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  1. 2011 Dec 04

    NEBRASKA FOOTBALL: The Huskers' 2011 Bowl Possibilities

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    By HuskerLocker

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    By James Stevenson

    Since Nebraska sat out the Big Ten title game, Husker fans’ attention has turned to dreams of a sunny Florida getaway in January. Nebraska is hoping to be selected for their first New Year’s Day bowl game since 2009.

    It’s not safe to book plane tickets just yet as the Huskers have three or four realistic bowl destinations. While three are in Florida, the worst-case scenario could send you to get a bit of dry heat.

    The top five Big Ten Bowl tie-ins are:

    1. Rose Bowl (Big Ten Champion)
    2. Capital One Bowl
    3. Outback Bowl
    4. Gator Bowl
    5. Insight Bowl

    Some ground rules to understand in terms of Big Ten Bowl Selection: The loser of the conference championship game cannot fall past the Gator Bowl. This prevents things like Nebraska’s Big 12 office-aided rematch with Washington last year. Secondly, the Capital One and Outback Bowl cannot take any team if there is a team that has two fewer losses available. In other words, you can’t take a 6-6 Ohio State team over a 9-3 Penn State squad.

    A quick look at the current Big Ten standings and BCS rankings:

    13. Michigan State (10-2)
    15. Wisconsin (10-2)
    16. Michigan (10-2)
    19. Nebraska (9-3)
    21. Penn State (9-3)
    Iowa (7-5)
    Northwestern (6-6)
    Purdue (6-6)
    Ohio State (6-6)
    Illinois (6-6)

    Stunningly, the Big Ten has 10 eligible teams, but only eight bowl bids. Fortunately for the conference (and maybe Illinois), Michigan is looking to crash the BCS party, which should move everyone up a notch. If the Wolverines can crack the BCS Top 14 (which should happen as they pass Michigan State due to their loss and Georgia since they tanked in the SEC Championship game), the Wolverines are almost a lock for an at-large BCS berth in the Sugar or Fiesta Bowl. This is very important.

    Best Case Scenario: Capital One Bowl – Jan 2 – Orlando, Florida (ESPN)

    Nebraska vs. Arkansas

    Assuming Alabama and LSU play a rematch in the national title game and Michigan gets into the BCS, the Huskers would face the 10-2 Razorbacks here. This would be a tough match-up, though Nebraska’s improving secondary play would give them a legitimate shot.

    Bo Pelini’s defenses seem to play exceedingly well with a long time to prepare, but the Razorback defense has become quite stingy. Hopefully the Huskers could pick on former Nebraska commit cornerback Tevin Mitchell who defected to Arkansas.

    Second Best Option: Outback Bowl – Jan 2 – Tampa, Florida (ABC)

    Nebraska vs. South Carolina
    (Expected: Michigan State vs. South Carolina)


    It’s not a guarantee that Michigan makes the BCS. Baylor could leapfrog the Maize and Blue thanks to their win over Texas. Regardless, if for some reason Michigan doesn’t crack the BCS Top 14, the Capital One Bowl would select them over Nebraska.

    This would be good news for anyone who likes Bloomin’ Onions though, as the Outback Steakhouse-sponsored bowl would happily bring the Huskers to Tampa. Look for another SEC matchup against another great defense, one that will test Tim Beck and the Huskers offense.

    Near-Worst Case Scenario: Gator Bowl – Jan 2 – Tampa, Florida (ESPN2)

    Nebraska vs. Florida/Auburn
    (Expected: Ohio State vs. Florida/Auburn)


    This is probably the easiest SEC match-up the Huskers could hope for. There’s almost no way this scenario would happen, though. Michigan State would’ve had to win the B1G Championship, Michigan would have to be absent from the BCS, and the Outback Bowl would need to decide that the Badgers' Russell Wilson and Montee Ball will sell more seats and garner more TV ratings than the Huskers.

    It’s a possibility, but given how poorly Wisconsin fans travelled to the Big Ten Championship game, one would think that the Gator Bowl is resigned to taking the Big Ten title game loser if Michigan doesn’t make the BCS and otherwise will reach to grab the Buckeyes and their re-energized fanbase.

    All Hell Breaks Loose Scenario: Insight Bowl – Dec 30 – Tempe, Arizona (ESPN)

    Nebraska vs. Texas A&M
    (Expected: Penn State vs. Texas A&M)


    It’s hard to imagine how this scenario could play out. Maybe Bo Pelini finds another job, or a scandal breaks for Nebraska. Michigan misses the BCS, and Urban Meyer decides to actually coach the Ohio State Bowl game.

    This is unlikely to happen, but despite Sun Devil Stadium being a house of Husker horror, the storyline of a “rematch” with Texas A&M would somewhat entertaining (as long as they didn’t use Big XII officials). It’s more likely that Penn State plays here in a contest surrounded by terribly disappointed fans.

    All in all, it looks like the Huskers will be heading to Florida to take on an SEC opponent, and likely a good one. The Big Ten Bowl possibilities are pretty amazing after coming from the Big 12, so it’s exciting to look forward to what should be such a high-quality opponent and bowl game looming on the Husker schedule.

    The best news: any of these cities is within decent driving distance from each other. Most importantly, you can go see Mickey and the gang at Disneyworld.

    Follow James on Twitter: @jamesstevenson
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    Tags: big ten, rose bowl, capital one bowl, outback bowl, gator bowl, insight bowl, michigan state, wisconsin, michigan, penn state, arkansas, south carolina, auburn, florida, texas a, m

  2. 2011 Dec 04

    NEBRASKA FOOTBALL: Why the Bowl Game Matters (Or Why It Should)

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    By HuskerLocker

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    By Ryan Donohue

    Two weeks later, you can still feel it in the air: the universal disappointment in the 2011 Nebraska Cornhuskers’ football season. A toxic belief that Nebraska’s season ended in “The Big House” on November 19 in a gaffe-riddled loss to Michigan.

    Since then, the Cornhuskers regrouped and defeated Iowa to send its seniors out with a win. Yet judging by the mood of the Husker faithful, that victory seemed just a concession, a hollow triumph over a struggling batch of average Hawkeyes.

    Even the media appears to be trying to turn the tide and emphasize the positives of beating Iowa. If they’re working overtime to craft a warm and fuzzy picture, something is wrong. No, Nebraska did not win their division. Yes, for the first time since 2008 the Huskers did not prepare for the conference championship game. No, Nebraska didn’t live up to many of the expectations of many a fan.

    Yes, the Huskers are destined for a January bowl game against a big name opponent. It sounds almost silly to mention, as if Nebraska playing in a bowl at all is a revelation known to few. Well, the Big Red is going bowling. It’s a shiny, stubborn fact that sticks out in the thick fog of melancholy funk that is suffocating all of Nebraska football.

    Like it or not, thanks to the hidden Big Ten benefit of powerful bowl tie-ins, the Huskers will play in their highest profile bowl game since the 2006 Cotton Bowl. In that game, then-head coach Bill Callahan’s squad had a chance to knock off Auburn, a premiere SEC team, to end a solid season with big momentum heading into the following year.

