Nebraska Football: Why Taylor Martinez Staying Keeps Nebraska in the BCS Chase

Tim BielikSenior Analyst INovember 21, 2010

LINCOLN, NE - NOVEMBER 13: Taylor Martinez #3 of the Nebraska Cornhuskers throws downfield against the Kansas Jayhawks during their game at Memorial Stadium on November 13, 2010 in Lincoln, Nebraska. Nebraska Defeated Kansas 20-3. (Photo by Eric Francis/Getty Images)
Eric Francis/Getty Images

The buzz all throughout the college football universe has been the rumors and the subsequent denial of Taylor Martinez, the stud freshman QB at Nebraska, leaving the team.

This news came off the heels of a 9-6 loss at Texas A&M on Saturday night, in which he was chewed out severely by coach Bo Pelini and also suffered an ankle injury.

Nebraska's loss is not exactly crippling, as they just need to win their final game of the season against Colorado, the final Big 12 game for both squads in order to play for the conference title in their final year before joining the Big Ten.

But for Nebraska, the departure of Martinez would have been a crippling loss for a team that was looking to build off of the momentum of a nearly-shocking upset of Texas in the 2009 Big 12 Championship Game.

While Martinez has not exactly been a dynamic passer at this stage of his career, he has shown incredible abilities as both a runner and a passer.

Martinez should be able to get 1,000 yards rushing to go with his 1,435 yards passing which is not a bad start to a collegiate career.

But as evidenced in the game against the Aggies, a hobbing Martinez, or even one who isn't there, can suck the life out of the Huskers' offense which was inept last season.

If Martinez can be able to throw the football, especially next season against the stout defenses he will see in the Big Ten, he can become a very dangerous and powerful weapon in the future.

But for right now, the fact that he is still around gives Nebraska hopes that the Huskers can go back to the BCS for the first time since 2001.

The problem for Nebraska this year is that even though the defense is still pretty good, it's nothing compared to the unit of a year ago that was absolutely suffocating.

Of course, having a healthy Martinez will help, but if he is severely hurt, that could cost Nebraska against either Oklahoma State or Oklahoma in the conference title game.

Without him, the Huskers don't have the type of offensive firepower that made them an outside challenger for an at-large spot should they not win the Big 12 outright.

Even if he is healthy, Nebraska will have their hands full against either Oklahoma State, who put up 41 in the previous meeting between these two teams, and Oklahoma who will be looking for revenge after Pelini's Blackshirt defense picked off QB Landry Jones five times.

That's why losing Martinez would have been devastating for a team that finally seemed like it was on the rise after being mired in mediocrity under Bill Callahan no matter how many points his offenses put up.

But what will be interesting to see is how Martinez responds after hearing these rumors, and after being bashed along with his coach for the performance his team put up against the Aggies Saturday.

Pelini's bunch still controls their own BCS destiny, and two wins is all it takes for them to punch their ticket to Glendale and the Fiesta Bowl.

And they need T-Mart to make it happen.

And every Nebraska fan should be very lucky he's not going anywhere. Especially when you look at the 2011 schedule when the Huskers debut in the Big Ten.

But we're getting ahead of ourselves.

For Nebraska, having No. 3 back under center is the best thing they could've hoped for with the Big 12 title on the line.


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