Time to wrap up the week with the final post of the week....
THE HOT LIST:
1. Oklahoma/Nebraska Matchups
2. Jared Crick's Impact
3. Around the Big 12
1. The big boys come to town this weekend. Husker Fans have been looking forward to this game all season since last season's blowout...oh yea I was there to watch that one...real fun. Oklahoma comes into Saturday night's game at 5-3 and looking to salvage what has been a very disappointing season that started with National Championship aspirations. Sam Bradford is lost for the season, and the reins have been turned over to Landry Jones, who quietly leads all freshman with 17 TD passes. To the Key Matchups:
First: Nebraska's Defensive Line vs. Oklahoma's Offensive Line
It's a tale of opposites with this match up....OU's offensive line clearly has been the weak point of their offense allowing opponents to blitz at will and cause disruption to their timely passing game. This is probably the biggest match-up strength for the Huskers....their front four must push back this offensive line and create a notion that it'll be long long day trying to throw the ball. If they can get consistent pressure for four quarters, look for OU to have a mediocre day passing and an even tougher time rushing the ball. Advantage: Nebraska
Second: Nebraska's Offensive Line vs. Oklahoma's Defensive Line
Just like Nebraska, OU brings a group of defensive lineman that Nebraska hasn't seen this season. In the past few weeks Nebraska has really struggled blowing guys off the ball, this week will be no different I think for the Huskers. I haven't been impressed in the last few weeks that makes me think that finally this offensive line will be able to put it together and blow the best defensive front four to date this season off the ball...I love to be showed up and proven wrong...so prove me wrong O-Line. Advantage: Oklahoma
Third: Nebraska's Secondary vs. Oklahoma's Wide Receivers
This is probably the second biggest match-up nightmare for Nebraska. The problems that plagued this team against Baylor and Texas Tech could have their way of becoming a big issue this Saturday. OU brings a group of young but talented group of receivers lead by Ryan Broyles. The true sophomore is arguably OU's best deep ball threat. If Nebraska can't get to Landry Jones quick enough, these guys will have to stay on their guys and make plays. That's something that I think has been overlooked this season because our front four has been so dominate that these guys haven't been forced to make big plays...just hang on. You can't hang on against Oklahoma, if you wanna beat them you have to create turnovers and out play them, and that doesn't happen very often these days. Advantage: Oklahoma
Fourth: Nebraska's Wide Receivers vs. Oklahoma's Secondary
This is probably the strength of this team but has been exposed at times this season. They bring a few guys who have an unsung nack for getting to the football when it's in the air. Nebraska's wide receivers have to shed the pressure these guys will bring and get open...then do what every wide receiver must do in big games like this...catch the ball. That'll be critical keeping drives alive and giving Nebraska's defense a chance to rest. You have to be able to make completions against OU down the field over 15 yards. That keeps those linebackers and safeties back off of trying to stuff the run. Advantage: Oklahoma
Fifth: Winning the Turnover Battle
If you want to beat a sound team in Oklahoma, you must win the turnover battle. Nebraska can ill afford to throw a pick six at home and expect that they can win. Nebraska's secondary must create turnovers and give the offense a chance to drive a short distance to score or kick a field goal. That is important as I think Nebraska will be unable to drive the ball 60+ yards on OU's defense to score touchdowns. Advantage: Draw
This game marks the returns of award winning legends from both schools. Guys like Billy Sims, Tommie Frazier, Eric Crouch, Dave Rimington, Steve Owens, Josh Heupel, Jason White, Aaron Taylor, Barry Switzer and Tom Osborne all return to Memorial Stadium to witness the greatest rivalry in college football that has been ruined by the creation of the Big 12. Nebraska should be looking at this game as a great opportunity to come out play strong to make a statement that Nebraska can make a run like they did after getting thumped by OU last season. Nebraska's defense comes to play early, but timely completions in 3rd and longs kills momentum for Nebraska and forces the offense to have to score when it has the ball, thus allowing OU to create a few turnovers to stop a few aggressive throws by Cody Green.
Oklahoma wins 21-10, sending Nebraska to re-evaluate itself as a program when compared to the big boys of the conference. Nebraska keeps it close but realizes it still has a long way to go to be at the level Oklahoma is at when the two teams play again in two years in Norman.
2. Great article on Jared Crick and how quietly he is becoming a nice compliment to Suh on the defensive line. His amazing 13 tackle, 5 sack performance earned him 2 national player of the week honors and has shown a big of star-light on the Husker sophomore. Crick quietly stated that it comes from having a big game, but that he will continue to go back to work to create double teams that allow Suh to get back to being in the star-light. It's humbling to know that this young kid, who's very talented, just simply wants to work his butt off some more to get better. I hope in the future he can step up and become a vocal leader for the defense. No question he has benefited from playing along side Suh, it might be tougher sledding next season as the only returner on the line. I expect big things out of him this weekend.
3. Around the Big 12
We go around the Big 12 to see this weekends slate of games, and make those all interesting predictions.
Central Florida @ Texas
Oklahoma @ Nebraska
Oklahoma State @ Iowa State
Kansas @ Kansas State
Baylor @ Missouri
Texas A&M @ Colorado
Texas Tech (Bye-week)
The best game on paper probably isnt in Lincoln, but in Manhattan as K-State looks to continue their improbably season by trying to beat up on a moral laden Kansas team. Its pretty cut and dry this week.
Predicted Winners: Texas, Oklahoma, OSU, K-State, Missouri, A&M
Last weeks record: (5-1) (83%)
Season Big 12 Record: (18-6) (75%)
Get out and enjoy the last night game of the season, I'll be there in full force. Enjoy the game..stay safe...and as always...GO BIG RED!!!