    Come January (or late December at the very worst), Nebraska will have a similar opportunity in the Capital One, Outback or Gator Bowl to knock off a solid SEC team, likely South Carolina, Georgia, or Arkansas. Which bowl and team will be ironed out very shortly, but it doesn’t change the fact that Nebraska will likely play a January bowl in fertile recruiting ground against an elite team from the top conference in front the eyes of the college football world.

    If that doesn’t brighten your mood, think of the alternative. Most deem the Husker season a failure because there is no division crown. Let’s say Nebraska won the MNI...er…Legends division. Is a rematch with Wisconsin honestly what the Husker faithful wanted? The Badgers would’ve provided Nebraska with a terrible reminder of Madison.

    Perhaps the only difference would be that the Huskers are even more banged up than they were during their ill-fated trip. Nebraska could’ve easily lost to Wisconsin twice with a good chance the second loss embarrasses the program more than the first. The cloud hanging over Nebraska football would double in size and camp out through Christmas.

    Instead, The Huskers have momentum from a dominant victory over Iowa – a team that beat Michigan – and a month to heal, practice and improve before the bowl game. A healthy Nebraska will be trouble for any team from any conference. A Husker win provides many advantages.

    Stability could be argued with a 10-win season for the third straight year. Defeating a team from the SEC would be a feather in the cap of both Nebraska and its new conference. Perhaps the most significant advantage is momentum.

    A bowl win means a chance to extend positive energy into the offseason. If you question the significance of this, think back to Callahan’s loss to Auburn and the absolute disaster of a season that followed.

    Think back to less than a year ago, when Nebraska ended a once-promising season on a sour night in San Diego. This season’s bowl is not the Holiday Bowl. This post-season reward is an opportunity for a fresh start with two huge prizes: Redemption for 2011 and confidence for 2012.

    Every bowl game matters. Just ask any coach or player who isn’t going to one. No practices, no continued improvement and no season-ending excitement. For Nebraska, this bowl game may not have been the one they wanted but it’s the one they’ve got.

    It’s an opportunity for the Huskers to make a statement, to build for next season, to show they have what it takes to win a championship even when there isn’t one on the line. Quite frankly, It’s an opportunity too good to pass up.

    Follow Ryan on Twitter: @DigitalRyan
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    Tags: bo pelini, arkansas, south carolina, georgia, cotton bowl, bill callahan, capital one bowl, outback bowl, gator bowl, sec

  3. 2011 Dec 03

    NEBRASKA FOOTBALL: Championship Saturday Game Day Thoughts

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    By HuskerLocker

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    The Husker Locker staff will be presented a number of questions addressing various aspects of each week's game all season long.

    This week:

    Did the 2011 regular season unfold about how you expected?

    Brian: Yes and no. Nebraska expected and should be playing in Indianapolis tonight. The fact that the Huskers aren't doing that marks, to me at least, a disappointing season. You come to Nebraska to win conference titles and compete for national championships, not finish third in the Legends division.

    Nebraska wants to be considered one of the heavy hitters in college football. To do that, you must be able to win the games you should, most of the games that can go either way, and at least keep the games you’re supposed to compete in close.

    While looking like world beaters against Michigan State and Ohio State, the Huskers looked pedestrian at best against Wisconsin, Michigan and a Northwestern team that will be ecstatic going to Yankee Stadium.

    James: Yes and no. I expected Nebraska to be around 9-3/10-2. I also expected the Huskers to win the Legends Division, which they unfortunately did not accomplish. I expected a loss at Wisconsin and at Michigan, as well as one trap game loss.

    I was also disappointed with the staff checking out on recruiting during the season. Having six recruits not named Cotton on December 3 is inexcusable. Maybe there is a silent commit or two, but it's still frustrating.

    The biggest disappointment of this season was the Blackshirts. From No. 8 in the country in 2010 to No. 58 is pretty horrific, especially when our head coach was hired for defensive acumen. With Carl Pelini taking a dead-end FAU job that barely pays more than what he makes now, you wonder if his increased responsibility as well as the defensive slide are the reasons for his departure.

    That said, there were some pleasant surprises: the offensive play-calling of Tim Beck was downright inspired at times. He was no Tom Osborne, but showed he could be creative and you could tell he had a feel for the pulse and rhythm of the game. A couple Shawn Watson moments aside (looking at Wisconsin and Northwestern here) call me optimistic for the future.

    Brandon: Honestly, I’ve yet to meet a college football season that has turned out the way I thought it would. In the age of parity, I think that’s a near-impossible feat. Even with how dominant LSU is right now, I wouldn’t be shocked to see them lose tonight or in their bowl game.

    Regarding the Huskers, I expected a far better defensive performance even without Dennard or Crick in, but the youth and inexperience showed early and often. I surely didn’t expect to have such success offensively.

    I’m pretty sure everyone and their brother could’ve called Burkhead carrying the team, especially down the stretch, but nearly every position has stepped up. Tim Beck’s got a solid playbook and I’m excited to see what he can do should he continue to grow along with the entire offensive roster.

    The Northwestern loss didn’t surprise me so much as how it was lost. Sloppy, uninspired football will cause you to lose to a Pat Fitzgerald-coached Wildcat squad every time. I was pretty worried about Wisky and certainly saw the potential for a loss at Michigan, but not a first class beatdown.

    Overall, there were more points hung on the Blackshirts than I expected and the offense impressed, but if you told me Nebraska would win nine games through the regular season, I’d have believed you.

    Right now, it appears that Nebraska will either be attending the Capital One, Outback or Gator Bowl, all versus SEC opposition. Which bowl would you like to see the Huskers play in and against what upper-tier SEC school?

    Brian: Either bowl to me is fine. The one matchup that wouldn’t be good for us is against Arkansas. Quarterback Tyler Wilson, while being the type of quarterback that a Nebraska defense feasts on, has several stud receivers to throw to. The Cornhusker secondary has improved as the season has progressed. However, this is a matchup that wouldn’t be beneficial.

    Either South Carolina or Georgia would be a favorable game. Don’t believe the SEC defense legend, either. All three teams can give up points. That doesn’t mean that Nebraska will hang 40 on any of them, but lets see them take on Rex Burkhead and Nebraska's offensive line when healthy.

    James: If you're going to be the best, you've got to beat the best. The Capital One Bowl is the premier non-BCS Bowl game, it's so well-branded it has an entire week named after it. Let's see how the Huskers compare in a one-game showdown with a top SEC team.

    I'd love to see Arkansas, especially if it gives the offense a chance to pick on former Husker commit Tevin Mitchell. On the flip side, playing South Carolina and the Old Ball Coach (Steve Spurrier) would bring back some blissful memories of 1995 (though I doubt the score would be anywhere near what it was for that Nebraska - Spurrier showdown).

    Brandon: All signs point to the Capital One Bowl which isn’t too surprising considering how many times their representatives showed up to check Nebraska out. I’m a big fan of the game as it’s usually entertaining. Last year’s stomping of Michigan State by Alabama aside, of course. I’d expect the committee to go with one of three opponents for Nebraska: Georgia, Arkansas or South Carolina.

