Welcome to the Husker Monday Marinade. Each week we will take a unique look at the week that was, the week that will be and the opinions that will drive the debate about Nebraska Football. Please feel free to add to the conversation below, share on Facebook and Tweet it!
Lets talk a little bit about expectation.
Yes, the sweet music of the Husker fight song played so loud, proud, and often, that fans turned boredom into the most coordinated wave in Memorial Stadium history.
But in the background was the faint, haunting sound of 2010 South Dakota State, and 2011 Fresno State. Like a tune you know as well as your alarm clock and just as annoying. Where Nebraska struggled to get out of bed, auto-piloted through the day, yet still got the W.
There might have been faint expectation that the Huskers would play to their competition again, because they have proven they can. But not this time. They did as they were supposed to do. No snooze button. Straight to work and job done well.
So what now? The preseason is over. We expected to be 4-0. We expected to have full momentum. We expected smooth sailing. But UCLA happened, and I’ll bet after beating Nebraska, the Bruins surely didn’t expect to lose to Oregon State last Saturday. It happens, expect it.
But does this really change our expectations for the season? Don’t you feel like we could beat the world after that Idaho State game? It’s an easy thought to have after such a virtuoso performance.
And given all that has happened to the Big Ten teams that we expected to give the Huskers a challenge, are we afraid of anyone in the Big Ten? Is Nebraska now the front-runner to win the conference, and not just in the marinated minds of Husker nation?
It’s not just the fans talking about it anymore. We were the only ones who legitimately expected Nebraska to be in the Big Ten championship game at the beginning of the season. Now here we are, despite the UCLA game, and even the experts are expecting Nebraska to get a shot at Rose redemption. The following is from ESPN.com’s Brian Bennett and Adam Rittenberg:
“We need to project somebody from the Big Ten to win the league and make the Rose Bowl. Michigan State’s passing offense is too anemic. Michigan is too sloppy and still too reliant on Denard Robinson. Ohio State is ineligible. Wisconsin still has offensive issues. Northwestern and Minnesota are both 4-0 but probably not ready. Purdue would have to take a major step up.
So why not Nebraska, which we know at least has a seriously potent offense? We’re not projecting Nebraska to the Rose Bowl because of anything that happened against Idaho State, mind you (well, except maybe for Rex Burkhead‘s return). There just isn’t a better candidate right now.”
We’re in by default, as of now. Hey, we’ll take it.
Heading into this weekend, everything about this Wisconsin game screams out Nebraska wins by 20. We are seeking revenge. We are home, under the lights, in prime time. We have a five-headed dragon in the backfield with Taylor Martinez, Burkhead, Ameer Abdullah, Braylon Heard and Imani Cross, all of whom are capable of 100 rushing yards and a touchdown. We have a QB in Martinez completing 70% of his passes, like he told us he would (though we didn’t really expect that). We’re scoring 48.5 points per game and rushing for 300+.
Wisconsin is playing horrible, despite a 3-1 record. Their offense is in shambles, ranking lower than 100th in both scoring and passing. And finally the Badgers may not have Monte Ball, their Heisman hopeful running back who became concussed against UTEP. We expect that perhaps we flip the script on the 48-17 Badger beating from last year.
But what if we don’t? What kind of reaction can be expected of Nebraska fans? Does the local radio show, 1620 The Zone, host “Big Red Overreaction” right after the games because they expect Husker fan to be rational? We do overreact, and sometimes we over expect. We expect to win always, and when we lose, we expect the sun not to rise on Sunday. And damn it when it does.
So, now we expect to win the Big Ten, and so do others. So lets watch them do it, and embrace the sweet sounds of “Hail Varsity” and “Dear Old Nebraska U” and see just how closely reality matches expectation.
*Cover image courtesy of Huskers.com