What if................

When nobody thinks you are going to win, what do you do? Better yet, when the entire country thinks you'll not just lose, but badly, what goes through your mind? That's what the Huskers are going to have to endure this entire week as Oklahoma looms on the horizon as they get ready to play a game nobody thinks they can win.

It'd made a heck of a story. Downtrodden Husker team, Oklahoma team that looks all but unbeatable and NU coming out with a win.

 

It would indeed make a heck of a story, but it's one that has been written already, 45 years ago.

 

It was 1959, Oklahoma was in the midst of its record-setting conference streak of 74 games unbeaten. Conversely, Nebraska was wallowing in the mire of barely sub-mediocrity, losing 4 of the 6 games played prior to the showdown with the Sooners.

 

It was Bud Wilkinson versus Bill Jennings.

 

Yeah, not exeactly a spine-tingling match up. In fact, during Jenning's 5 years with the Huskers, he won 15 games, tied once and lost 34 times.

 

I'm sure that whatever media there was building up to this game had Nebraska similar underdogs to what they are right now.

 

Ok, maybe not quite as much as they are now.

 

You see, Oklahoma was great and all back then and sure, they had that streak. However, when NU played them, Oklahoma was ranked 19th in the country and Oklahoma wouldn't be ranked again for a Husker game until Bob Devaney's first year in 1962.

 

It was a down time, at least for OU and as they say, the timing couldn't have been more perfect, thus the upset took place.

 

Fast-forward to today and first thing is first, this Oklahoma isn't that Oklahoma. Heck, it's not even close. Forget the streaks had or lost, what you have with this OU is one of if not the most talented team in the country.

 

A Heisman winner in QB, Jason White, a Hesiman  hopeful in freshman running back, Adrian Peterson and a list of All-everythings on either side of the ball.

 

Oh, and they are undefeated and ranked second in the country.

 

Then, there's the Huskers. A record that at least percentage-wise is worse than that of the Big Red team from the late-50s and to watch them play, you'd think that the heavy-footed style of the early to mid post modern era was almost a doppelganger of Nebraska's potency right now.

 

Face it, it's not pretty. Forget the fact that you don't even know which Nebraska team will show up, but even if you know it's the good version, it's still not a very good version of your good old Nebraska red.

 

It's a team that is sub par in overall talent, often below sub-par when it comes to actually playing the game with a little verve and there's nobody outside of South stadium that think Nebraska can win this weekend.

 

Sounds like an upset to me.

 

Ok, hold on a second. Sorry, was laughing so hard I couldn't type.

 

Yeah, this isn't a fairy tale in the making. Even the diehard homer Husker fan isn't looking at this game as anything more than an opportunity to find yourself on the wrong end of yet another butt-kicking, this one though a payback for a few the Huskers dished out to others.

 

You just had to know it was going to come back one day. You had to think to yourself that it just wasn't right to hang 70 on our greatest rival mainly because that sooner or later, they would be in position to return the favor.

 

The time is now, as they say and I can safely state for now at least, that there has never been a more opportune time for the Sooners to not just beat NU, but throttle them

until they have all gone mad at the sound of hearing "Boomer Sooner" for the forty-fifth time.

 

OU can complete passes galore, NU can't stop even Iowa State from getting 300 yards in the air. OU can kill you running the ball, NU made Allen Webb look like Mickey Joseph and Michael Vick….combined.

 

However

 

OU can't defend the pass real well and have been burned by mobile quarterbacks all year. It's too bad NU can't pass and NU QB, Joe Dailey who actually is mobile isn't allowed to be that, thus you get runs out of bounds two yards from getting a first down.

 

This is it. There's no argument here. It's a final before the game has even begun. There is no way, not in any fashion or anything short of an act of God that can bring NU a win in Norman this weekend.

 

So, since it's impossible, Nebraska should just do it and be done.

 

That's right. Screw the moral victories. Forget about keeping it close. Actually go into Norman playing to come out with a win.

 

Maybe that will light a fire under a team that has been hot and cold all year. They have talked about energy and at times showed little to none. They have talked about emotion, but at times have been almost stoic in their play. There won't be a finer stage than Norman, no better opportunity than now and the circumstances are pretty motivating in and of themselves.

 

Nebraska can't win. They are favored to lose by at least 30 points and there's nothing on paper that says they'll even stay that close, possibly in the first half.

 

What better time to prove the old saying that games aren't played on paper, they are won or lost on the field.

 

It would be sad to think that they've lost even before they have arrived.

 

Maybe it's the dreamer in me that thinks history can repeat itself. Maybe it's that part within my being that says these kinds of upsets can and do happen all the time. The thing is, this is the first time in my life that I have ever known NU to be such a dramatic favorite to get their butt kicked, going away.

 

It makes me think of strange things, like that somewhere, somehow there's a miracle waiting to happen and if the stars are aligned correctly, the moon is sitting just so, NU can go into Norman and come out the better.

 

Yeah, I know. I need to stop inhaling gasoline. I know that the Huskers can't win. I know that before that game has barely begun, realistically, it will probably be over. You'll probably need a calculator to add the scores OU puts up as the game progresses. You'll probably need a bucket for the drool that's going to be churning out of Bo Pelini's mouth. And, when sportscenter is shown that night, it will be an afterthought, just a quick recap of the game and only because OU is so highly ranked.

 

They just weren't playing a very good team.

 

That's Nebraksa 2004 and that is the harsh reality. And, this game isn't going to be pretty.

 

What if, though? What if NU had fire throughout the entire game? What if they didn't go through one of their now patented lapses in tackling effectiveness? What if Joe Dailey could hit the open man?

 

It makes you wonder, because a game like this always sparks some thoughts. After all, this is a rivalry, right? This is one of those games where you are supposed to throw out the records and everyone just throws down and goes at it for a full 4 and 60.

 

Who's to say and it's only Husker fans that can even ponder the impossible, but that's what makes them indeed fans.

 

It's about thinking of what can't be done. Pondering the impossible and wondering just what would happen if such and such occurred.

 

It's like waiting around in Lincoln for a solar eclipse and it's two friggen o'clock in the morning.

 

That's what Nebraska fans need to pull something out in just a few days.

 

I can't say that I think Nebraska will win. I don't. If I were a betting man, I would take Oklahoma with the thirty points and go to the bank smiling. With that being said, I can't say that I think Nebraska can't win.

 

We have seen some pretty cooky things happen in this great game of sports. Some pretty unbelievable upsets, even just this year. Baylorover the Aggies, North Carolina over Miami, these things are ripe to happen all the time.

 

It probably won't be this time, but call it the homer in me, it's always nice to sit back and think ‘what if'.

 

Ok, now back to my can of gasoline.


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