SI.com college football writer Stewart Mandel shares his commentary, analysis and random tidbits on the latest developments around the country.
10/13/2007 04:21:00 PM
Saturday Observations Part I
Oklahoma State handed Nebraska its worst home loss since 1958.
So what do you have to say now, Steve Pederson?
For four years, Nebraska’s egotistic athletic director has pledged his undying faith to head coach Bill Callahan, despite little-to-no evidence the ex-NFL retread would ever return the once-proud Huskers to national prominence. Pederson even went so far as to give the divisive coach a contract extension at the beginning of this season.
In return, all Callahan’s team has done is take a series of gigantic steps backward: getting blown out by USC and Missouri, giving up 600 yards to Ball State, and now, in its most embarrassing outing to date Saturday, losing 45-14 to 3-3 Oklahoma State -- itself a mediocre team that has been routed by Georgia and Troy. Sam Keller, the vaunted Arizona State transfer who was to take Callahan’s West Coast offense to the next level, threw for 127 yards. And the Huskers’ 96th-ranked defense did its best to ensure they slip into the 100s next week, allowing 552 yards.
Nebraska’s 5-6 disaster in Callahan’s debut season was supposed to be the program’s low point. Not even close. That temporary setback could at least be rationalized away as a necessary speed bump in Callahan’s reinvention of the program. There’s simply no excuse for fielding one of the nation’s worst defenses -- and one of the Big 12’s worst teams -- having had four years to stockpile his preferred breed of talent.
The majority of Nebraska fans’ discontent this season has been directed at defensive coordinator Kevin Cosgrove. At this point, all but the most blindly optimistic surely realize the problem runs much deeper, and that it won’t be fixable until either the stubborn Pederson finally gives up on his grand Callahan experiment or, if he doesn’t, for someone higher up to pull the plug on Pederson.
• I probably should have seen Illinois’ loss to Iowa coming. I noticed a whole bunch of “Ron Zook validation” stories popping up around the country this week, which seemed a little presumptuous. Yes, he’d led the formerly forlorn Illini into the national rankings, but this is still a young team with a shaky quarterback, both of which caught up to them Saturday. An ineffective Juice Williams had to be pulled for backup Eddie McGee, but McGee fared no better against a very good Iowa defense. It’s a testament to the Hawkeyes’ own offensive ineptitude that they still barely escaped with the win, 10-6.
• So now who’s the second-best team in the Big Ten? Is there such a thing? There will likely be many ready to anoint Michigan following the Wolverines’ 48-21 thumping of Purdue, but I’m not sure how much of a litmus test that is anymore. It will certainly help Michigan’s cause if Penn State beats Wisconsin today, though the Nittany Lions’ offense is more explosive now without suspended tailback Austin Scott than it was when Penn State faced Michigan.
But then again, perhaps today was the day Chad Henne and the Wolverines finally got their act together on offense. Mike Hart left the game with an ankle injury but didn’t appear to be hurt too seriously while jumping around and cheering on the sideline in street clothes during the second half.
• I guess top-10 darling USF got sick of hearing about how badly they “struggled” in last week’s 35-23 win over Florida Atlantic. The Bulls went out and hammered a respectable UCF team (the same one Texas barely escaped) 64-12 on Saturday. The latest victim of USF’s swarming defense? The nation's leading rusher, Kevin Smith, who the Bulls held to just 56 yards -- 116 below his average.
• Finally, kudos to Alabama for surviving what seemed like a sure trap game at Ole Miss, 27-24. Of course, one of these days, Ed Orgeron’s team is going to need to start winning some of these close SEC games.
And kudos to my Northwestern friend, Hank, who, when I left the sports bar Blondie’s with Minnesota up 35-14, guaranteed me the Wildcats would come back. It took two overtimes and a missed two-point conversion, but Northwestern did in fact win 49-48 (and I of course didn’t see any of it). Wildcats QB C.J. Bacher has thrown for nearly 1,000 combined yards in consecutive overtime-shootout victories. Who says you can’t find exciting programming on the Big Ten Network?
