Monday, September 1, 2014

Throwing in the Owl

PYB chimes in with our first installment of the 2014 season, with little idea of what to say. Do we laud Nebraska's 55-7 blasting of Florida Atlantic, though it means little? Do we nitpick? We'll opt, instead, to keep it short and sweet and grade it "Incomplete" until such an effort it reproduced against a worthy competitor -- and then another. Anyway, as you enjoy your Labor Day holiday, here goes:

--Nebraska's basketball team received a commitment from a Top 100 point guard. Seems like great news, given last season's success and the other recent additions to the program. We can temper that all with the fact that Fran Fraschilla said Tai Webster would have been a Top 50 recruit had he played in the United States in high school.

--Wisconsin choked against LSU. Wisconsin still has never done anything meaningful in football. Jump around.

--Baylor debuted last night against SMU, winning 45-0 and playing for the first time in its new stadium. It looks like a toilet seat. And don't let the aerials fool you -- the surrounding area is a nasty combination of a dilapidated interstate and a dirty river -- and a 9.5-foot statue
of Robert Griffin....R!! G!!! 3!!!!

OK, we've had a few moments to collect our thoughts and are prepared to make a statement on Saturday's NU game:

--Nebraska racked up 784 yards, and Tom Shatel said it's no time to give the offense a nickname but then tried to. He lauded all the unit's playmakers and then provided little detail on said playmakers.

--Tommy Armstrong looked proficient when passing. Will those receivers still be wide open against good competition?

--Armstrong looked deft enough on his feet to make long runs when they were there and to convert first downs in short-yardage situations. Does he have the vision to do the same throughout the season?

--Ameer Abdullah amazed and amassed more than 200 yards. Can he overcome the fumbling issue that has been the only bugaboo in his career and that has cost NU three wins in two seasons?

--Kenny Bell had 116 yards receiving and only feigned injury after a bad play once. Can he keep his slightly bitchy attitude under wraps when times get tough? Are his days as a punt returner over before they began (three career returns, two fumbles)?

--Jordan Westerkamp had the "Catch of the Year." Just ask ESPN and every Nebraska fan. If that's the best catch we get to see in college football this season, it will be a pathetic season.

--Demornay Pierson-El returned two punts for 14 yards. Has NU found its full-time specialist? The answer, should be an unequivocal "FUCK YES." If you don't think PYB is qualified to make that call, use the numbers. No fumbles and a seven-yard average. Case closed.

--Randy Gregory hurt his knee on the first defensive series. Is this injury serious? Will it linger on throughout the season? Will the details of the injury be released or shrouded in secrecy for two months? Private Bo Pinelli said the defensive end if  "probably day-to-day."

Is it truly day-to-day with #4? The defensive #4, that is. Is there anything more JV than both the team's star quarterback and star defensive player wearing the same jersey number? When discussing Gregory in the post-game press conference, Pinelli said:

“He probably could have went back in the game,” Pelini said, “but we decided not to.”
Could Bo Pinelli get a firmer grasp on the English language than he does on fashion? For a coach who leans on academic all-conference statistics every season after not winning anything on the field, one would think he'd know better than using 'could have went.' We digress....

--Outside of butchering the final drive of the first half (clock management) and his obsession with fade passes inside the five yard line, Tim Beck had a decent game. Can he repeat that effort and find ways to get the ball in open space to Terrell Newby, et. al.? Against good teams? Can he not panic when trailing by one score in the third quarter?

There you have it....a beautiful sunny day in Lincoln. Lots of post-game sunshine after a massive offensive onslaught. The defense appeared solid, albeit against a backup quarterback. Results look good on paper, but are still inconclusive and left us with a lot more questions (see above), than answers.

After finishing a three-year stretch in Dallas and moving to Charlotte, we're primed to spend Labor Day on the lake, and are signing off with this admittedly uninspired and cursory effort. We know media outlets are prone to make snap judgments after each and every game (Kirk Herbstreit was naming his four playoff teams by Saturday evening), but we'll resist the urge to crown any asses just yet.

Win at Fresno (the Bulldogs lost 52-13 against USC so PYB is sure they'll give a Herculean effort against NU in two weeks) and in Lincoln against Miami, and we'll talk.

For now, we take stock and get ready to go through the motions for a morning kickoff against McNeese State. Tremendous. At least we have golf's FedEx Cup to keep us excited in the meantime -- we can only imagine what the event has in store after today's epic battle between Russell Henley and Billy Horschel sets the stage.

We'll be just fine.


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