    Out of these three, the Huskers should hope for the Gamecocks and I think there’s a solid shot they get them. The teams are pretty evenly matched and the Spurrier vs. Nebraska story is almost too good to pass up. On the other hand, you’ve got a rebounding Georgia squad that would give Nebraska a run for their money.

    Arkansas’ a sexy pick thanks to Bobby Petrino and his offense vs. Bo Pelini’s defense. While seeing the Old Ball Coach on the opposite sideline would be fun, I think Nebraska draws the Razorbacks.

    There’s an offer on the table for Carl Pelini to take over as head coach at Florida Atlantic. What do you think of this move?

    Brian: Good for Carl. It’s time for him to finally get his own gig that, while not at a BCS school, is a great opportunity. FAU was ranked No. 119 in FBS offense this year, and that’s against only two defenses in the Sun Belt that were ranked above No. 50 in total defense. Carl can give it his all and finally get out of his brother's shadow. Good luck to you, Carl.

    James: Exciting as a Nebraska fan. The defense clearly needs a shake-up. Bo needs to be free to look at the big picture and not have to gameplan the defense himself. Carl probably isn't the best planner/defensive coordinator, but he knows what it takes to win and has a good opportunity to build a staff down at FAU.

    There are also some premiere defensive coordinators on the market right now. Mark Stoops, Ron Zook, and Tom Bradley would all breathe fresh blood into the coaching staff. I'm partial to Zook myself, as he can take the organizational elements off of Bo's plate, while also instantly being the best recruiter on the staff.

    Brandon: It’s a great opportunity for Carl to add to his resume. Expectations aren’t going to be extremely high, but Schnellenberger was enjoyed by many despite his reputation among many Husker fans. Boca Raton’s not a bad place to cut your teeth as a head coach and being in the heart of an area rich in talent should only help Carl especially since his last name should gain him some clout amongst recruits.

    If things become official with Carl to FAU, how should the staff situation be managed heading into 2012?

    Brian: Interesting question. There is a great defensive coordinator in Larry Johnson Sr. available from Penn State. Assuming he’s clear of anything in the Sandusky case, I couldn’t see anyone being a better addition not only coaching but in terms of recruiting.

    James: Hire the best recruiting defensive coordinator you can find. It doesn't matter how they are schematically, Bo can handle that element, but Nebraska needs someone who can break down defenses, assist with building out the gameplan, and breathe some life into a rough recruiting effort.

    Aside from that, maybe if there are some coaches not working out, Carl can bring them along to Florida for a fresh start. It might be time for Barney Cotton to step into more of an administrative role, as the emergence of John Garrison and intern Brendan Stai seems to be behind the offensive line resurgence. With any new coaches, finding organized and spirited recruiters is key. This staff is woefully behind the competition in that regard.

    Brandon: Well, it looks to be a done deal, so we’ll assume he won’t be around. I could see this going one of two ways. Bo could simply assign himself the defensive coordinator title and hire a quarterbacks coach to assist Taylor Martinez and some very inexperienced backups with rapid development or a replacement could be found.

    Mike Stoops’ name has come up as a possibility, but I don’t see him at Nebraska as I can’t help but think he heads to Oklahoma or Urban Meyer snags him. Personally, I wouldn’t mind seeing Ron Zook pick up the defensive coordinator mantle as he stocked the cupboards for Meyer’s title runs at Florida.

    While things didn’t work out at Illinois, he’s a fine assistant coach and already has Big Ten connections. The Huskers need more homerun hitters in recruiting and Zook brings some serious wood to the plate.

    Follow the panel on Twitter:

    Brandon: @eightlaces
    Brian: @btbowling
    James: @jamesstevenson

    Follow Husker Locker on Twitter: @huskerlocker
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    Tags: blackshirts, carl pelini, fau, tim beck, bo pelini, rex burkhead, capital one bowl, outback bowl, gator bowl, arkansas, georgia, south carolina

  4. 2011 Nov 27

    NEBRASKA FOOTBALL: Knee-Jerk Reactions - Iowa

    2,414 views

    By HuskerLocker

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    By Brandon Cavanaugh

    - Call Rex Burkhead’s final tote of the rock what you want, but he deserved the record for carries after his day/season.

    - Speaking of Superman, he was responsible for over 72 percent of Nebraska’s rushing yardage and over 41 percent of the Cornhuskers’ entire offensive output.

    - The gameplan was vanilla, but when you have a weapon like Burkhead and an opponent that can’t stop him, why mess with a good thing?

    - Ameer Abdullah ran hard when he had the opportunity. Another year’s tutelage under No. 22 will only end in positive results for the young backups.

    - Taylor’s touchdown lob to Kyler Reed was awfully Tebowesque.

    - Martinez has improved over the season, but it’s been two steps forward, one step back.

    - Props to seniors on the offensive line. This is a unit that's pulled a 180.

    - Lavonte David plays like the entire opposing team has personally wronged him. In other news, the sun rose today.

    - Andrew Green looks remarkably different from game one. We might see brothers playing regularly on offense and defense come next season.

    - Wonder what five things Iowa wide receiver Marvin McNutt wishes he could’ve brought to Dennard Island.

    - Brett Maher had a 16-yard punt and still ended the game with a near 42-yard average on seven boots.

    - Bowl Prediction of the Week: Capital One vs. Arkansas.

    - Nebraska and Iowa should be playing for a six-foot-long bronzed pitchfork. There, it’s been said.

    Follow Brandon on Twitter: @eightlaces
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    Tags: rex burkhead, ameer abdullah, taylor martinez, kyler reed, lavonte david, andrew green, alfonzo dennard, marvin mcnutt, brett maher, capital one bowl, arkansas, heroes game

  5. 2011 Nov 11

    COLLEGE FOOTBALL: A Look Around the Nation - Week Eleven

    3,744 views

    By HuskerLocker

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    By Brian Towle

    Week 11 has that feeling of a season soon coming to a close. Outside of the proceedings in State College, there are some very good games out there, as well as a few more coaches on the hot seat, not to mention one burned to a full crisp. As always before we look to the future, we must pull a Marty McFly and go back in time. Last week’s ups and downs were as follows -

    Winners:

    Houston: The Cougars has quietly gone undefeated and quarterback Case Keenum has made his case for the Heisman. Look for more attention to come their way if they keep winning.

    Arkansas: The Razorbacks took on South Carolina in a game that was anticipated to be rough and made their way through to set their sights on a hard-hitting matchup with LSU.

    LSU: Went 15-plus rounds in a slugfest with Alabama and came out on top. Sometimes you’d rather be lucky than good. The Tigers were both on Saturday night thanks to the Crimson Tide’s fantastic special teams.

    Oklahoma State: Also a survivor of a surprising belt-to-bell bout. It’s hard to not wonder if they can stay focused enough to get all the way to Bedlam without a loss. If they do, their chances at a national title bid get significantly better.

    UCLA: The Bruins notched an unexpected win against Arizona State. The prize is an outside chance to attend the Pac-12 title game and save Rick Neuheisel’s job.

