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Nebraska Football: Cornhuskers Making Their Case for No. 1 Spot

LINCOLN, NE - SEPTEMBER 04:  Taylor Matinez  #3 of the Nebraska Cornhuskers scores his first touchdown as a Cornhusker during the first half of  their game against the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers at Memorial Stadium on September 4, 2010 in Lincoln, Nebraska. Nebraska defeated Western Kentucky 49-10. (Photo by Eric Francis/Getty Images)
Eric Francis/Getty Images
Brandon CavanaughCorrespondent IOctober 10, 2010

The fall of the Alabama Crimson Tide has started a scramble amongst all of the teams ranked below the former No. 1 team in the country.

While Ohio State has taken the Tide’s place as No. 1 in both the AP and USA Today Coaches’ polls, not everyone agrees that they should be there.

Oregon, Boise State, TCU, and Oklahoma fans could certainly make an argument, but there’s another undefeated, and now top-five team with just as much right to the No. 1 spot: Nebraska.

The holes in Alabama’s armor that allowed South Carolina to trot off the field with a 35-21 victory showed that quite literally every team has weaknesses to be exploited in 2010.

In Nebraska’s eyes, it’s not just a question of how the Cornhuskers' defense could stifle the opposition, but how the offense could shred it.

A national audience watched last Thursday as Taylor Martinez and Nebraska tore through the Kansas State Wildcats like a hot knife through butter.

Not only did Martinez and company gash Kansas State for 48 points, the Cornhuskers held the Wildcats to 13 and stymied the Heisman hopes of yet another opponent’s star player. This time running back Daniel Thomas who was held to a season-low 67 yards rushing was the victim.

Nebraska may not have gaudy passing statistics ranking 102nd overall, but the Cornhuskers simply haven’t needed to pass much. Nebraska has put up the second most rushing yards in the nation (337.6 YPG); they can afford that luxury.

Bo Pelini’s trademark has always been his defenses and the 2010 Cornhuskers continue that theme.

Nebraska currently touts the nation’s best passing defense thanks to perhaps the premiere secondary in the country, ranks fourth overall in scoring defense (12.8 PPG) and 12th in total defense (275 YPG).

The Cornhuskers have been able to live up to the preseason hype thus far, a feat that many thought would doom Nebraska especially once freshman Taylor Martinez was named the starter.

Instead, Nebraska continues to silence critics first by demolishing a Washington team that would later go on to defeat then-No. 18 Southern California.

After recovering from a poor 17-3 showing over South Dakota State that would provide motivation for the massacre in the Little Apple this past Thursday, Nebraska now looks to its second conference foe in its Big 12 Farewell Tour as Texas visits.

Not only have the Cornhuskers lived up to expectations of fans and coaches, but a new star may have been born based on the blessings of offensive coordinator Shawn Watson and head coach Bo Pelini.

Taylor “T-Magic” Martinez has electrified fans and pundits so much that the first-year starter is already garnering Heisman hype just five games into his career. It’s easy to see why. If Martinez continues to produce at his current rate, he is projected to rush for 1,800 yards.

Some have predicted the Cornhuskers at the top battling for their first national championship since 1997. Putting them at the top of the polls now may just be cutting out the middleman.

Can't get enough football news, reviews and overall sports merriment? Follow Brandon on Twitter (@eightlaces) for the latest article updates and other general college football goodness.

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