A Rematch It Is

Probably a bit of a stunner when you think about the reputation Nebraska fans have for traveling and the one Missouri fans have for not. But that wasn't enough to change the mind of the Insight Bowl committed as they opted for the Tigers, forcing Nebraska to head west to play a rematch with the Washington Huskies.

The Holiday Bowl Committee must be grinning ear-to-ear right now.

They get a 10-3 Nebraska team that should have been heading to Arizona, Tempe to be exact, to play in the Insight Bowl. But the committee for the Insight Bowl apparently didn't think too much about the reputation Husker fans have for traveling anywhere and everywhere by the thousands.

They opted for Missouri instead.

Even Mike DeArmond of the Kansas City Star acknowledged that Missouri fans don't travel. Certainly nothing like Nebraska fans who have shown that there is no place they won't go and take most of their friends with them.

I'd wager that had Nebraska gotten invited to the Pinstripe Bowl, the first bowl game at the new Yankees Stadium, they would have packed that place, too. Well, not packed. How about showing up in large enough numbers that there would be an appreciable amount of body heat to ward off some of the Hypothermia that is bound to set in for those brave enough to make the trip to New York City in late-December.

But the proven clout Husker fans have for showing up anywhere, wasn't enough for the Insight to take the Big Red.

Is Dan Beebe on the selection committee down there or what?

OK, cheap shot, but I couldn't help myself.

Either way, it's back to the Holiday Bowl, which isn't such a bad thing. Nice weather and all that. I remember leaving early last year for the Holiday Bowl, because a Winter storm was coming down on Lincoln, and I had to get out of dodge. Turns out it was a wonderful choice, because when I traveled through Oklahoma City, it was early in the morning, and there was drizzle, but not much beyond that.

I get to California the next day, and someone told me that Oklahoma City just got hit with more snow in one day than at any other point in its history.

Lucky me

And lucky Washington, as they get another shot at Nebraska. But instead of facing the unstoppable Taylor Martinez who ripped them up, down and sideways with his feet to the tune of 137 yards, they will get the Martinez who Head Coach Bo Pelini says is healthy, but if that's healthy, I'm Minnie Pearl.


Of course, he'll be in better shape come the bowl game. How much better? Hard to say. And let's not forget that Martinez wasn't the only one over the century mark on the ground when Nebraska went to Seattle to face the Huskies. Both Roy Helu Jr. and Rex Burkhead went over that mark, as well.

Honestly, Washington's defense has been sad most of the year as they finished the regular season ranked 103rd in defending the run and they averaged around a rank of 70th or so, defending everything else.

And again, this is a rematch.

Who wants to see a rematch in bowl season?

As bad as Nebraska beat Washington before, you can be pretty darn sure it won't be that way again. Now, that doesn't mean I think the Huskies will suddenly get good enough and Nebraska bad enough, to offset the 30-plus point pounding they took earlier this year. But this won't be the same Nebraska team, and let's face it, Nebraska got off to an amazing start when they faced the Huskies. Their noted crowd was out of it before the game had barely begun.

Another half-full thought that I am sure Washington fans will have going into this game when it comes to their touted signal-caller: Jake Locker can't do any worse.

Against Nebraska he was 4-of-20 passing for 71 yards, a touchdown and two interceptions. And in the running game he netted just under 60 yards. It was a horrid game, an abysmal performance for a guy who came into the season with Heisman dark horse hype and NFL Draft first-round aspirations.

But alas, a rematch it is.

One has to wonder what the Insight was thinking. And I don't mean all of this to downgrade the Holiday Bowl, which was a nice experience last year and coming from Nebraska, I certainly wasn't complaining about the weather.

But I guess the clout of the noted fan base of the Big Red isn't what it used to be. But at least the hundreds of Missouri fans that actually show up in Tempe, should be treated to a nice atmosphere.

And Holiday Bowl officials will get the Husker fan base which has a huge contingent of fans in the state of California.

Well, at least someone comes out on top.


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