Looking for the real Nebraska

At one point, this would have been the top story on Sportscenter. During a point not long ago, but getting farther away by the year, this would have been a pretty big deal. Well, Iowa State beats Nebraska and while it's a surprise, people aren't walking around in shock. Except for NU fans, but not at surprise, rather a realization that it's not Iowa State that is that good, but NU that is simply that bad.

If before the game you would have known that Nebraska would have "only" one turnover and Cory Ross would have well over a hundred yards, well, you'd be smiling ear to ear.

Then, you look at the scoreboard, see that Iowa State beat Nebraska and for a second you scratch your head, but just roll your eyes backwards knowing the truth of what happened in Ames.

Nebraska is just not a very good team.

You can say what you want about the offensive changes. You can say what you will about a defense trying to learn as well. However, when the one of the worst offenses in the country takes you behind the woodshed, your defense has issues and as for the offense, we already knew the answer to that.

Not even a valiant comeback that ultimately fell short for the Huskers could dismiss the fact that the offense couldn't do anything when the game was theirs to win. Actually, the interception from Dailey was almost symbolic for a team that has found more often than not a variety of ways to lose.

NU did manage to duplicate many areas of their futility well though. 6 of 18 on 3rd down conversions – completion percentage of 44 – 0-2 on field goals and an ill-timed interception that basically sealed the game.

That's not the kind of consistency the new head coach wanted to see. "We just didn't have it." He said. "We've got to go back to work and find ways to manufacture a win."

That hasn't been easy under the best of circumstances this year and that's facing some teams that are hardly amongst the conference or nation's best. One has to almost shudder at the thought of Nebraska's trip next week to face just one of those types of teams.

Undefeated, ranked number two in the country, the Oklahoma Sooners are probably as good as any team around. Returning Heisman winner, Jason White at the helm and freshman phenom., Adrian Peterson giving the Sooners a running game that has been absent for the last couple of years.

Considering how Nebraska has managed to lose to teams that on paper they are better than, Husker fans are already finding a closet to hide in until the trip to Norman is nothing but an event of the past.

What the present holds for the Huskers are a whole lot of questions and the answers have all but run out. No more can the team try to motivate themselves with this northern title in the conference. No longer can they pretend they have turned the corner in any phase of their game.

The corners are gone and as all teams do when they have nothing of substance to play for, pride is all you have left.

One has to wonder if the team even has that, but you won't have to wait long to find out. Before this contest actually takes place, there won't be any speculation about what Nebraska has to do to win. There won't be any hypothesis as to the formula it's going to take for the Huskers to surprise an entire country.

No, nobody is that disillusioned. They know this is a loss, the only question being by how much and just how bad will NU look.

There have been a variety of games where you would have expected Nebraska to show up full-force. A few times that everything lay before NU and all they had to do was want it enough to win.

In this week's game, they are playing for nothing other than themselves. No awards can be won, no titles regained and if they lose, there's nobody that will be a bit surprised.

It comes down to pride and the reality that, that is what they are playing for. An even sadder reality is, that for this team you don't know if that's enough. They've been playing for more than pride the entire year and still have managed to emotionally cave at times. What will they be like when there is truly nothing other than the game itself on the line?

Well, we'll find out. Everyone will see and on national tv whether this team plans on finishing with a purpose or they are already finished for year.

Maybe it's the homer in me. Maybe my thoughts as a fan skew my perspective on the issue. I keep thinking and hoping that the real Nebraska will PLEASE stand up.

Then I think to myself about today and shudder when I realize of this game against Iowa State, perhaps they just did.

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