Roll Tide! Talking about winning close games in the 4th, we have 2 more this year then we ever did with Shula. Yes, Bama should have put the game away before then, but at least JPW put up a complete game for the 1st time of the season. The team will put together a complete game soon, and I can't wait to see who it's against. Lots of positives to start building on in 2000-Saban
Stewart you could not have said it any more perfect. The only aspect of Nebraska Athletics that Peterson has not messed up is the Volleyball team. Peterson needs to be fired, Callahan needs to go and lets bring in a young exciting coach who might actually game plan for an opponent. I have never been so embarrassed to be Nebraskan.
It makes no sense on what Pederson was thinking on giving Callahan that extension. He didn't even wait to see what the season would turn out like. Now we still have die-hards out there that will sell-out Memorial Stadium every weekend, but it still needs to be addressed. Boosters need to step up and start taking action.
I've been a Husker fan since the mid 50's. I haven't missed a home game since 1958 when I got grounded by Dad after high school homecoming.
I'm terribly disappointed and disgusted by how the football situation has been handled for 4 years. I feel the worst for the coaches who were brought in to upgrade the program by the previous staff, and then fired after one year. I can't imagine the stress on their families having to relocate twice in two years. Hey, at least Bo Pelini landed on his feet--hope the rest did too.
A statistic announced by one of the radio announcers (who is under pressure to lighten up by [probably by "Smilin' Steve]). In 40 years pre-present staff the huskers have had 40 points scored against them 7 times. In the last 3.5 years they have had 40 points scored on them 9 times.
Stew-you forgot to mention Ohio State's spanking of, uhmm, Kent State! Clearly a team that's played no-one to date (after this weekend, not one of their previous opponents will most likely not be ranked) should maintain a firm grasp of that #3 spot, provided LSU and Cal come out with wins today.
Stewart, please at least get a photo of OKLAHOMA State posted on your justifiable condemnation of today's Husker effort, rather than IOWA State, who we somehow beat in spite of the horrific coaching efforts of Callahan and Cosgrove. Fire Pedersen, Callahan, and Cosgrove. Back in Turner Gill from Buffalo - he's winning with virtually no player talent this year. We need a Coach AND AD who bleeds HUSKER RED, not MONEY GREEN like Pedersen and Callahan! Good grief, I've watched the Huskers since the mid 1960s, and this is the ultimate low point, it's become humiliating to admit to being a Husker fan, can you believe it?? Utterly embarassing. Come Home, Dr. Tom, take over the AD job!
Last week's loss to Missouri was one of the most embarrassing defeats in Nebraska football history. All teams lose games but one can understand if they try their best but Nebraska did not.
There was no team spirit, enthusiasm, excitement, leadership or coaching to be seen. They are walking around with blank faces like they just had a collective and non-reversible concussion.
Today it was Oklahoma St. 45, Nebraska 14.
Missouri kept running the same plays and no Nebraska defensive player was either nearby or capable of stopping them. Pathetic.
Oklahoma St. just picked up where Missouri left off last week.
Do the suffering Nebraska fans a favor: Concede the rest of the games this season and abandon football.
Nebraska football no longer is a consistent, competent and inspired program. It likely will never will again with Callahan, and the incompetents who hired, him running the team into the ground.
Someone who can should fire Callahan, Peterson and anyone else involved in this misguided episode. Too bad lynching is illegal.
There no longer is a Nebraska football "program" which implies planning and organization.
Their no longer is Nebraska team spirit or cohesiveness
Name another team that is playing "West Coast" football and winning. I cannot think of even one.
There are some good players on the team but a few offensive and defensive players cannot win alone. If the offensive line does not protect the quarterback and runners, they will not score points.
The defensive squad—long the proud core of the teams that won in the past—should now be called the black and blue squad and not disgrace the blackshirts of the past.
