Eating Crow After Close Call at Iowa State, Sort of
BY TODD NEELEY
Some people take themselves way too seriously.
I wrote a blog last week ahead of the Nebraska/Iowa State game in which I pretty much said it was way past midnight on the series with the Cyclones, http://dld.bz/58e5.
If you read the comments in response to the blog you’ll see I got into a little “discussion” with a handful of readers who said they were Iowa State fans. Unfortunately there was hardly a comment that didn’t resort to personal attacks on yours truly.
Did I have some of it coming?
You be the judge.
I threw down some pretty hard smack on how I believe the series between these two teams has been a waste of time for Nebraska.
And Saturday’s 31-30 Nebraska win on a dramatic interception by Eric Hagg on a fake point-after try by ISU in overtime, has done nothing to change my belief that it’s time to put these one-sided series on the shelf.
Nothing has changed for me.
An occasional uprising by teams like ISU every decade isn’t enough if Nebraska wants to compete for national championships. For those ISU fans who don’t get that, too bad, but Nebraska has always been about winning championships. That’s just the way it is around here.
Let’s face it, all fan bases have those people who resort to name calling. Whatever happened to engaging in a real debate on the merits of what I had to say? Why not throw a little Nebraska smack back at me rather than resorting to name calling?
They no more represent the entire ISU fan base than I represent the Nebraska fan base. But if you can’t take the smack, find another blog to read.
The point remains — in this day and age when style points mean everything in college football, Nebraska can no longer afford to play cupcakes. And even good and decent ISU fans will admit their team has — by and large — been a cupcake.
Speaking of food, I’ll eat just a little crow on that tight game in Ames.
I said Nebraska would run away from ISU 42-14. But the absense of Taylor Martinez and all-American candidate cornerback Alfonzo Dennard made for a much closer game than many people expected. ISU fans made a point that the Cyclones won in Lincoln last season with their backup quarterback and backup running back.
I’ll submit to you, ISU fans, that Nebraska won in Ames pretty much without a quarterback.
I’ll give credit to Iowa State. They again took advantage of numerous Nebraska mistakes and made a couple of plays on offense to make a game of it.
But ISU had no answer for running back Rex Burkhead, who ran the Nebraska offense from the ‘wildcat’ formation. By the way, why the heck did NU play Cody Green at all on Saturday? He has proven what I said here awhile back — that he’s all hype and has been a huge disappointment for Nebraska fans.
About last week’s blog, I said what I meant and meant what I said.
I pointed out the obvious: That the series with ISU has never been a rivalry — 18 Cyclone wins in 114 years since these two teams started playing each other does not constitute a rivalry. Not even close.
For years to come fans will remember this last Nebraska/Iowa State game for several reasons.
First, ISU Head Coach Paul Rhoads showed great courage in faking the point-after attempt to go for two. But it made no sense to put the game in the hands of your kick holder instead of just going for two with Austen Arnaud running the offense. That was a critical miss for ISU, especially since the Cyclones had success moving the ball on the Blackshirts.
Second, great teams make big plays when the game is on the line. If Hagg didn’t pick off that pass in the endzone we’d be lamenting the rotten taste of two consecutive losses to Iowa State to end Big 12 play for Nebraska. And ISU fans, at least the ones I’ve heard from, would be talking about how Iowa State has arrived.
Third, Nebraska is a great team with Taylor Martinez running the offense and inconsistent without him.
Speaking of crow, Kansas comes to Lincoln Saturday in what will be, again, the last game in yet another cupcake series for Nebraska.
ISU fans also pointed out in their comments (in between the personal attacks) that Nebraska would have it rough in the Big Ten.
You know, that may be true.
But let’s put it this way — next season’s first Big Ten schedule for Nebraska will be necessarily brutal. NU plays Ohio State, Wisconsin, Iowa, Penn State, Michigan and Michigan State in 2011.
Maybe it’s just me, but if Nebraska runs the table next year it looks a lot better than running the table on Missouri, Kansas, Kansas State, Colorado and Iowa State.
Then again, maybe it’s just me.