This is the third straight week I’ve had a customer experience a catastrophic server crash. It’s really cut into my writing time, and it shows. I’d normally have split these up a little and tried to do a better job, but time hasn’t allowed it as real-life has intervened.
Iowa State comes to Lincoln tomorrow and most things are as they’ve been for a lifetime. Nebraska is a heavy favorite with a winning record. Iowa State looks lost, having only won one game, and so mushy-soft that the game should be over by half-time.
It’s that word "should" that’s bugging everyone. After a lifetime of consistency no one knows what to expect from this Husker team, especially the defense. It’s been the subject of conversation throughout the week. We wanted to know what’s going on inside Corey McKeon’s head. After he told us, we wanted to know what Charlie McBride, Steve Warren, Christian Peter, Mike Minter and Jerry Murtaugh had to say as well. Through it all no one mentioned the Cyclones.
And why should they? Iowa State comes into this game a bigger mess than the Huskers. Most of Iowa State’s players didn’t come to play to play for new coach Gene Chizik, they came to play for Dan McCarney. Now that he’s gone it’s obvious most of them are trying to get through the season and then go on with their lives.
Evidence? Losing to Kent State, Div IAA Northern Iowa and Toledo, but beating chief rival Iowa on a last-second field goal. The losses were for Chizik. In the win against Iowa the Cyclones played for themselves and got a big lead against one of the best defensive fronts in the country.
Will Big 12 conference play make a difference to the Cyclones? Who knows. Will it make a difference to the Husker defense? They’ve said so this week, but I suspect they won’t know themselves until they walk out on the field, possibly trying to get the feel of the crowd.
Neither team has an identity. Lack of identity leads to doubt that leads to tentativeness that leads to slowness, and all three of these things lead to a flinch, the unwillingness to do something because of fear or anxiety.
Let ‘Er Rip
One thing seems universal - no one is worried about Nebraska’s offense. The offense should have no problems putting points on the board every Saturday for the rest of the season. For that we can be thankful as this offense is going to have to score early and often to win their games.
Forget the "protect the ball" mentality - Sam Keller’s aura as a gunslinger is growing by the game - you can’t have him firing balls while at the same time telling him to hold back.
And why should he? Slants and hitches are the same as a running play and the receiver have proven that they’ve to play. Zig, Zag, Zoom, man, let ‘er rip and score again and again.
I’m A "True Fan" and You’re A Rotten SOB
What are the Husker fans going to do this weekend? Will we stand and cheer throughout the game? Will we get behind the team and stay behind them even if the defense plays like a bunch of sissy-boys?
Will some fans boo claiming that they’re "true fans" and do it because they care? If they do, will the other non-booing "true fan" contingent attack them? Will everyone else have to pick a side, further fracturing the Husker fan base? Ooooeee! The psych experiment that will be Memorial Stadium Saturday could be the most interesting aspect of the game.
Or not. Everybody loves a good argument (especially if it’s one they think they can win), but I’d rather spend next week talking about playing Missouri and not about whether or not we’re still "the Greatest Fans in College Football". I’m still hoping that the Blackshirt defense emerges. I’m a hopeless optimist that way and yes I do believe in miracles.
Like I’ve said earlier, I’ll be there tomorrow. A couple weeks ago I wondered why I’d bother going to such a lackluster game. Even now I’m not expecting a huge game from the ‘Clones, but am expecting to see a great big mind game.
Between the two teams. Between Husker fans. The booers and the non-booers. Even between me and too much beer.