I grew up in Nebraska and I’m in my 60s. Based on the team’s dismal performance since Callahan took over, I doubt that I’ll live long enough to ever see a 10-game winning Nebraska football season again. 10 losses is more likely. Sad, but inevitable.
As of today, I no longer admit that I grew up in Nebraska let alone having attended the school. I’ve watched my last Nebraska football game until Callahan, Peterson and the rest are fired. If they get any worse, they will never be seen again on TV.
Solich’s 10 game win seasons—although not exciting— were much better that this. If his teams simply threw some more passes, they would have remained competitive. Nebraska is NOT competitive now and may never be again.
With the NCAA's limited scholarships ruling, good players will go elsewhere where they can be on a winning team. Why would any decent player want to join this year's team--or next year's?
If the better Nebraska players jump ship and go to other teams I certainly would not blame them. They deserve better treatment and leadership that could be found in the top 100 teams.
Everyone falls down. Look at Bama, Boomer Sooner, and Notre Dame. Any of their fans will tell you, there were dark dark years in their storied progam's histories. 'Bama had been essentially a non-factor since their NC in the early 90's. Oklahoma was rediculously bad for most of the 90's. USC was also a bottom feeder for most of the 90's. Each of these progams has recovered, Nebraska will too. So will Michigan. So will Notre Dame. The fan base simply will not allow them to remain mediocre forever. As a Nebraska fan since a very young age, I can tell you that we, as fans, have been utterly spoiled. In the 90's, Nebraska lost at home twice (Washington, Texas). The Huskers went 60-3 in a five year span. Did anyone realistically think that this would be the norm forever? Yes, Nebraska is down right now. Far, far down. Watching this game, I felt that the players had totally given up on this season. The lack of emotion was stunning, and the quiet of the numb spectators in Memorial Stadium was deafening. At least there were few to no Boo Birds. All I can say is, take heart Husker fans. Things won't always be so dark. Ask any Oklahoma or Texas fan....thing will get better.
how long did OU give Blake as head coach...too long huh..Great recruiter, poor HC..that's what we husker fans are feeling. The ship, in this state, will not straighten itself out. We are not willing to wait 10 years. AS fans, we are being led to believe, year after year things will get better. All we hear about is how great our recruiting class is blah blah blah..now what?..We are no better off than year 2 of callahans tenure. Pederson hung his hat on Cally..they all need to go. If Pedey is allowed to stay, we will NEVER be able to get a quality coach to "Restore the Order" pffft.
I don't have anything to say about what Mandel wrote. I just want to say something to all you SEC fans - LSU supposedly has the best defense in the country. HA HA! No way that OSU would give up 43 to Kentucky. They probably wouldn't give up any. SEC is all hype this year. And a running team like LSU would not stand a chance against either OSU or Michigan.
Kristy - where does one begin? First of all, the 43 points were in triple overtime. It was 27 points in regulation. Secondly, last I checked, Kentucky had a pretty good offense. Third - and most important - Michigan is a joke (nice D against Oregon!) and OSU hasn't played a decent team all year, and isn't scheduled against anyone currently in the top 20. Apparently you didn't get the memo about the Big 10 being the weakest major conference.
I agree that Pederson must be removed as AD and Callahan must also go. I don't think either of them understand the pride that all Nebraskans take in the football team. But that being said I am sick of hearing fans say that they are embarrassed to be a Husker Fan and have stopped supporting the team. If you are a true fan you support the team thru good and bad. So if you are jumping off the bandwagon don't come back when the Huskers start winning again!!!!!!!
No I got the memo - over and over from every SEC fan. I'm saying the memo was wrong. LSU is not the best team in the country and I am sick of sportwriters anointing the national champion 1/4 of the way through the season. Ohio State was anointed last year and look what happened. And yes I do think that LSU would have problems playing agains the defense of OSU, and probably Michigan. And no I definitely do not think the SEC is the best conference, I believe it is mostly hype based on a fluky national championship game from last year.
