How in the world does any team in the mid to upper part of Division 1-A get up to play the Baylor Bears?
Yeah, the same Bears that rank only better than 40th in one single category.
How does Nebraska, this storied tradition, this team not even a decade removed from starting one of the most incredible runs in college football history – how do the Huskers get up for them?
Try losing 70-10 the previous week and if that isn't enough motivation to get up for ANYONE, nothing is.
You see, there's this issue with this year's Cornhuskers. Actually, except for when Demorrio Williams was so vocal last year, it's been an issue for awhile. Where's the fire? Where's the anger? Where's the Huskers everyone remembers?
I know this is an old story, because I wrote something along these same lines over two years ago. It was about leaders and how nobody knew that they weren't fired up, because they were the most fired up out of anyone on the team.
If you don't have those direct comparisons though, how do you know what ‘fire' is and whether it's a lot or not enough?
Any other dumb questions?
Yeah, I know, it wasn't ‘fire' that lost that game by 60 or even the lack thereof. But, how do we know that a very vocal leader, which the Huskers most definitely do not have right now, wasn't the difference between 60 and perhaps 3 or 4 touchdowns less?
I know, it's meaningless if the game is still a loss, but while it may not save you one game, it could have you winning another, one where the offense and defense isn't at its worst.
We don't know though and it's quite possible we won't for the rest of this year and that is saying something considering the games coming up.
Players or even coaches on the team right now might counter our criticism with one of their own, citing our lack of experience on the field as an indicator that we don't know what in the hell we are talking about. I myself would counter that with the fact that most of us can see. And even if we couldn't, we can hear, thus we can feel what's going on out there.
Why do we say there's no fire? Because, we saw Grant Wistrom and the fact that he wouldn't settle for less. He along with Jason Peter not just vocal leaders, but physical ones as well. Many are the stories that regale others about their exploits on the field and in the locker room, basically stating to other players ‘get going or get out'.
It wasn't ‘I want you to do your best', rather it was stated more like ‘I want you to do your best…….or else'.
Is there something wrong with that? Has the politically correct world seeped its way into the locker room and onto the fields of play to the extent that it has dumbed the intensity-level down? Of course not, so what's with this Nebraska team?
I'll be the first to say that I am not the first to say that this team doesn't seem to have that spark. Because of that, it brings up the obvious issue in that nobody ever talks about a lack of fire unless it actually exists. When people hear of a team full of guys that lead by example, that's basically telling you that nobody takes it a step farther.
Nobody is in your face, all over you for any little thing you do wrong. Nobody is out there yelling at other players to get their butts moving or telling them to move over if they can't. Nobody is out there charging up the entire team with a play at a key moment or trying to motivate the entire team into making one.
Nobody has that fire.
We'll see Tomorrow if that changes.
Any other time, Baylor would be just another team, just another doormat, just another win in the books. For this Nebraska team, still being called out for anything and everything following the humiliation down in Texas, this game is an opportunity.
It's an opportunity to show that the week before was truly an aberration. What happened against the Red Raiders wasn't the Big Red, but this sudden cross of solar radiation and cosmic rays, displacing weather patterns, altering moods and resting square upon NU, thus the team falling into dismay.
Ok, whatever it was, it wasn't your Nebraska.
So, which one shows up tomorrow? Will it be the Nebraska you all know and love and have come to not just root for, but admire? Or, will Nebraska win, but by so little and in such a way that the stirrings could be as bad as those following last week's debacle?
After the Texas Tech game, I know some that simply shrieked at the thought of what would happen to NU when they tripped to Norman. If a mid-tier Big XII team could do this to Nebraska, what would one of the best teams in the country wreak upon them in November?
Baylor won't answer those questions, but one question it will most definitely answer for everyone is just what kind of intensity this team has. Forget analyzing the defensive front and don't worry about the system. Rather, just pay attention to not how they play the game, but ‘how' they play the game.
Much like the Spring game, this table is set for success. An opponent that can be easily beat, a playbook that has apparently gotten even simpler and a whole lot of motivation from a week of hearing just how bad you really are.
If that's not smoke, I don't know what is. Smoldering, plumes so heavy that it can choke a person. Ok, so where's the fire?
Tomorrow we'll find out.