    Losers:

    Alabama: Defense played very well, but too many blown opportunities doomed the Tide. Now there’s more than likely no chance to go to Atlanta to represent the SEC West.

    Arizona State: Such a bad game played last week. Now the Sun Devils need hope the Pac-12 South title isn’t out of reach. Assuming they don’t keep dropping games, of course.

    Michigan: Had the Legends division by the you-know-what’s, and now... welp...

    Missouri, Arizona State, Pittsburgh:



    On to this week’s festivities! All are times are Central:

    No. 20 Auburn at No. 15 Georgia – (2:30 PM, CBS)

    This week’s nationally-televised afternoon SEC battle has Gene Chizik’s gang heading between the hedges to take on the revitalized Bulldogs who are looking to punch their meal ticket to Atlanta.

    For Auburn, a sloppy passing attack and the inability to win outside Alabama makes this game difficult. Georgia’s offense has been good this year, but their defense has performed surprisingly well, giving up less than 20 points per game.

    Bulldog quarterback Aaron Murray has shown the ability to dissect any defense that comes into the Dawgs’ house. Considering how Auburn has played on the road this year on the road, look for the Bulldogs to cruise and set up a game with Kentucky. The game would be a mere formality between Georgia and the SEC West title.

    No. 7 Oregon at No. 4 Stanford - (7:00 PM, ABC)

    "Game of the Week" status hovers over Northern California again, as Chip Kelly’s Ducks fly into Palo Alto to take on the steamrolling Cardinal. While Stanford has gone unblemished, Oregon has been grinding through their schedule ever since the debacle in Arlington against the No. 1 LSU Tigers.

    This game features two of the top five scoring offenses in America, with players on both sidelines that are top-notch. You know about Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck and the Oregon Duck duo of quarterback Darron Thomas and running back LaMichael James for the Ducks. The Cardinal defensive is only giving up 11 points per game, while Oregon is No. 26 nationally giving up almost 20 per game.

    With the game at home, Stanford looks like the more comfortable team. However, Oregon’s ability to control the tempo of a game so quickly and efficiently, this Pac-12 fight is a tossup. It seems that Stanford has the edge, but with the way that Oregon shut down Stanford last year in the second half, it’s a tough call.

    Other games of note include:

    No. 17 Michigan State at Iowa – If the Spartans wins against the Hawkeyes, it looks like they can punch their ticket to Indianapolis.

    No. 16 Texas at Missouri – A measuring stick for the Longhorns. Texas has looked comfortable lately, but going to Columbia will test that comfort level.

    TCU at No. 5 Boise State – The Broncos’ last true test to pass with flying colors to get into the national title picture.

    Miami at Florida State – Remember when this game appeared to be a treat at the beginning of the season?

    Maryland at Notre Dame – Come for the uniforms, stay to see if the Irish stay on course. Try not to go blind.

    Arizona State at Washington State – A huge game for the Devils’ conference title hopes.

    Now for some of the coaches that have pants which could defrost an iced-over pond:

    Houston Nutt, Ole Miss – Finally! Be gone! Nutt isn’t going to be retained by the university after this year. While there are some who aren’t fans of that, it’s refreshing to see that the Rebels athletic administration finally got sick of Nutt after losing 10 SEC games in a row.

    Houston wants you to think that his oversigning is the true problem and the lack of quarterback maturation isn’t. Someone will trust Nutt with their program. Here’s hoping they realize what they are getting.

    Paul Wulff, Washington State – Had a great start to this year, but the wheels have come off. Beating Arizona State would be help his cause, but parting ways with the Cougars may be a foregone conclusion.

    Turner Gill, Kansas – Held Iowa State to 13, but couldn’t do more than that? Baylor is going to pummel you hardcore at home. Then again, it’s the last home game in Lawrence this year. Hopefully the Jayhawks can finally say “goodbye”.

    Randy Edsall, Maryland – They fired Ralph Friedgen for you? The uniform combinations are what you’re known for at this point.

    Jon Embree, Colorado – The Buffs fired Hawkins for this?

    Follow Brian on Twitter: @btbowling
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    Tags: houston, lsu, alabama, arkansas, oklahoma state, arizona state, auburn, georgia, oregon, stanford, houston nutt, paul wulff, turner gill, randy edsall, jon embree michigan, missouri, pittsburgh

  6. 2011 Oct 14

    COLLEGE FOOTBALL: A Look Around the Nation - Week Seven

    2,434 views

    By HuskerLocker

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    By Brian Towle

    Week seven has arrived in the 2011 season. While some match-ups this week should be entertaining, there’s a plethora of good games down the line. However, we can’t get to the future until we visit the present. Let's examine the week that was -

    Winners:

    Oklahoma – Questions, anyone? The woodshed built on the 50-yard line of the Cotton Bowl should remind you why this team is a legitimate national title contender.

    Virginia Tech – Survived a shootout with Miami in a game that both teams needed to win.

    Arkansas – As much as I dislike Petrino, they showed up and took care of business versus Auburn.

    Baylor – A good bounce back performance after the loss to Kansas State.

    Losers:

    Texas – Mack...sit David Ash. He’s not good.

    Fresno State – The Bulldogs were shelled at home before halftime on national TV. Not good.

    Minnesota – Destroyed...by Purdue? Really?

    Missouri – The Gary Pinkel Effect strikes again.

    Memphis, Arizona, Kansas, Colorado - Everyone hum along!

    On to this week’s meetings! All times Central:

    No. 11 Michigan at No. 23 Michigan State – (11 AM Saturday, ESPN)

    East Lansing is the site for this year's battle for the Paul Bunyan trophy. Last week, Michigan survived a shootout in suburban Chicago vs. Northwestern while the Spartans enjoyed a bye week.

    Michigan State comes into this game with a defense allowing only 10 points per game (No. 3 nationally). They will need to flex every bit of that defensive muscle against Michigan quarterback Denard Robinson and this high-octane Wolverine offense.

    As you examine this Michigan team, be sure to note that the Wolverine defense has only allowed 12 points per game (No. 8 nationally). Michigan State quarterback Kirk Cousins and wide receiver B.J. Cunningham will find ways to put points on the board, but look for "Shoelace" to help outscore the Spartans and beat little brother.

    No. 20 Baylor at No. 21 Texas A&M - (11:00 AM Saturday, FX)

    History suggests favoring the over on points scored (for entertainment purposes only, of course) in College Station this week, as RG3 and the Bears roll down Highway 290 to face the Fightin' Aggies. Both teams put up points last week as Baylor visited Iowa State and Texas A&M tripped to Texas Tech.

    For A&M, quarterback Ryan Tannenhill has to match Robert Griffin drive for drive this week, and he's capable of doing so. However, Texas A&M needs to complete a 60-minute game, and playing Baylor is an affair where A&M can't afford to let up again.

    Baylor defensive coordinator Phil Bennett’s unit has matured well for the Bears, and has a chance to put on a third-straight eye-opening performance. This is a must-win game for Baylor, as the loss to Kansas State allows no room for error in their remaining games. If the Aggies lose, look for the chirping for Mike Sherman’s job to get much louder.