Kristy - I am no fan of LSU, and LSU may not be the best team in the country -- but if you are trying to pass that title to OSU or MICHIGAN (lol) then you are just an idiot. And that title game last year was NO fluke. (Also NOT a Florida fan.)
"No way that OSU would give up 43 to Kentucky. They probably wouldn't give up any."
What do you have to base this on? Their big wins against Akron and Kent?
"LSU would not stand a chance against either OSU or Michigan."
Look, OSU is a solid team and has a decent shot at running the table. But if they do, it'll be against a bunch of average teams. They play no one on the level of Cal, LSU or even West Virginia. As for Michigan, they were embarrassed their first two games and have since played ok ball against fairly weak competition. LSU, however, beat VTech, SC and Florida, all of whom were top 10 teams at the time. Even with the loss to Kentucky, LSU would still be favored if they were to play OSU, and would probably be a 10-13 pt favorite over Michigan.
While I personally think (and this is me as an OSU and Big 10 fan) that it's still too early to tell about OSU, I don't think you can count them out. I think, like many teams, they generally rise to the level of their opponent (with the exception of their choke against Florida last year). And while I think the SEC is strong this year, I also think that Big 10 teams will prove in the bowls to be better this year than everyone outside the Big 10 seems to think. But LSU is clearly a very good team.
That said, I've gotten into enough conference strength pissing contests on these blogs to realize it just ain't worth it...frankly there are way more important things going on, so I'll simply wish everyone the best of luck with their seasons, and see you in the bowls!
Samantha12: I am not an idiot, and I am also not trying to pass the title to Michigan - they will be lucky to go to a good bowl. And in my opinion they would present matchup problems for LSU. I just have to gloat a little given how obnoxious SEC fans have been to the Big Ten, Pac10, Big East, etc. all year. BTW - you say who you don't like but who is your team. (let me guess, someone in the SEC)
John: Fair enough about the Michigan/LSU point spread, but LSU favored over Ohio State on neutral field. No team whose strength is running the football would be favored over OSU. Now Florida on the other hand, I think they still present match-up problems for OSU this year and might favor them.
I completely agree with you. OSU is surprisingly good and could very well be in the national title game this year. For all we know right now, OSU is the best team in the country. My point is that we don't know one way or another because they don't play any elite teams all year.
I've been saying since DAY 1 that Callahan is not the answer. His team is poorly coached and now uninspired. I didn't get to see the game but heard it on the radio and it seems they quit after the 1st quarter. I'm a NU fan but an Okie State alum so it doesn't bother me that the Cowboys put a whupping on 'em but a bit sad too because Nebraska's fans and citizens are very classy and nice people and they deserve better. Is it too late to coax Dr. Tom out of retirement?
As an LSU fan, I'm kinda offended at people automatically talking down the SEC just because we lost a highly contested game. We didn't lose to a Div. IIA school, or a 41 point underdog, we lost to the number 17 team with a heisman contender QB.
There is a lot of conference parity this year, and I agree with what Stewart has said all along: conference strength is cyclical. However, what amuses me more than anything is that the people who are the most upset by the SEC/Pac-10 buzz are the Big-10 fans. Now, I hate Florida as much as the next LSU fan, but a beating like OSU got last year isn't a fluke win. It is a shellacking. And it sucked for OSU fans.
That being said, I'm not trying to fight this war like the last one. I recognize the strength of OSU as a team (just like I recognize the strength of Cal and Oklahoma as well). If any of those teams lost (as OU did) I would still say, "Great team, bad game." LSU is a great team that had a bad game, and yet still hung in there an impossibly long time.
OSU is an awesomely talented team, and I have no doubts about that. However, to say that their road to a title game is as rough as Cal's or LSU's is silly. OSU will be lucky to have ONE of the teams they play end up ranked, and that's just how it is. It is easier for them to run the table than it is for Pac-10, SEC, and even Big XII teams at this point. I mean, if I were OSU I wouldn't be complaining, but it is still fact that the schedule they play doesn't contain the talent caliber of some other conferences this year. That doesn't diminish the talent of OSU, and I think it is a little bit of sour grapes causing OSU fans trying to diminish every other confernece (not just the SEC) in a clearly vain attempt to boost up their own.
