Fans know everything

I'm not sure whether it's a sense of nothing better to do or simply because this up-coming year seems so momentous, but the talk is already hitting a fever pitch, fans of teams like Oklahoma State already littering message boards with one prediction after another. And, would you believe it, almost everyone is convinced that this year's NU is going to be nothing but a bump in the road. Oh, how the mighty have fallen?

I flashed across a post on an Oklahoma State board that with resounding confidence picked Oklahoma State to beat Nebraska in this year's up-coming debut to the season and conference opener, 52-20. That's right, 52-20.

So confident it would seem are the OSU fans about what they did last year and so convinced that Nebraska simply isn't Nebraska anymore, that feel-good attitude of winning towards the end of last year has already turned into overwhelming confidence or arrogance, depending on how you look at it.

First, you have to wonder what makes OSU fans want to talk about the football season when there is still almost three months to go before the year officially begins. Well, the wrestling team aside, the men's track and field team placed 12th out of 12 at the Big XII championship. The baseball team is seeded 6th out of 8 competing teams in the Big XII tournament. And as for Golf and Tennis, well, it's Golf and Tennis for God's sake. Who cares. So, yeah, I can see why they are talking about football already.

After all, Oklahoma State did win 6 of their last seven games last season, beating the Aggies, Sooners, Southern Miss and of course, the Huskers amongst others. For a team that is used to languishing in mediocrity, this isn't just a reason to be positive, it's certain provocation for elation.

Plus, they have one of the most dangerous players in all of college football returning at wide receiver in Rashaun Woods. If you want to look up in the dictionary what "unstoppable" means, I can think of a few players that could go here, Woods finding himself squarely in the middle. He's simply one of the best at his position this up-coming year.

Add to Woods the fact that OSU returns their starting QB, starting RB, plus their starting kicker, Luke Phillips. Heck, even the starting punter is coming back.

On defense, 3 out of their top 5 tacklers from last year are back which includes perhaps their best defensive player, Paul Duren. They might even get something from the highly recruited Xavier-Lawson Kennedy who was recruited by just about everyone and the kitchen sink before deciding on the Cowboys.

Yep, life is good in Stillwater. But, 52-20?

The last time I checked the scoreboards from the previous season, OSU beat NU by 3. And granted, I will give them all the credit in the world for their impressive late-season run, but this is still relatively the same team that got waxed by Texas Tech, Kansas State and UCLA and lost to Louisiana Tech. And though people don't think that defending the pass is going to be an issue with the Huskers, Oklahoma State did rank amongst the worst in the entire country in that department last season.

Ok, that's the thing right there. People are indeed looking at last year's Nebraska team in trying to decide on what this year's team is going to do. That I just don't understand.

A new offensive coordinator from New Mexico State, a new defensive coordinator in former Green Bay Packer linebacker coach, Bo Pelini, a new running backs coach, a new tight end coach, a new linebacker coach, a new coach in the secondary and two new coaches (in title), an assistant head coach and a passing game coordinator, whatever that is. And anyone can figure out what NU is going to do based on exactly what?

It's not like NU tipped their hand during the Spring session, "vanilla" being a more than appropriate description of what they were doing on both sides of the ball. But, if you did want to take anything away from it, if you looked at the Spring Game, NU actually amassed more passing yards for the game than they did on the ground. On top of that, the much-maligned Jammal Lord was actually over 50 percent on the day in that area, something he didn't manage to average over the season last year.

You can't convince them though as it would seem there's a consensus belief that this NU will do exactly what it did last year even though last year was the worst year for NU football in 40 years.

Yep, that's it right there. The team that played for a national title prior to last year fell and everyone thinks they can't get back up, at least not right away. So convinced are fans that the dynasty has fallen that the worst team for NU in 40 years that lost to OSU last season by only 3 now becomes a 32 point underdog.

Wow, that's extreme. That's not just extreme, that would be something to see.

What is interesting to see though is as I take a gander around the net at some of the sports services that have already put some previews out for everyone to see, I can't see anyone else predicting Oklahoma State to beat Nebraska 52-20. CBSSportsline doesn't seem to think that OSU is even going to win in Lincoln this year and ESPN actually says that NU should be a "hard" game for the Cowboys.

Did you know that Barney Cotton's New Mexico State offense threw it only once on first down during one game and the very next, threw it on almost every first down of the entire contest? And this year's NU team is going to be predictable?

Ok, maybe there's something in Stillwater that has made everyone a bit of a precognitive. Or, maybe they are so in tune with their team, they know exactly what they are going to do, thus being able to know exactly what their opponent is going to do, even though the OSU coaches probably don't have a clue as to what NU will do this year.

Nobody does and that's an advantage of a sort, wouldn't you think? If anything, NU showed more pass than run over the Spring, so if NU is that predictable, than that's what everyone should expect, right?

Somehow, I don't think it will pan out that way and just call me odd for thinking this, but I would hazard to guess that NU showed in their offensive and defensive schemes, just about enough for you to figure out who's going to wear what number and that's just about it.

In fact, during this Fall practice session which should have about the same Leavenworth-type security as the Spring, I wouldn't plan on seeing anything trend-setting there either.

It's in the bag though, as good as done, no problemo, it's all over but the crying, Oklahoma State 52 and Nebraska, 20. Oh yeah, I forgot that the 2 touchdowns scored in that prediction are because of the emotion of the game and not because NU actually did anything to score them. Plus, two field goals. I do have to say it's nice that this person actually gave NU credit for getting two field goals as most speculate that getting one is going to be a feat for the existing unit at Nebraska.

Well, with three months to go, I would expect the sports services to come around, the odds-makers to show everyone the true light and for the country as a whole to reflect the idea that this Nebraska team will start off the season getting smoked by 32 and of course, this is going to lead to an OSU conference title or maybe even a national title berth........I guess.

This came from fans though. People that have followed their team for years, been loyal by heredity and have seen the best and worst their team has to offer. If anyone knows anything about what that team will do, it's them, right?

Wait, hold on just a second. I think I just saw a prediction from a different OSU fan that said the game was actually going to be a close one, OSU just nipping NU in the end. Ok, now I am really confused. The first person was pretty darn confident, but this person seems just as confident in their prediction.

Do you think? Could it be? Maybe, they don't really know what's going to happen and are just throwing this stuff out to have something to talk about.

Nahh, fans know everything. The second guy must have been talking about next year.

And the schedule isn't even out. Now, that's impressive.

Steve Ryan can be reached at or 402-730-5619

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