Reality Check Time for the Huskers

One of the biggest dangers of a big win is forgetting that unless it's the final game of the season, it's just one win.  There's always another game coming up that needs to become the focal point right away.  So now that Sunday has come and gone, it's time to focus on the next game.  We can all be excited about the play of the Huskers, but there's a danger in reading too much into the victory.

Remember the elation from the monsoon victory over Missouri?  All those positive emotions evaporated after losing to Texas Tech.  Every week's a war, and as we learned a week after that, anybody can beat anybody in the Big XII.

The Husker offense is still an ongoing concern, though I'd suggest the situation isn't quite as bleak as it might appear.  Oklahoma's defense might be the best the Huskers will face this season.  Shawn Watson dialed down the offense and went ultra-conservative rather than risk turnovers.  I'd like to think that opportunities exist in upcoming weeks to open up the offense and try to establish something in the passing game.  Brandon Kinnie looked good on the rollout, and you never know if exiled receivers Curenski Gilleylen or Menelik Holt will step up their game.

Nebraska now has control of it's own destiny, win all three games, and the Huskers will win the Big XII North.  All three games are winnable.  Kansas has lost four straight, Kansas State is in Lincoln, and Colorado is, well, Colorado.  But as Nebraska learned a couple of weeks ago, no game is a sure victory either.  (See eight fumbles against Iowa State.)

But that hasn't stopped some from focusing on a potential matchup with Texas.  And while it's easy to see how Nebraska's defense matches up well against almost anybody, it's way too soon to wonder if Alex Henery can drill Jerry Jones TV set.  Three more games still remain, and the focus needs to be on Kansas first and foremost.

Others are focusing on the commitments from potential recruits this weekend.  This one is more surprising and more disappointing.  If Husker fans should have learned one lesson from the Bill Callahan years, it was to disregard the hype of recruiting.  So-called recruiting "experts" told us how Nebraska's recruiting had improved, when in fact, the evidence shows otherwise.

No, the lasting impact of Saturday night's game might be Bo Pelini putting his signature on the Husker program.  It was a physical game where the entire defense approached the level that Pelini wants.  No matter where you looked at the Blackshirts, you saw it.  Whether it was Ndamukong Suh tormenting the offensive line and quarterback, Phillip Dillard's emergence as an all-conference candidate at linebacker, Alfonzo Dennard making waves as a shutdown corner, or Matt O'Hanlon proving hard work and dedication matters so much more than star rankings, we saw the Blackshirt defense being reinvented and reborn out of the ashes the previous regime left behind.

All that means nothing if Nebraska fails to take care of business on Saturday afternoon in Lawrence.  That's the focus for this week.  Not Texas, not Oklahoma, not recruiting.

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