Where Huskers are at now
A loss, in which No. 4 Missouri had little trouble putting up 38 points to Nebraska’s 10, was not as embarrassing as the Tiger faithful would like to think.
The bomb for a touchdown at the end of the third quarter after Missouri recovered a fumble on the Nebraska 26 was on the edge of classlessness, but in Coach Gary Pinkel's defense, it was Chase Daniel's last series.
Daniel would have probably done a lot of good for his Heisman candidacy if he had not chosen to whine to the press. While Daniel probably hoped he would damage Nebraska's reputation by whining, the damage to his own brand was much greater.
Next week, Nebraska travels to Lubbock for a game they are widely expected to lose. If Nebraska plays Texas Tech tough, they will start to resuscitate their image and help their recruiting in Texas.
A win would be wonderful, but it will only come if the team plays on top of its form. They have been warned that the referees will not be their friends, so they have to win on the field and plan for external forces or luck to go against them.
Nebraska at 3-3 would be a disappointment, but it could be a 4-2 season if things broke differently.
The Huskers got used to losing under their last coach, and his influence is still being felt. Fans are probably going to have to wait two years or more for one of the classiest programs in America to reemerge to top-tier status.
What about the rest of the Season?
As was covered in this article, from this point, a 7-5 regular season would be about as good as anyone can expect. Nebraska has two early offensive line recruits who could make an impact next year. Vander Joaquim and Jesse Coffey look so far like they could compete for a starting position.
Why was Buffalo able to get more rushing yards against Missouri than Nebraska?
Turner Gill is making a name for himself at the University of Buffalo, and people are mentioning him for vacancies. He has a sharp offensive mind.
Missouri clearly was emotionally into the Nebraska game and may have been looking past Buffalo. Buffalo is anchored by Ray Norell, who is a three year starter. Peter Bittner is a letter winner and a starter since the first game of his redshirt freshman year. Jeff Niedermier, another senior, had 30 starts before this year. The junior starter, Jordan Jerrold earned his way into the starting lineup as a true freshman.
Buffalo has several other upperclassmen competing for time with serious experience, including some with starting experience.
Nebraska is still working through the linemen the previous coach recruited as an afterthought. The returning linemen were recruited with a pure pass oriented offense in mind, and they are larger and slower than the option linemen Tom Osborne sprinkled through the pro ranks.
Taking Care of Business
Nebraska still needs to mind the store. After this week's Texas Tech game, the Huskers have two games they could split or win both.
Iowa State had a 20-0 lead against Kansas but was outscored by Kansas 35-13 in the second half. Iowa State plays at Baylor this week, so where they are at should be clarified before Nebraska faces them the following two weeks.
A 5-3 Huskers team headed to Norman would be expected to emerge 5-4. By that point in the season, the players should understand the Pelini system, and communications between the brothers should be worked out.
Any of the last three games could be lost, but all should be within reach of the 2008 Huskers.