Please wake me from this nightmare that began the day we hired Steve Pederson away from Pitt. Who could IMAGINE that an A.D. would have such an effect on an entire state (and its loyal natives)?
I never imagined I'd see the day when the artist formerly known as Oklahoma A&M would walk in the house Devaney built and roll up 38 in one half. I never imagined I'd see players give up on a coach who couldn't motivate a group of kids if they asked him to. I never imagined I'd see empty seats in that grand old stadium on Vine Street in the second quarter. What a joke. What a sick joke.
The end of the season is way too late. Clean house. You should've done it yesterday. Good coaches don't let their programs get 70-10'ed in Lubbock. That's not a bump in the road - that should've been a huge sign that Callahan is/was a terrible coach. Good coaches don't blame their players when they are incompetent. Good athletic directors don't fire 9-3 (soon-to-be 10-3) staffs to bring our state into this mess.
Okay, now. Last week USF was 'punished' for 'struggling' with FAU. Wouldn't you say that, this week, Ohio State 'struggled' by not beating division II-A opponent Kent State by as large a margin as the Bulls beat UCF? As you noted, UCF is a respectable I-A team and, believe me, they gave the Texas Longhorns all they wanted. USF should leapfrog Boston College, as well, since BC posted one of the weakest showings against "Not De Same" of any ranked team this season. And maybe they should leapfrog Cal, as well. I mean, shouldn't the number 1 team in the country, even if they're from the PAC 10, be able to decide a contest against an unranked opponent before the fourth quarter? I've been a Pitt fan for more than 30 years, since sometime before the 1976 championship season. Last night I bought a "USF ALUMNI" tee-shirt. You know why? Because every Big East team that plays USF is GETTIN' SCHOOLED. USF is the new "Beast of the East." (Psst -- I don't know whom they'll be playing, but USF is headed for the BCS championship. Go BULLS!!!)
pittfaninflorida: Kent State is most definitely NOT a Division II team. They are in the MAC. Not saying it's taking away from your point, just wanted to make sure you give Kent State and MAC some respect.
Well, I'm a Big 10 fan and I'm definitely NOT putting down the SEC this year. While we have our share of...well...unrealistically ebullient fans (as does you and every other conference) I think the majority of the Big 10 comments are basically trying to say a) ENOUGH with throwing the Florida loss last year in our face--that was last year, b) ENOUGH with telling us we suck (because we don't) and c) ENOUGH with saying you're God's gift to football. I agree that OSU seems to have an easier road this year, but other years it's been the opposite...it wasn't that long ago that Big 10 teams were the ones beating up each other and OTHER teams had easy roads.
So for at least this Big 10 fan, I'm NOT trying to diminish other conferences; I'm just saying we don't stink as much as some of you say (and keep saying and keep saying) that we do. I enjoy watching games from every conference, and watching the teams that are great (and remain great) even when they lose.
As for OSU's loss last year, it WAS a fluke AND a shellacking all at the same time. If there's anything we've seen this year, it's that anything can happen even to really talented teams. To suggest they were overrated all throughout the year (when they beat teams that went on to beat SEC's #2 and #3 in bowl games) doesn't make sense. Did OSU show up at the NC game? Absolutely not, and they paid through the nose for it. But they were overrated to the extent that LSU, Cal, USC and other great teams that lose this year were "overrated". They simply didn't do a good job of dealing with all the time off before the bowl game, and you can bet some good money that Tressel won't EVER let that happen again.
So once again I'll say "peace" to all of you, and wish you good luck in your games, and we'll see you at the bowls!
Regarding the fact that OSU "only" scored 48 points against Kent State, I was at the game and starting in the second quarter, OSU had their second and third string players in the game. OSU's coach Tressel is NOT one to run up a score.
