Hello everyone. My name is John Farris. Some of you may remember me as the co-host of MidWest Coast Bias with Brandon "Blankman" Cavanaugh until early this year, when schedules and other responsibilities caused us to close the doors on the podcast and the site. As a result, writing has become a better way to go as far as getting opinions out there (and those of you who listened know I have some) because it doesn’t take near the time that the podcast did. Thanks for Blankman for pointing out the site to me, and thanks to Corn Blight and the folks at SBN for putting up a great site where fans can be heard.
Alright, enough of the sappy stuff…
I’ve decided to revive a column I did at MWCB on occasion – Thoughts from the Arm Chair. Basically, I throw a bunch of opinions together on different subjects that I really can’t come up with a thousand words on. My goal: to put one of these out a week, the earlier the better. This will be much easier to do now that we’re near kickoff of the season, because a lot of it will be about the previous game and what to expect next week. On MWCB, I had a tendency to sneak in non Husker references (Brandon just LOVED that), but here, I’m going to keep it to the Huskers and College Football in general. However, if I manage to post on other fan blogs in the SB Nation, I’ll be sure to link them here. What can I say? I love the attention. As far as the nickname, the Big Red part is obvious, however Raider has to do with the Oakland Raiders – not Texas Tech. It may be harder to cheer for them than it has been the Cubs lately, but I’m also no bandwagon jumper.
Well, what do you say we see what I can rant on this week?
Here’s my .02 on the scheduling comments from Jeff Jamrog: Don’t go blasting the previous AD on scheduling when these gems were on the schedule in the "good ol' days”:
Texas Tech (only good for a quote from Spike Dykes at that time)
Middle Tenn St.
To be kind, I’ll stop right there. A quick glance at the past schedules at Huskerpedia shows that the 90s were no better than now when it comes to non conference opponents. For Jamrog to say that the former AD only wanted to schedule a bunch of wins when you look at our past schedules is laughable at best, and a brutal revision of history at worst. Jeff, take a look at those 90s schedules before commenting on schedules next time. Scheduling cupcakes in the non conference isn’t new (and it's not necessarily a bad idea for a tune up game, either); revising history to make it look like the previous AD was the first to do it while brushing a 30 year history of it under the rug is.
What do I expect from the Huskers this year? I expect a much better D effort this year. Notice I said “effort”. I’m not going to go out and say that NU should have a top 10 defense this year. To go from a D ranked in the 100s to top 10 is all but impossible in College Football. However, I think a D ranked in the 30s or 40s is a sign of a huge improvement. Personally, I see a shift like we saw from 2002 to 2003. It will be a much better Defense, with players swarming to the ball and much better execution of assignments. NU will look much better against teams in general, but will have a few games where offenses will get the best of the NU Defense. In 2003, those games were Missouri, Texas, and Kansas State. This year, expect those teams to be Missouri, Texas Tech, and Oklahoma. The big difference between 2003 and 2008 will be the offense. In 2003, when a team was up more than 2 touchdowns on NU, it was a tremendous hole that they couldn’t get out of. This year, expect those games to be more of a shootout.
To close this out, let's talk about the game, shall we? Western Michigan seems to be an experienced team by all accounts, returning many of their starters from a 5-7 campaign last year. There's a lot of speculation that if Nebraska is looking past them (and the next 2 games) to Virginia Tech and Mizzou in weeks 5 and 6, that WMU could provide a game and a possible upset. Experience is good, but experience from a 5-7 season with a 3-4 record in the MAC probably won't be enough to topple a Husker team looking for the first step of redemption. Expect the 3 headed combo of Lucky, Helu, and Castille - combined with a defense that wants to reasure the state that last year was a bad dream and it's all better now - to make a major statement in Bo Pelini's first game as a non-interim head coach. My head tells me to reel it in and predict a close game, but I'm going with my heart on this one: NU 62 - WMU 14.
That's it folks. In lieu of a witty catchphrase, I wish you all a good Labor Day weekend - and Go Big Red.