Holy smokes where has 2009 gone...I'm back from a lil break and ready to spread the word.
THE HOT LIST:
1. Arizona/Nebraska Key Match-ups
2. Texas Tech Problems (My Thoughts)
3. A&M/Georgia Clock Problems?
1. Well we've finally come to it...the Holiday Bowl...no doubt Nebraska will be looking for a win to build momentum and secure that elusive 10 win season for the program. To The Match-ups:
1. Arizona's Nick Foles vs. Nebraska's Ndamukong Suh
This might be one of the more low key matchups, but time and time again we have seen how Suh not only can disrupt a game, but how he can play mental games with opposing quarterbacks. In the Big 12 Title game, Suh not only dominated Texas' offensive line but you could clearly see that in the later parts of the game....Colt McCoy was mentally shattered and really was uncomfortable in the pocket. Suh absolutely has to disrupt the timing of Foles throws as well as get into his head. When you feel like you'll have no time in the pocket to throw it can spell a long long day for the Wildcats as I feel the key for them to move the ball against Nebraska is to throw it.
2. Nebraska's Offensive Line vs. Arizona's Defensive Line
It seems like when go into bowl games technique and solid line play become even more critical to teams success when your facing an opponent that is evenly matched with you. Nebraska absolutely has to lite a fire under its ass and blow guys off the ball. Remember that Nebraska's offense has become a series of plays that allows the 11 guys on the field to execute the offense with upmost precision. In the past few weeks Nebraska has gone back to the basics and I expect them to come out with a gameplan that lets face it is very easy to defend. If Nebraska is to have any success tomorrow they must must run the ball, which requires you to blow guys off the ball. Win the game in the trenches and that will go a long way for a win.
3. Nebraska's Wide Receivers vs. Arizona's Secondary
I think this is the biggest match-up on paper. Nebraska can't win this game without making big plays in the passing game, whether that be a 10 yard pass or a 50 yard pass. Nebraska can't expect to go into this game like the did against Texas where deep passes were picked off twice by Texas. Nebraska must make plays in the passing game to keep the chains moving and create imbalance on Arizona's defense. If you can do that you should have success moving the ball down the field. Remember last season when Nebraska was facing a speedy defense in Clemson, Nebraska was able to move the ball well in the second half due to the plays they made in the passing game that scored 2 touchdowns.
4. Nebraska's Zac Lee vs. Arizona's Secondary
Look theres no question that a win will stem on the play of Zac Lee. Last season Joe Ganz willed a win for the Huskers with his feet, arm, and smart plays he made during the course of the game. During the Big 12 Title game Zac made a pass deep down field that was picked off by Earl Thomas (one of the best safeties in the country). Arizona brings a group of experienced corners that will test the play of Zac Lee's decision making. If Nebraska is to win today they must make plays in the passing game which means that Zac Lee has to eliminate his turnovers, make throws, and protect the football at all costs. I feel that a simple turnover could change the course of the game for either team...so don't give Arizona the ball...easier said than done.
Prediction: Nebraska will look to make a statement on national prime that it's offensive problems are behind them. They make a few plays on offense to show that they can move the ball will ultimately make critical errors in the red zone that will prevent Nebraska from scoring touchdowns and settling for field goals. Nebraska defense lead by Suh and company come out with a mission that he won't be denied a win in his final game. Suh puts on a clinic again making Nick Foles move outta the pocket and throw on the run thus creating a few turnovers for Nebraska. Nebraska offensive woes bite them again when given prime opportunities by its defense and thus have to settle for field goals. The difference is Nebraska's defense won't be denied a win and sack Foles late in the game when they are trying to tie up the game. Nebraska wins 15-7.
2. HUGE breaking news today about Mike Leach supposedly mistreated Adam James (ESPN's Craig James' Son). It's been said that he was forced into workouts not allowed by a concussion recovery athlete and also locked into a room for hours because Mike Leach was disappointed in his injury. Look theres no question that Mike Leach is a pretty weird and out there guy, but given the rise of coaching image of what they do on the practice field has already cost one Big 12 coach is job. Remember that Leach was already in very hot water this past summer when he failed to negotiate his contract in a timely manner with the university...it almost cost him his job...NOW with these allegations out on the table and Leach suspended from coaching in Tech's January 2nd bowl game, you can all but expect to see him fired from Texas Tech in the next few weeks. Sometimes Coaches just can't do whatever the hell they want and feel like they can get away with it when clearly he stepped over the line this time...on purpose. He'll coach again somewhere...just not again for Texas Tech...and in the Big 12.
3. Really interesting event happened last night during the Texas A&M/Georgia game. Towards the end of the half A&M had no timeouts left but was driving to kick a field goal to cut the lead to 14-10. With about 2 seconds left on the clock the ball was spotted and the clock was started and Jerrod Johnson spiked the ball with what appeared to be less than 1 second on the clock. The Mountain West officiating crew did not go back and review the play and award a second on the clock for A&M to kick a field goal. Hmmmmmm Kinda shows that the final play that screwed Nebraska showed that it wasn't reviewable. At least someone out there can call it right....maybe the Big 12 should look to take lessons from the Mountain West.
I'll have instant analysis and grade outs tomorrow after the game...Skocz Out