Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Nebraska Football : New Year's Day Bowl Game!

I think we have to beat Auburn to call 2006 a genuine success.

Or we lose 31-28 because of an unusual play (kick returned for TD, blocked kick returned for TD, money receiver fumbles near own goal line) but our offense rolls up 400+ yards and looks big time. I presume the collapsing Blackshirts we saw against Kansas and Oklahoma State are gone for good.

NU has played three games -- Southern Cal, Texas, Oklahoma -- that the college football world cared about. We lost 'em all, and except for the 4th quarter gadget-fueled rally against Texas, looked hapless on offense, kind of like those late 80s and early 90s bowl games.

How long can you sell recruits by saying wait till next year? The Cornhuskers need to be impressive on both sides of the ball for four quarters in the Cotton Bowl.

It's hard not to peek ahead to 2007. A genuine gunslinger at QB. A seasoned O-Line that shows signs of achieving what used to be the typical NU standard. All the backs return. Receiving corps developing well. Lots of questions everywhere on defense, but Zack Bowman's return at cornerback by itself is cause for optimism.

But I'll put that on the shelf and savor a New Year's Day bowl game at a classic venue against a top-caliber opponent.

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