Saturday, August 14, 2010
Big 12 2010-Nebraska Cornhuskers
2009 Record: 10-4 (6-2)
Head Coach: Bo Pelini (20-8, 3rd season)
Offensive Coordinator: Shawn Watson (4th season)
Defensive Coordinator: Carl Pelini (3rd season)
2009 Bowl Game: Holiday Bowl, defeated Arizona 33-0
Offense: If there is a weak link on this football team, it's the offense. This unit ranked 99th nationally in 2009, 101st passing. Zac Lee was not exactly the greatest QB in team history as a junior last season, and lost the spring to arm surgery. Cody Green and Taylor Martinez battled for reps, and are in the mix to push Lee out. However, Martinez has missed some time this fall to undisclosed reasons, which would lead one to think that he is falling back again. 15 total players return with starting experience, so there is plenty to build around. Health is the key word to the I-Backs, with Roy Helu and Rex Burkhead both suffering through injuries last season. Niles Paul will return at WR to give whoever wins the QB job a nice target. The line is solid with 4 returning starters.
Defense: How do you replace a gaping void in the time space contiuam that was Ndamukong Suh? You try using the son of a legend, of course. Blake Steinkuhler is going to be the first guy to try an d plug that massive hole on the Husker front. Jared Crick has huge potential on the line, so the loss can be mitigated slightly. Eric Hagg will be the Peso Back, which has him as a LB against run formations, and a DB against spread formations. Both CBs return(Alfonso Dennard and Prince Amukamara), but both safeties will be new starters (PJ Smith and DeJon Gomes). All in all, this unit finished 7th nationally in 2009, and with all of the experience coming back, I don't see a slip coming.
Special Teams: Alex Henery will handle both jobs plus kickoffs in 2010. He is automatic at both P and PK, and will give opponents fits al season.
Wins: 9/4 Western Kentucky, 9/11 Idaho, 9/25 South Dakota State, 10/7 @ Kansas State, 10/23 @ Oklahoma State, 10/30 Missouri, 11/6 @ Iowa State, 11/13 Kansas, 11/26 Colorado
Toss Up Games: 9/18 @ Washington, 10/16 Texas, 11/20 @ Texas A&M
Lock the Huskers in for the 2010 conference championship game (the last the conference will ever have, as NU moves to the Big 10 next season). If they can steal all three toss games, plus win the conference championship game, than the Huskers could be playing for a title. If not, they still deserve better than the Holiday Bowl this season.
Outlook: Great things are happening in Lincoln. They are ditching the Big 12 after this season, and head to a better fit in the Big 10. They are also good enough to be amongst the national elite this season, and have a great chance of sticking it up the ass of the conference that they are leaving. It should be a huge year in Big Red Country.