My comments were addressed to one of your fellow Bucks further up in the comments. I recognize that all conferences have their share of crazies and by no means wish to generalize.
Also, I didn't say that OSU was overrated last year. I meant to say that UF was BETTER last year. OSu was still good, but even as a Gater Hater, I have to say UF was pretty on the ball last year.
I have much love for ALL of NCAAF, not just my tigers. It makes me excited to see this developing into one huge, awe-inspiring, delicious mess. I just think that at the end, the team that can float over the increasing pile of trash is OSU, because this hyear the Big 10 is lacking some talent (though as I said in my above post, conference strength is cyclical).
Ohio State is going to be ranked #1...yet they play in the super weak big 10 so no one knows if they're really any good at all. Now their game with Appy State's lapdogs, Michigan, will be hyped up...again. Whoopee. Do we really want to live in a world with South Florida in the NC game? I have a feeling that whoever wins the NC this year will go down as one of the weaker NCs in history. LSU shouldn't fall too far...that loss to a ranked UK on the road is far better than USC's loss to Stanford at home...so LSU should be at 7 or 8...but needing Oklahoma and Ohio St. to lose to get back in the NC picture. It'll be interesting to see how the BCS rankings treat USF and Boston College.
Job openings at the end of this season will be plentiful. Arkansas and Texas A&M are guaranteed...Michigan is probable and, in turn, LSU. Nebraska should fire Callahan...I'm not even a fan and it's embarrassing how bad that program has gotten. That's 5 major programs there...no sure if they'll even be 5 candidates worth anything available...certainly no Butch Davis or Nick Saban waiting to get back to the college game out there. If Miles heads to Michigan...then it'll be a war among the others for any quality candidates.
Thanks for the commentary, and I'd agree with you that Florida played awesomely in the NC game. I think it was their best performance of the year (I certainly think it was Leak's) at least based on the UF games I saw, and you can imagine my (and other Buckeyes') dismay at seeing our team perform their worst. A friend of mine (a Gator, in fact, if you can believe it) told me after the game that it seemed to her as if Troy Smith and Chris Leak traded places in terms of their traditional performance).
That said, part of what you gotta do is be ready for the game, and we weren't. But regardless, we love and are proud of our Buckeyes, just as others love and are proud of their own (which is as it should be). I DO have hopes, though, that won't be repeated again. Just like it would be for you, no one here ever wants that to happen again (least of all Jim Tressel).
But yeah, it's an interesting year isn't it? Part of what makes CFB great!
Good luck to you and the Tigers, and maybe we'll see you at the end of the year! There are plenty of us up here that wouldn't mind seeing that game!
There is no way in Hell that Callahan returns next year. Pederson made that extension as a way to secure future benefits from Callahan. And next up...Texas A&M. Husker loyalists are really stupid to think that sticking by a horrible coach and a team, albeit very talented, through the end will change what has already happened. Callahan and Co. need to roll out of town and a worthy coach (Leavitt is entrenched in USF so that's out of the question...maybe Tommy Tuberville?). I'm a Husker for 3 years and I'm embarrassed for even thinking of considering of walking on.
Stephanie: I am not an OSU fan. I am actually an Iowa Hawkeye (and Big Ten) fan. Why is what I am saying crazy? I am just saying, like Larry, that the National Championship game of last year doesn't say anything about how Ohio State might play this year in the title game. It was one game, and OSU was definitely not overrated. So can I just say that because Iowa beat LSU last time we played (which we did, I know you remember)that Iowa is better than LSU. Of course not, LSU would (probably) hand it to us this year. It is college football, with DIFFERENT rosters every year.
As a Michigan fan, it is good to see the offense do well, but I am not drinking the Kool aid everyone is offering b/c this team is suspect. Offensively predictable, so if Hart goes down, forget it. If the defense gives up points quickly, forget it. If there is a spread offense with a QB who can scramble, forget it. A team who is supposed to be the "leaders and the best" seem to be falling behind. The talent is there, but i think it is time to admit that the coaching is not.