    No. 6 Oklahoma State at No. 22 Texas – (2:30 PM Saturday, ABC Regional)

    The Cowboys visit Austin for a second straight year due to the shrinking of the Big 12. The Longhorns host Gundy’s crew following the lancing provided by the Oklahoma Sooners last week just three hours up I-35. Everyone knows about the Brandon Weeden to Justin Blackmon connection for Oklahoma State.

    For Texas, quarterback Case McCoy should be taking snaps for the Longhorns until death, injury or eligibility do they part. That's not to say David Ash isn’t a good quarterback, but last week's drubbing showed that McCoy is the man. It won’t matter who Texas starts though, because the Cowboys will have their pistols firing against a defense that can't stop the bullets all day long.

    No. 18 Arizona State at No. 9 Oregon - (9:15 PM Saturday, ESPN)

    The final big game of the day takes place at the hostile Autzen Stadium as the Sun Devils and Ducks meet for a major Pac-12 tussle. Last week, Oregon ran California out of the building while losing LaMichael James to a dislocated elbow. Meanwhile, Arizona State barely broke a sweat dismantling Utah.

    For the Sun Devils, quarterback Brock Osweiler has been solid for the offense. The defense has been alright giving up less than 20 points per game. Arizona State's defenders will need to feed off of linebacker Vontaze Burfict as the Ducks's offense has found its rhythm following the debacle in Arlington against LSU.

    Oregon’s offense is averaging a shade over 50 points per game, but will feel the effects of losing James for at least a few games. This will likely be a good game, but the Ducks are almost invincible at home. Look for Oregon to notch another win.

    Coaches on the Hot Seat:

    Mike Stoops, Arizona – WHOOPSIE! Looks like the axe finally fell on Stoops. When your only win is against Northern Arizona, and you’ve given up no less than 37 points per game to FBS teams, you're not doing well regardless of schedule strength. Adios, Mike. Maybe one of your brothers has a bunk or guest house to crash at.

    Turner Gill, Kansas – Did the state of Oklahoma get a deal on woodshed materials at Lowe’s last weekend? Oklahoma drags Texas behind one, and the Cowboys do the same with Kansas. The Sooners are coming. Be very afraid.

    Neil Callaway, UAB – Having the No. 120 offense and No. 96 in the FBS isn’t helping. Neither will the upcoming game against Tulsa.

    Houston Nutt, Mississippi – The good news: You didn’t lose last week! Bad news: You’re going to get bombed by Nick Saban and Alabama!

    Jeff Tedford, California – The Bears played well for a half against Oregon, but forgot to show up for the second. Then, Southern Cal topples them for the eighth straight time. Feel the heat.

    Kirk Ferentz, Iowa – All you can muster is a field goal versus Penn State? Your offensive genius got you three points? BAH!

    Follow Brian on Twitter: @btbowling
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    Tags: oklahoma, virginia tech, arkansas, baylor, texas, fresno state, minnesota, missouri, memphis, arizona, kansas, colorado, michigan, michigan state, texas a, m, oklahoma state, mike stoops, turner gill, neil callaway, houston nutt, jeff tedford, kirk ferentz

  7. 2011 Oct 06

    COLLEGE FOOTBALL: A Look Around the Nation - Week Six

    1,121 views

    By HuskerLocker

    Blog post image

    By Brian Towle

    Week six of the 2011 campaign has arrived. By the first week of October, there’s a pretty clear cut list of contenders and the pretenders. As always, you can’t look forward until you look back. Last week’s highs and low’s include but are not limited to -

    Winners:

    Arkansas - For being down so much, the Hogs showed some great resiliency and came back for their third straight win in Arlington over Texas A&M

    SMU – Headed across the DFW metro, they started fast, and hung on to earn a good program-building win against TCU.

    Kansas State – Played exceptionally well at home taking care of Baylor and officially being put on sleeper watch for the Big 12 title.

    Auburn – Needed the win against South Carolina to keep their fledgling SEC West hopes alive and got it.

    Losers:

    Texas A&M – Two weeks in a row they had a large cushion at halftime, two weeks in a row they lose the game by less than a score. Where’s the Wrecking Crew?

    Mississippi State – Another SEC loss against a team they should have taken care of at home (Georgia). Again, wake us up when the Bulldogs want to play some football.

    Virginia Tech - A field goal at home against Clemson? That is all the Hokies could do?

    Florida – Losing against Alabama wasn’t terrible, however the loss of quarterback John Brantley isn’t what they needed, then or now.

    Minnesota, Kansas, South Carolina, Purdue…welp:


    Now, on to this week’s shows! All times are central.

    No. 3 Oklahoma vs No. 11 Texas – (11:00 AM Saturday, ABC)

    Get your Fletcher’s Corny Dogs, Fried…whatever you want and your sweet tea, kids! Time to head on down to the Texas State Fair and catch up on this year’s version of the Red River Rivalry. For the first time in a while, both teams are ranked fairly high in the polls. You know about Oklahoma and their playmakers on offense (quarterback Landry Jones and wide receiver Ryan Broyles), but many people have not seen Texas on a national level yet.

    Texas has gotten better, primarily by using a two quarterback system with Chase McCoy and David Ash, however McCoy has been the one truly shining lately. With wide receiver Jaxon Shipley catching McCoy’s passes, it reminds Longhorn fans of the glory days they lived a few years back.

    Defensively, Texas has been better with Manny Diaz at the controls, but this will be their biggest test of the year to date. Mack and the Longhorns need this game to prove to the fan base that the program has pulled a 180 from last year’s 5-7 debacle. However, there is just enough of a talent gap that Oklahoma should be able to quiet the Texas offense enough to get the victory.

    No. 17 Florida at No. 1 LSU – (2:30 PM Saturday, CBS)

    This game has lost some of the luster that it would have had thanks to Florida quarterback John Brantley’s leg injury. In his place, highly touted freshman Jeff Driskel starts his very first game…at Death Valley in front of a national audience.

    While the Gators played well at times against Alabama last week, the game showed that Will Muschamp and offensive coordinator Charlie Weis still have work to do, and this game will show it even more. LSU just keeps plodding along, with Jarrett Lee at the helm of the offense and a defense that hasn’t given up much to anyone other than West Virginia. Look for LSU to win this one, but Florida will give it their all.

    Miami at No. 21 Virginia Tech – (2:30 PM Saturday, ABC Regional)

    Al Golden takes a neatly-pressed dress shirt and tie along with his Hurricanes into Blacksburg to face a Hokies squad that is not pleased with their performance against Clemson. Last week, Miami played tee ball against Bethune-Cookman, so they will be looking to gain some momentum against Virginia Tech. As Jacory Harris goes, so goes Miami.

    While Harris wasn’t great against Ohio State, he has played fairly well in the last couple of games. For the Hokies, running back David Wilson has been their rock, but quarterback Logan Thomas still hasn’t shown all that he can do yet. Tech needs him to take his play to another level for the Hokies to avoid a two game losing streak, excuses be damned.

