now, and a good defense can allow a team to keep it close and find a way to maybe steal it, sort of like I think the Badgers did against Michigan. But there's also no question in my mind Nebraska's offense will keep Ohio State's defensive coaches up more than Wisconsin's.
@@Matt_Reynoldson: I tried to make brownies one time when I was kid for my grandpa. Got my ingredients wrong. Think I almost did him in. That was the last effort and will probably remain the last.
@CDS: One of the best bye week breaks Nebraska got in some time. I think any coach likes that bye sometime between weeks 6-8. Last year the Huskers went 11 weeks without a bye. And while I don't know that an earlier bye would have dramatically changed the course of that season, it sure didn't help that there wasn't ever a moment to take a deep breath, heal some wounds and do some further self-evaluation. That said, now comes the long grind of this season. Huskers need to not just win Saturday but have one of those days where you come out of it unscathed health-wise.
@mark: Just each coach's preference I suppose. Frankly, I haven't always been a big fan of the play you're talking about either, because I think it's just asking for a turnover sometimes. If the ball comes out a little slow, it can get picked, or you miss a block and get your receiver decked immediately and risk a fumble. I know it can work, and has worked, but it feels like it backfires too much. The timing on the swing pass of the RBs has been off at times, there's no question, although it did work on a crucial third down to Newby when it was 17-16 against Illinois. He took it about 20 yards inside the 10. I thought the swing pass to Wilbon that resulted in a fumble against Oregon also would have worked really well, and maybe even scored, but it was just a flat bad throw by Tommy on that one. I'm not in love with the play either because there does seem to be some inflated risk to it. But then, running the option involved risk too I guess. The 1999 Nebraska team and its fumbling issues is truth of that.
@Tweedychris: Does a lot of the little things well that I think sometimes go unnoticed. He's not Ameer, but very few backs who have come through this program were equal to Ameer. The Huskers will need all of Newby on Saturday, I think. Like Armstrong, he is a player who I think has the opportunity to shift the narrative about him in a big way in the next six to seven weeks.
@Pipeline: You know, I really do love a good quarterback draw. Love it. Love when it's third-and-5, a team spreads a defense out, the QB hesitates for just a minute, then boom, there's a big opening and... gotcha. It's sort of a similar to a fullback trap in the way that, when done well, can really leave a defense with its pants at its ankles. I wouldn't give up on the fullback trap this year. You know this staff has it in its playbook based off last year. Might be waiting to be busted out in a key moment.
@SoSuhme: Not really. Janovich is a GREAT athlete who can do so many things. I'm not one to bang on the previous staff all the time because it's old news and, frankly, a little weak since they're not around to offer a defense. But their inability to find ways to use Janovich will always be one mystery I won't understand.
@Patrick: I'd pick Wisconsin right now because I've seen Nebraska's meltdowns up close there and at this point have to see the other result actually happen before I would pick the Huskers. That said, I'm not on the Wisconsin hype train as much as some. That offense isn't good enough, I don't think, to run away from Nebraska. Should be a close game.
Be back in just a second. Brief timeout.
Sorry, needed caffeine. Blame the Giants and Cubs.
@CDS: I remember a conversation from last year I had with the late great Milt Tenopir. He was discussing this offense, and while he admittedly preferred the system Nebraska ran in his day, he talked about how "smooth" this system is when it's operating correctly. He was making the point you are. Everything has options to it. It's not easy to diagnose for a defense. Even stuff that might seem simple to a laymen like me, has something else that can come off of it. He said it was similar to what they used to do in the way that a defense always has to pick its poison, and if you run the play right, there should be something open.
@nufan: I think Husker hoops has a couple of years to turn the corner, so no, I don't. But in this day and age in college sports, I think every coach at a Power 5 program goes into a season knowing they better get results or who knows what could happen. I think most understand this is a transition year of sorts, but they at least want to see signs it's leading to something soon.
@J.C.: Hmmmm. It's not greatly surprising to me, but I don't think Iowa's defense has been as good as many pundits thought it would be in the offseason. Also, while people expected Michigan State to maybe fall to earth a little bit, I think Sparty could be looking at a 5-7 type season.
@Patrick: I'd say 9-3 or 10-2. I might say 9-3 too. If they patch up some of the leaks, it can be different, but this second-half of the schedule is going to be tougher for Nebraska and depth will be tested as some guys get banged up in November. If Nebraska handles its business at home, that gets it to 8 wins right there. The question is, can they then win two of the four on the road? Saturday's game feels like a big decider in that. Saturday's game is sneaky big for this team. Could definitely see this being a week that, in a weird way, decides who is in Indy and who is at home.
@JimNE: I guess I'd have to know what kind of pressure you're talking about. This staff isn't close to hot seat pressure at the moment if that's what you're talking about. Even if it went 8-4, people would be disappointed with the finish but frankly it'd still put them in line with what a bunch of people were saying the team would finish before the season. It's too hypothetical for me right now. Because I could see 8-4 because there are flaws, I also could see a team that does enough little things right to win at least five of the last seven. I know Nebraska's schedule hasn't been much so far, but I'd still favor this team in five of the final seven games right now, and it'd only be a slight dog at Wisconsin. I don't think the Oregon situations impacts what's happening here at all.
@marc: There's risk involved in every play in some way. As I said earlier, the option had plenty of risk to it. There were games in the Osborne era when NU laid it on the turf six or seven times running it. I know that play didn't work, but it wasn't because of bad design. That one was just really, really bad execution.