I initially was one of the few Husker fans that said give Callahan a chance; however, this season and especially the last two games clearly point toward a need for immediate change. Steve Peterson, the athletic director is akin to the captain of the Titanic. He has led us to mediocrity and beyond. Callahan and his staff have no ability to inspire these fine young players to win. Time to get a new athletic director and lets bring back our fired defensive coordinator, Bo Pellini (currently at LSU) and resurrect the program. I don't want a 10 year wait to return this program to excellence.
What nobody is talking about here is that there is still a lot of football to be played. If Ohio State can run the table and beat Mich. St., Wisconsin, Penn State at night on the road, Illinois, and @Michigan they'll deserve to be in the title game. There is NO dominant team this year, but the Buckeyes win and improve every week. Penn St. looks much better, Michigan is improving, and any of those teams can be a threat on any given day.
Forget last January and let the season play out. The two "unbeatable" teams have proven themselves to be no better than anybody else.
It is about time that Nebraska gets what it deserves for running up the scores on teams over the years. I say pour it on them. We remember when they would have their first string in when they were sixty points ahead. Payback hurts, doesn't it Husker fans! What goes around, comes around!
"It is about time that Nebraska gets what it deserves for running up the scores on teams over the years. I say pour it on them. We remember when they would have their first string in when they were sixty points ahead. Payback hurts, doesn't it Husker fans! What goes around, comes around" Sounds like a fan of a mediocre, 7-6 is the norm, no history or tradition team! Don't you worry, Heartland John. Nebraska, just like Oklahoma, will be back to wiping the floor with your team before you know it. Talk all the trash you want now, while you still can. I got my little jabs in on the Sooners in the 90's. I don't have much to say now. The end.
I too have watched Nebraska show no mercy against lesser teams over the years. I had a friend years back from Nebraska, and from him know the effect a Husker loss has on the people of that state. I would guess there is not a Prozac tablet left in that whole state right now. Interesting concept, karma ...
I see a lot of posters talking about how Nebraska teams of the old used to "run up" scores on opposing teams. Is it really considered "running up" the score if Nebraska's 2nd and 3rd string teams were better than the opponents 1st team? What did you expect them to do..? Take a knee in the 3rd quarter? Running up the score, in my opinion, (a la Missouri last weekend) involves keeping your 1st string team in the game even when you're beating your opponent soundly.
Ok heartland john, you need to be called on this one. Name a year, opponent, etc when the Huskers of old kept in their first team when they were up by 60 points [frankly, I can't even remember the last time they were up by 60 points]. Go ahead, name them. They had a chance to plant 70 on Steve Superiors Gators in the 96 Fiesta Bowl and knelt at the one on the last play of the day. Would any other team in America do that?
Nebraska had its third-team (e.g., Matt Turman at QB) out there against Florida in the '96 Fiesta Bowl massacre. The scores were simply proof that, from Tommie Frazier to the walk-on from Staplehurst, those were the best teams to grace a college football field.
Most importantly, the fool that was in here weeks ago, claiming that Callahan was a great coach, has mysteriously disappeared. I understand the things change and coaches move on; well done. But, the first season of Callahan's empire showed a lose to Texas Tech - giving up 70 points. That was a mark of players giving up on their coach. That is no respect. The last two weekends have proven that Callahan has no sway with his team, and that's the kiss of death. To believe that Callahan was anything but settling is crazy - how many candidates were there? I think Coach Bill was about ninth on a list of desperation. I stil think the university can turn it around but it'll take an actual coach and anyone breathing that isn't Steve Pederson.
I have grown up in Nebraska and seeing the team give up is harder to take than the losing. I think a winless team that left it all on the field would be accepted more by Huskernation than this year's team and it's lack of heart. If the players don't want to play for their coaches, their school, tradition, or the fans then it would be nice to see them play for themselves.