It seems the closer we get to the start of college football season the more this question comes up. Why? In my opinion there are two reasons, the loss of Ndamukong Suh and Bo Pelini’s reluctance to name a starting quarterback. Many would also argue that the overall weakness of the Big 12 North only adds to this perception. I discount this mainly because Nebraska, as well as TCU and Boise St, have no control over how good or bad the teams in their conference are or aren’t.
Let’s start with the loss of Ndamukong Suh. Have there been better more dominant defensive players in college football before? Yes, Charles Woodson comes to mind. Hugh Green, Deon Sanders, Lee Roy Selmon, you get the idea. What Suh did do was impact how an offense game planned for a defensive tackle. While Bo and everyone else in Nebraska wishes Suh could be a husker forever, this defense is stocked with more than enough solid talent and at least two superstars in Jared Crick and Prince Amukamara. Couple that with Bo and Carl Pelini’s proven track record on the defensive side of the ball and, in my opinion, Nebraska should have a year defensively very similar to last year.
The QB question can be addressed a couple ways. Has Bo simply not seen enough? You would have to think that with three guys in the battle reps in practice would have to would have to be limited. Is the coaching staff waiting for game action to name their starter? With Western Kentucky and Idaho to open the season, maybe they don’t feel any sense of urgency to name a starter. Has Zac Lee not done enough to distance himself from Cody Green and Taylor Martinez? This is a scary thought. What is Zac doing or not doing as a senior with almost a full season of starting experience and a win in the bowl game to not separate himself from a Sophomore and a Redshirt Freshman? Has Taylor Martinez already been named the starter internally? While not likely, this could be the case. I have heard this theory on a few local radio shows. You would assume Bo and the coaching staff would do this only to keep the pressure off the young freshman.
So, is Nebraska overrated? My answer, I don’t know. They appear to be a team that has just about all the pieces in place to make a run at a conference championship and an eventual BCS bowl bid. Their first two games of the season don’t seem likely to answer many questions, and should be a constant shuffle of players in and out while the coaching staff treats it as more of an evaluation period. I have a feeling we will have our answer as The Huskers are returning from Seattle. How was the defense able to handle stopping one of the best (if not the best), and most dynamic QB in college football? Will whoever lines up under center be able to handle the pressure of playing on the road against another BCS team that many have pegged as a sleeper and who will for sure be gunning to take down a nationally ranked Nebraska team?
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