Lincoln, NE - It was nearly 11:30 P.M. In the Memorial Stadium press box last night when the media post-game pizza arrived. Quickly journalists rushed to the line. We all like free food and thought we might be there for a while.
I was one of the last people in line. While waiting, I turned to a another media member, who will rename nameless, and said, "this gives us a little more to talk about this week."
His answer was a little different than what was going through my head. "I think it's just a pretty mediocre team."
What is mediocre? I think of it as a .500 team in a BCS conference.
The Huskers have struggled, no doubt about it. But I'm not ready to call them mediocre just yet. This team has way too much talent and a hard nose coach.
I think they will get better.
It's amazing how a message board can be silent after a normal win and on fire after escaping with a victory. I think that might be what has been lost in last night's contest – it was a win. It will show up just the same in the record column.
Don't believe me? Ask Tom Osborne's 1997 National Championship team.
The Huskers entered the season ranked No. 6 overall. Not too far off from where this 2011 Nebraska team entered the season.
After opening the year with a 59-14 victory over Akron, who finished the season 2-9 overall, Nebraska was in a tight spot in game two.
The Huskers were playing Central Florida at home and found themselves down at halftime 17-14. Nebraska came back to win by scoring 17 points in the 3rd quarter, but realized in that game they had a long way to go before contending for a National Title. The voters agreed, dropping them down a spot in the rankings. Central Florida went 5-6 that season – it's my prediction Fresno State will be better. Good teams can have rough games, it's finding a way to win those rough games that can make you a great team.
It's odd that the 1997 team's next opponent was Washington, the same opponent in 2011. Only back then, the Huskies were ranked No. 2 in the country and propelled Nebraska to a No. 3 ranking after a victory.
I'm not saying that I think this 2011 squad is a National Championship team. But do I think they contend for a BCS game – yes. The season is far from over and this team has a lot of practices to improve.
We have to remember, this offensive unit is definitely still a work in progress – they haven't been running this offense very long. In addition, getting the young freshman more reps and experience will only make this team more electric.
I think Austin Cassidy said it best last night.
"The bottom line is we are 2-0," said the senior. "I think next week, I promise you we will be ready. I don't think you will see that letdown again."