It's that time again. That's right, time for Barking Carnival's States of the Union from around the Big 12 Confer... HEY! I f#*king hear you scrolling up to check the by line dickhead! No, it's not Scipio. Get the hell over it. His come out later this week. If it makes you feel better I plan to steal liberally from him.
Now where was I? Right. State of the Union. Let's do Nebraska I guess.
I think I speak for the majority of Texas fans when I say that I wish Nebraska success and would gladly welcome a Husker return to prominence if maybe not dominance. Heck, I don't think anyone's been able to muster up much antipathy for UNL since Dominic Raiola took his shtick to Detriot where he presumably makes loud banal jokes about people's names and asks 170 pound bar patrons what the f#%k they're looking at. Yes these days it's hard to imagine a win over the Huskers inspiring a program hanger-on whose movies are nothing but shameful insipid pap to go on a four day naked reefer binge. Just hypothetically I mean.
Your movies humilate all primates. Even red assed monkeys.
Many explanations are given for Nebraska's decline in recent years and they often correctly revolve around the loss of Prop-48s but another factor is the willingness of programs around the country to give the freakish athlete with questionable passing skills a shot at quarterback. Nebraska used to have a great pitch for that kid as it was often his only shot to play that position (20 years ago Robert Griffin is likely wrecking shit as an option QB in Lincoln). Now with the proliferation of spread option offenses that kid's got any number of choices. Also with Nebraska's shift to a more conventional offense they're now left with the same pitch as schools from warmer climates with more recent success. Predictably that's lead to classes consisting mainly of guys Texas, OU, Notre Dame and Ohio State passed on. Let's see what they're looking at this year.
Defensively Herbie's looking pretty good. NU was the conference runner up in both pass and total defense, a marked improvement over 2007 when they were dead ass last. It's tough to even type that. Whither the Blackshirts? Some of the improvement can be attributed to a soft schedule but a good deal of credit has to go to Coach Pelini from whom sloppy tackling and busted coverage incites a seething righteous anger. Like Tim Tebow confronted with foreskin.
The Huskers return six starters from the 2008 unit, most notably Ndamukong Suh. Suh is a monster who everyone would be talking about if he'd change his first names to Bob or something. To protect him they'll have to replace both a tackle and an end but fortunately there is some talent there in the form of Jason Ankrah, a DE out of Maryland who everyone wanted and DT Terrence Moore who nobody did.
At MLB Nebraska starts Phillip Dillard after failing to secure commitments from Joan Rivers or Betty White. He's not the player Cody Glenn was but the hope is that his references to The Gong Show and Rowan and Martin's Laugh In will confuse opposing running backs.
The secondary is lead by Larry Asante and should again be a strength. They return three starters and nickel Eric Hagg. They'll perform admirably against most of their schedule and get abused by OU and Kansas.
Offensively there are a number of questions and a bench without many answers. At quarterback Zac Lee would seem to be the clear cut starter although he was apparently running behind Patrick Witt before he transferred. Lee's from City College of San Francisco and threw for 3,400 yards on the JUCO level. So there's that.
At Wide Receiver the Cornhuskers are in the unique position of missing two white dudes. Available to replace them are the talented junior Niles Paul and a lonely rural windmill.
This is not Nate Swift.
At tail back Husker fans are hoping Roy Helu can follow in the footsteps of guys like Derek Brown, Mike Rozier and Ahman Green although they're understandably reserved after the crushing disappointments of Marlon Lucky, Jim Belushi and Mr. Pibb. Also available are Texans Quentin Castille and Rex Burkhead.
At tight end Nebraska returns Mike McNeill whose 32 receptions in 2008 set a record for tight ends and Dreu Young who I'll describe as 'reliable' because I'm not familiar with him and he's white.
On the Oline four starters/regular contributors return and although Lydon Murtha will be portrayed as a huge loss because he was highly recruited and got drafted he's actually one of the-ahem-gentler 6'7" fellas around. Yao Ming laughs derisively at his inability to leverage his size advantage.
Ultimately this year is about continuing defensive improvement and finding competent quarterback play. Nebraska's tight ends and ground game should help keep their defense off of the field and the first two months of the schedule look pretty friendly. That's good because a couple of early losses could leave Nebraska fans looking forward to, um, county fair season? Kool-Aid Days?
In any case we'll hope for the best. Despite guys like Lawrence Phillips, Nebraska's polite knowledgeable fans and humble Midwestern setting combine to make UNL football feel like one of life's wholesome, guilt-free pleasures, up there with taking the dog for a ride, playing cards with your grandpa and the failure of Topher Grace's film career. We'll say 9-3 with losses to OU, Kansas and one of Virginia Tech, Missouri or Baylor.
HenryJames' 2008 Nebraska State of the Union
Scipio Tex's 2007 Nebraska State of the Union