    Miami can’t be trusted on the road, especially in conference play. Furthermore, Frank Beamer has to get his team realizing that a second conference loss in a row could be disaster for a once-promising season. Take the Hokies at home in this one.

    No. 15 Auburn at No. 10 Arkansas – (6 PM Saturday, ESPN)

    Auburn is the road underdog once again this week as they travel to Fayetteville to take on a Razorback team hoping to capitalize on the momentum gained from their come-from-behind win against Texas A&M.

    Last week, Auburn silenced the crowd at Williams-Brice Stadium in Columbia and took care of a very inconsistent South Carolina team. Auburn is not a squad that scores points easily, and doesn’t shut down the opposition very well either.

    One team that is superior to them in putting up points is these very Arkansas Razorbacks. For some reason, Auburn will stick around in this game until the end because that’s just what they have done this year. Arkansas’ chances are favorable, specifically since it’s a home game. However, do not be shocked if Auburn can keep it close and possibly squeak out a win.

    Coaches on the Hot Seat:

    Frank Spazani, Boston College – Things are not good for you right now, sir. Sitting at 1-4 and going to play Clemson doesn’t help. Scoring less than 21 points per game isn’t an encouraging statistic, either.

    Robb Akey, Idaho – You had a chance to shock the world with a defeat of Virginia in overtime last week. Being ranked somewhere in the 90s when it comes to scoring offense and defense doesn’t help. Louisiana Tech comes calling for you this week.

    Dan Mullen (Mississippi State), Neil Callaway (UAB) – Both teams are underperforming, so both teams naturally have to beat up on each other. Neither team can afford the loss, either.

    Mike Stoops, Arizona – You mange to score 41 against Southern California and it doesn’t matter come the end of the game. Absolutely shocking. You do have a chance for a win, this week, against...

    Mike Riley, Oregon State – Another ball game for the families. This game’s winner isn’t winning much, one would believe.

    Larry Porter, Memphis – The Tigers are currently running through an absolute gauntlet of a schedule with last week’s toughie against Middle Tennesee State and this week’s bout against the monsters known as the Rice Owls.

    Danny Hope, Purdue – What Notre Dame did to you last Saturday was rated “M.” Whether “M” was for mature or moronic, who knows?

    Follow Brian on Twitter: @btbowling
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    Tags: arkansas, smu, auburn, texas am, mississippi state, virginia tech, florida, minnesota, kansas, south carolina, purdue, oklahoma, texas, lsu, miami, frank spazani, robb akey, dan mullen, mike stoops, mike riley, neil callaway, larry porter, danny hope

  8. 2011 Sep 28

    COLLEGE FOOTBALL: A Look Around the Nation - Week Five

    5,473 views

    By HuskerLocker

    Blog post image

    By Brian Towle

    It’s hard to believe that there are football games happening outside of Madison this week (GASP!). This is where you find out what else is going down and where it’s going down at. Last week’s winners and losers include -

    Winners:

    Georgia: Congrats Bulldogs, you kept your heads out of the guillotine just long enough by embarrassing someone else for a change. Then again, considering it was Ole Miss, that wasn’t a difficult project.

    Oklahoma State: You battled back from trailing Texas A&M early on the road to pull out a big win. Take care of everything before December, and you’ll have your opportunity to make the big time.

    LSU: The Tigers took the potential of getting ambushed in Morgantown very well. Les Miles’ offense bailed out the defense for once, and The Hat just keeps on winning.

    Arizona State: Save the Illinois stumble, the Sun Devils have been the biggest surprise out of the Pac-12 so far this year. They had a fine win against Team Kiffykins.

    Losers:

    Pittsburgh: For the second week in a row, the Panthers snared defeat from the jaws of victory. The Big East won’t feel bad for them at all though.

    Toledo: The Rockets were flat out jobbed by an incompetent officiating crew from ref to replay official. What an awful way to lose a game.

    Arkansas: The Razorbacks had their chance, and proved they were in over their heads again. If things don’t improve this week…well, let’s wait on that thought.

    West Virginia: A good performance by quarterback Geno Smith, but the Mountaineers had no answer for LSU’s offense. WVU will get better though, at least if no one is faking injuries.

    Ole Miss, Memphis, NC State: This is fitting:



    Onto this week’s dandies! All time CDT, of course.

    No. 14 Texas A&M vs. No. 18 Arkansas – (11:00 AM Saturday, ESPN)

    Yours truly will be in Jerryworld to watch the first SEC conference game for the Aggies as they take on the fighting Hogs. Both teams lost last week, Texas A&M with a disappointing second half versus Okie State, while Arkansas really wasn’t ever in the game against Alabama. Arkansas quarterback Trevor Wilson was efficient last week, but nothing spectacular. “Efficient” isn’t going to beat Saban’s team.

    While A&M doesn’t have the defense that Nick Saban possesses, the Aggies are stout. Running back Ronnie Wingo, Jr. has to put up better numbers than last week for Arkansas to improve. Quarterback Ryan Tannehill was alright last week, but RB Cyrus Gray wasn’t and didn’t help the A&M effort once they started to struggle.

    Don’t think that head coach Mike Sherman didn’t notice the success Alabama had running the ball with Trent Richardson. Arkansas has won the two games against A&M in Arlington so far, but there’s no reason to think that the Aggies won’t take this one. Texas A&M’s defense will be the difference in 2011.

    No. 15 Baylor at Kansas State – (2:30 PM Saturday, ABC Regional)

    Who'd have thought that this game would have Big 12 conference championship implications at the beginning of the season? Baylor quarterback Robert Griffin III has more touchdowns (13) than incompletions (12) this year, and has shown that he’s definitely worthy of Heisman consideration. Baylor rolls into Manhattan, Kansas to play Bill Snyder’s Wildcats, who pulled off a semi-shocking, convincing win against Miami (FL).

    Junior quarterback Collin Kline hasn’t been great for the Wildcats, but he’s going to have to start putting together longer drives to keep RG3 off the field. The Kansas State defense is only giving up 10 points per game, but it was given a stern test against the Canes and the Bears could run roughshod over it.

    Look for Griffin to struggle a touch more than he has, but he will still have a great game and Baylor should win setting up an October with some big games for the Bears to prove they belong in the upper tier of the Big 12.

    No. 13 Clemson at No. 11 Virginia Tech – (5 PM Saturday, ESPN2)

    A potential ACC title game preview goes down in Lane Stadium Saturday evening when Dabo Sweeney takes the surging Tigers to face Frank Beamer’s Hokies. Clemson quarterback Tajh Boyd has played well for the Tigers, who are off to a fantastic start. Running back David Wilson has been the star for the Hokies on offense, but Virginia Tech hasn’t faced a true challenge thus far.

    While Bud Foster’s defense has been great for the Hokies, Virginia Tech has been in much tighter games than expected. Clemson has only played at home during their great start, and this is one of two major road tests for the Tigers.

    With the wave of momentum that Clemson is riding, their chances are better than people think, and it’d be no surprise if they walk out of Blacksburg with a win. If the Hokies do go down, they can’t lick their wounds for long, as the Miami Hurricanes will be visiting next week.

