Well, it's been a while since we've had a preview of a Missouri football game, but luckily enough, there is some anticipation and excitement building for this one. Missouri hasn't won in Lincoln, Nebraska in exactly 30 years, and they'll look to break that streak this Saturday night against the Cornhuskers.
Aside from Chase Daniel chucking TDs or Marlon Lucky running wild, there are many smaller themes and events that might happen over the weekend, so let's take a look at those and what each team will have to do to win.
5. William Moore's health
Moore has said he's about 85 percent heading into Saturday's game, and I'll take that over almost any other safety in the country. However, a huge issue will be whether Willy Mo re-injures himself on Saturday.
I don't anticipate the Tigers having much problem handling the 'Huskers running attack, so having Moore flying around in pass coverage will be important.
4. Joe Ganz better bring the flamethrower
If Ganz doesn't put up some impressive numbers and torch the Tigers, Nebraska has almost no chance. The Missouri secondary has been iffy at times, but so has Ganz. I know about Ganz' numbers as a starter, but honestly I'm not sold on him. He has seven TDs to four INTs in three games against bad teams and one against Va. Tech.
If Nate Swift and Co. can run rampant through the Missouri secondary, it will be a tough test for the Tigers. But if Carl Gettis and Castine Bridges can hold down the fort on the outside, the Huskers are done for.
3. Will Nebraska have 12 men playing?
Two years ago, Chase Daniel played what was probably his worst game as the Tigers' starter in Lincoln. The crowd definitely had a factor in that, but will the Big Red Sea be able to have a similar effect this time around?
Daniel has obviously played in some big games, but he actually doesn't really have a huge game in a true road game. He can have another monster game against a Huskers' passing defense that comes in looking weak against some less then spectacular passers.
2. Battle of the backs
For years, Marlon Lucky has been hyped up as one of the better running backs in the country, and he came into 2008 as probably the most touted RB in the Big 12. But after four games, it looks like Derrick Washington has taken that mantle from him.
D-Wash is definitely putting up better numbers this year, but Lucky has a past to showcase his abilities. After averaging only 4.4 YPC going into conference play, Lucky will have to be better for the 'Huskers offense to click. On the other end, Washington might have a big game if Nebraska drops a lot of men back into coverage.
1. Adjustments from coaches
Chase Daniel's comments that ex-coach Bill Callahan didn't like to adjust his defensive scheme have been used as bulletin board material, but I'm not sure why. Callahan ruined the prestige of the Blackshirts, so why is that offensive? Whatever.
This year's matchup will certainly require adjustments from both ends. Bo Pelini has come into Lincoln touted as a defensive mastermind from his days at OU and LSU, so I'll be interested to see what he'll do against Missouri's high-powered offense.
On the other end, what will Gary Pinkel do to keep his offense fresh and consistent against unexpected schemes? Will Tiger fans see the relentless blitzing that has been common in the non-conference schedule? Or was that merely a facade to test Mizzou's corners? The answer will come soon.
Prediction: Missouri 38, Nebraska 24
I think that all the questions about both teams will be answered. Even after the Va. Tech game, nobody really knows what to expect from the 'Huskers for the rest of the year. And despite playing a respectable non-conference schedule, there are a lot of questions about the Tigers, particularly the secondary.
I think that Pelini will have the Blackshirts well prepared, but the fact of the matter is that Tyrod Taylor and the Hokies moved the ball and put up points in Lincoln, so the Tigers should definitely be able to as well.
Joe Ganz will prove that he's a good but not great quarterback—so he's not even worthy of mention in the Big 12. The 'Huskers still have a ways to go before returning to Big 12 prominence, and the Tigers will continue on through the tough beginning of their conference schedule.