Nebraska in no-win Situation Facing Jackrabbits

BY TODD NEELEY

Too bad Nebraska can’t get out of Saturday’s game against South Dakota State. Who the heck scheduled this game?

Can we somehow blame Bill Callahan for this?

Nebraska would have been better off taking a bye week following the 56-21 win over Washington. There’s more on the line here than meets the eye, and NU has to take this game seriously.

Maybe the powers that be look at the numbers and say ‘we can’t afford to have an open date.’ No offense, but I’m not sure Nebraska can afford to play a I-AA team at a time when NU is riding a tide of momentum. At this point Nebraska would have benefitted more from a week off.

You mean not a single lower-rung Pac 10, Mountain West or Western Athletic Conference, or major independent had an open spot?

The Jackrabbits don’t belong in Memorial Stadium and this is the kind of game that Nebraska really can’t win.

If I’m an AP voter I would be more impressed if Nebraska took a bye week rather than hanging 60 points on a I-AA team that is 0-2 with losses to Delaware and Illinois State.

It was a big deal when Kansas lost at home to North Dakota State in Turner Gill’s first game as head coach. And remember just a few seasons ago when Appalacian State won at Michigan? At least those are nationally ranked I-AA programs. South Dakota State isn’t even on a level with UNK or UNO.

The only storyline of note in this game is that former Husker linebacker Clint Brown is the co-defensive coordinator and defensive line coach for the Jackrabbits.

Wow, good reason for pay-per-view. Right?

Pollsters will yawn even if NU runs up the score on SDSU. If this game is even remotely competitive Nebraska will suffer.

It would make more sense to play a I-AA opponent if Nebraska opened the season with a relatively decent schedule in the first three games. But you know things are bad when a struggling Washington team is the best NU can do on the pre-conference schedule.

Bo Pelini walked a fine line during this week’s Nebraska football press conference, coming close to being critical of why the game was scheduled.

“I think we owe it to the players and the fans to challenge them every week,” he said. The local media may have saved his bacon by leaving this comment out of the papers and off television.

Pelini then talked about how some I-AA teams have found success against Division I opponents. “When they come and play (Division I) opponent, those kids want to prove they can play at this level,” he said.

Clearly even Pelini knows this won’t be a game. “You have to be ready to play to have respect for the game,” he said. “You have to approach it each and every week that you have to be prepared to play.”

This is not the kind of opponent Nebraska needs heading into conference play, especially with a Thursday night game at Kansas State on the horizon.

The NCAA allows D-I teams to count one win each season against I-AA teams toward its bowl-qualifying win total. I’m not sure this is good for any national program, let alone a team that has national title aspirations.

How bad is SDSU?

The Jackrabbits average 8.5 points per game, are just 21 percent on third-down conversions, have given up an average of 224.5 yards rushing, and the largest crowd they’ve played in front of this season was a little more than 19,000.

OK, enough of this.

It’s too bad the Big 12 hasn’t found a way to play nine conference games in a season.

Posted on September 23, 2010, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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