    No. 3 Alabama at No. 12 Florida – (7 PM Saturday, CBS)

    The other Game of the Week takes place in the warmth of The Swamp. Nick Saban goes from one big game to another and Will Muschamp finally gets to be the head man in a big time SEC conference showdown. The Crimson Tide comes off a game where running back Trent Richardson played out of his mind again, and a swarming defense took the wood to a respectable Arkansas offense.

    Florida’s offense has evolved into an unstoppable monster under offensive coordinator Charlie Weis. Running backs Chris Rainey and Jeff Demps are the fastest one-two punch in the SEC, and quarterback John Brantley has taken his game to another level. These two teams have rock solid defenses, so this one will come down to who can win a three-plus hour chess match.

    Saban pulls everything out of his kids in this type of atmosphere. Can Muschamp coach at his level? The game will be low scoring. The winner’s tough to call, but Alabama seems to be the appropriate lean right now. Check the weekly Husker Locker predictions to see who is ultimately chosen.

    Coaches on the Hot Seat:

    Mike Locksley, New Mexico: Whoops! The axe finally fell on Mike this weekend after a “recruit” stole a car registered to Locksley and his wife. It didn’t help that this young man was underage and hit the sauce hard. If this was the final straw for Mike, that’s a sad statement from the New Mexico athletic department. Such is life though, and the interstate game vs. New Mexico State is here. For the families, folks, for the families.

    Houston Nutt, Ole Miss: In a game where the loser may have gotten fired on the way back to the showers, you no-showed again in the second half. Also, you didn’t even talk to the media after the game. Instead, you send out offensive coordinator David Lee to take the bullet for you. Do you think Fresno State will care if you feel bad and pull punches?

    Tom O’Brien, North Carolina State: How’s Russell Wilson treating you? Wait, nevermind.

    Mike Riley, Oregon State: A win over Burfict’s boys in the desert? Not likely.

    Danny Hope, Purdue: Beating Notre Dame would save your job for the season. Not beating them would be both terrible and is expected.

    Larry Porter, Memphis: Really? SMU runs you out of your own stadium?

    Mike Stoops, Arizona: In a shocker, the Wildcats were beat down by Oregon and will be beat down by Southern Cal. Why? Because that’s the norm for Arizona football.

    Follow Brian on Twitter: @btbowling
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    Tags: georgia, oklahoma state, lsu, arizona state, pittsburgh, toledo, arkansas, west virginia, ole miss, memphis, north carolina state, texas a, m, baylor, kansas state, clemson, virginia tech, alabama, florida, mike locksley, houston nutt, tom obrien, mike riley

  9. 2011 Sep 21

    COLLEGE FOOTBALL: A Look Around the Nation - Week Four

    2,046 views

    By HuskerLocker

    Blog post image

    By Brian Towle

    As the season officially turns to fall, time once again to take a look at last week’s winners and losers, and a look forward to this week’s games.

    To start us off again, the biggest gains and losses from last week

    WINNERS:

    Oklahoma – Went into a tough environment against a gritty team and found a way to win. Time to focus on running the Big 12 as it currently exists.

    Notre Dame – They needed a big game versus Michigan State and got it.

    Clemson – Things came together for the Dabo gang versus Auburn. Don’t celebrate too long though Tigers (the ones that won), as things don’t get easier.

    Miami (FL) – Very impressive how the Canes took control of that game against Ohio State.

    LOSERS:

    Arizona – Another big game for the Cats under Mike Stoops, another egg laid. Stanford ran them out of their own house.

    Michigan State - What? Why? Where did you go, D’Antonio?

    Mississippi State - That’s the best the Bulldogs can do on offense? Dan Mullen, you didn’t even give your team a chance. Let us all know when you think you can be relevant without ducking out on the big stage again.

    Ole Miss, Kansas, Pittsburgh, and Auburn - May I introduce napalm to erase those bad memories?



    To this week’s watch list! All times Central:

    No. 14 Arkansas at No. 3 Alabama – (2:30 PM Saturday, CBS)

    Another week in the life of head coach Nick Saban and the Crimson Tide, another ranked SEC opponent coming into Bryant-Denny Stadium for their enjoyment. The Arkansas Razorbacks come to Tuscaloosa for a afternoon meet and greet. Head coach Bobby Petrino brings in an offense that is ranked No. 8 in the FBS in both passing and points per game. The most surprising stat is that Arkansas ranks No. 17 in points allowed, giving up a hair over 12 per game.

    Granted, their games haven’t been against teams better than Missouri State and Troy, so take those numbers for what they’re worth. The Tide is ranked No. 2 in scoring defense, allowing less than a touchdown per game, so this should be a great matchup for both teams. The fact that Petrino has junior quarterback Tyler Wilson and not All-SEC Ryan Mallet will be the difference here.

    Mallett was adept at making necessary passes, and Wilson won’t have seen a defense this good all year. Saban lives for these high-pressure home games, and Petrino tends to field a team that folds like a cheap tent when away from War Memorial Stadium. This contest shouldn’t be too high scoring, but Alabama will win comfortably. If Arkansas does lose, they can’t hang their heads for long, as a battle with Texas A&M looms the next week.

    No. 7 Oklahoma St. at No. 8 Texas A&M – (2:30 PM Saturday, ABC)

    This game will crown the main challenger for Oklahoma’s Big 12 championship bid. The Cowboys had a very late, interesting game against Tulsa last week, while the Aggies wore out Idaho at home. Two of the top three passers in both the conference and FBS will be on display, as Oklahoma State’s Brandon Weeden goes will be looking for All-American wide out Justin Blackmon. Quarterback Ryan Tannehill will be taking center stage for the Aggies.

    While both offenses are stellar, the Aggies’ defense is doing their part, only giving up 10 points per contest, although they’re just two games into the season. The difference will be a Cowboy defense that looked shaky at times against Louisiana-Lafayette and Tulsa.

    Head coach Mike Gundy’s team doesn’t fear anyone, and they seem to play well with an “us against the world” mentality. This game will be close no matter what, and it’s very tough to call a winner. Regardless, the loser is not out of the conference race, but they’ll need help.

    No. 11 Florida State at No. 21 Clemson (2:30 PM Saturday, ESPN, ESPN3, etc.)

    The ACC conference slate kicks off for both teams with a visit to Death Valley for the Seminoles. Last week, Clemson played a very tough game versus Auburn, while Florida State gave Oklahoma all they could handle. FSU Quarterback E.J. Manuel has a bruised shoulder, and is questionable at best. His dual-threat abilities gave the Sooners fits, but if he isn’t ready to go, expect Clint Trickett to air it out, as the Noles proved their running game is far from effective.

    Clemson doesn’t really impress on the stat sheet, but they’ve played very well as a unit. Quarterback Tajh Boyd and running back Andre Ellington have been impressive at times for the Tigers, but in order to win this game and grab a hold of the sit at the head of the ACC Atlantic’s table, Clemson has to prove they can stop the pass. Look for the Tigers to come away with a somewhat ugly, yet convincing win, and for Florida State to go back to the drawing board.

    No. 2 LSU at No. 16 West Virginia (7:00 PM Saturday, ABC)

    The final game of the night will be live from Morgantown, when the Bayou Bengals travel to the Smoky Mountains. LSU comes into the game with their #2 ranking, but they haven’t been truly tested by anyone yet. Quarterback Jarrett Lee has managed the offense well enough to let the defense do their thing against teams like Oregon and Mississippi State.

    West Virginia comes into the game with the high-flying Dana Holgorson offense that has been more misses than hits through the season so far. While the Mountaineers’ offense, led by quarterback Geno Smith has been good, but not as great as it can be, the defense has been a tad tepid and that’s being kind. Don’t forget, this is the same team that had Maryland driving for the go ahead score late in the game last week.

    While this should be the biggest test for the LSU defense to date by far, the offense should be able to put points on the board, again without Lee doing much. West Virginia will score, but they won’t be able to be effective enough. LSU should prevail once again, but the score should be closer than people may give the Mountaineers credit for.

    Either way, it will be the most festive in-game atmosphere you may ever see, as the allowance of alcohol sales inside the stadium should bode well for the both Tiger and Mountaineer fans who likes to enjoy the occasional adult beverage…or three.

    Coaches on the Hot Seat

    Turner Gill, Kansas – That was bad, Turner. Georgia Tech just destroyed your charges. Texas Tech arrives in two weeks, and your Jayhawks had better be ready.

    Houston Nutt, Ole Miss – Vanderbilt ran you off the train tracks, sir! That’s right, Vanderbilt! I’d expect to see you bomb this week yet again, but you get to go against..

    Mark Richt, Georgia - Georgia vs. Ole Miss this week in Oxford. At least if Richt loses, he may not be fired in the tunnel going back to the locker room after the game. Houston Nutt on the other hand...

    Rick Neuheisel - UCLA, Mike Riley - Oregon State – UCLA vs. Oregon State. The winner gets to live. For how long, who knows? At least the players’ families will be watching.

    Mike Stoops, Arizona – This is getting old, sir. Your team wasn’t prepared and you were outcoached..again. Oregon comes to town this week, so I recommend drafting excuses right now.

    BONUS: Dan Beebe - Big 12 Commissioner (for now) – It was really your fault after all, wasn’t it Dan?

    Follow Brian on Twitter: @btbowling
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    Tags: oklahoma, florida state, miami, ohio state, notre dame, arizona, michigan state, mississippi state, ole miss, kansas, pittsburgh, auburn, arkansas, alabama, oklahoma state, texas a, m, clemson, lsu, west virginia, turner gill, houston nutt, mark richt, mike riley, dan beebe

  10. 2011 Aug 03

    Husker Heartbeat 8/1: Familiar Foes, Turner's X-Factor and the Entire Nation to Become Husker Nation?

    3,778 views

    By HuskerLocker

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    A daily dose of what's new in Husker Nation from Monday through Friday:

    - Nebraska adds two opponents to future schedules; one being a very familiar foe

    - The versatile Jared Crick is far from limited on defense

    - Freshman Jamal Turner could be the playmaker that Nebraska has been missing

    - Why the nation (not just Husker Nation) should support the Big Red's first 2011 Big Ten campaign

    - The "Heroes Game" concept is a good idea

    - The Bo Pelini Foundation will now be hosting the Big Red Breakfasts

    Follow us on Twitter: @huskerlocker
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    Tags: jamal turner, jared crick, south dakota state, arkansas state

  11. 2009 Jun 30

    LP Exclusive: Wright Waters Audio

    573 views

    By HuskerLocker

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    Listen to the interview we conducted with Sun Belt Commissioner Wright Waters by using your 60-day free trial of Husker Locker Pass!

    Tags: football, sun belt, wright waters, podcasts, hlss, locker pass, florida atlantic, louisiana lafayette, arkansas state

  12. 2009 Jun 24

    6/24 podcast: Ah the joys of pay-per-view...

    521 views

    By HuskerLocker

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    Enjoy today's podcast for free. Listen to other podcasts via a Locker Pass. Click here for more information.

    Please enable Javascript, or download the podcast here.

    Tags: podcasts, florida atlantic, louisiana lafayette, arkansas state

  13. 2009 Jun 02

    6/2 Podcast: A Ripoff? Or Just Desserts?

    457 views

    By HuskerLocker

    Blog post image

    Is Nebraska getting jobbed by the Big 12 Conference for not selecting the Florida Atlantic and Arkansas State games for television, or are the Huskers getting fairly penalized for scheduling Sun Belt teams? Insight that may surprise you. Get it with a Locker Pass today.

    Tags: florida atlantic, arkansas state, 2009

  14. 2009 Apr 14

    OPPONENT REPORT: Red Wolves Rising

    1,051 views

    By HuskerLocker

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    As Nebraska’s 2009 spring football season winds down, Husker Locker takes a glance at what NU’s opponents – as well as the Big 12 and the nation as a whole - are doing this spring.

    Reports from Florida Atlantic, Louisiana-Lafayette, Arkansas State and Iowa State will be free to all members of Husker Locker. Additional reports on the rest of Nebraska’s foes – and the rest of the Big 12 – will be available via Locker Pass. Enjoy!

    Team: Arkansas State (6-6 overall)
    Head Coach: Steve Roberts
    Plays Nebraska: Sept. 12
    Spring Game: April 18

    Progress So Far: Arkansas State’s practice schedule has roughly followed Nebraska’s timeline this spring, with a few major scrimmages to punctuate the end of each practice week. Thus far, the offense and defense have taken turns beating the other. ASU quarterback Corey Leonard, a mobile, strong-armed kid who had an offer from Ole Miss out of high school, accounted for more than 2,800 total yards last year, and has hit some big passes in spring thus far. His favorite target has been junior college transfer Jahbari McLennan. The Red Wolves return their leading rusher Reggie Arnold, but he may be supplanted by upstart Don Jones.

    A concern would be the offensive line, which must replace three starters from a bunch that broke total yardage records last year.

    On defense, ASU boasts one of the nation’s best defensive ends in Alex Carrington, who finished with 53 tackles and 10.5 sacks last year. Arkansas State was adept at forcing turnovers last season -24, seven more than NU – and has continued that trend in spring, forcing seven in two scrimmages.

    Standout Player: Other than Carrington, who could start anywhere in the Big 12, it has to be sophomore linebacker Demario Davis, who has two interceptions, a fumble recovery and two sacks in two scrimmages. He’s reportedly a big-time hitter, too. Sounds like one of those southern sleepers who ends up at a smaller school but makes a big splash in the NFL.

    What You May Not Know: Arkansas State has one of the nation’s better kickers in Josh Arauco, who made 17-of-20 attempts last year, including 4-5 from the 40-49 range. Arauco has yet to miss this spring, hitting four attempts in the most previous scrimmage.

    Keep An Eye On: Jones, a speedy long strider who got a late look from SEC schools after he committed to Arkansas State. ASU likes to run the ball out the spread, and Jones fits the bill physically.

    Opponent Reports: Kansas, Oklahoma, Missouri, Kansas State

    Tags: springtime with bo, opponent reports, arkansas state

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