Upset Alerts are a staple of college football radio or television shows during the season. However, this week an entirely different warning seems to be appropriate for the Nebraska Cornhuskers.
We’re looking at a DIYDDIYD Alert.
More traditionally known — as traditionally as it’s going to get at this point — as a “Damned If You Do, Damned If You Don’t” Alert.
Nebraska is undefeated, ranked No. 10 in the country. Yet, members of Husker Nation are just waiting for this team to get knocked off. I blame part of it on the past regime — not because it’s easy to, but rather because Bo Pelini’s teams would go into a game like Indiana woefully (mentally) unprepared, and a loss wouldn’t be shocking despite a bye week preceding it.
However, with Mike Riley at the helm, a mixture of levelheadedness and vigilance has emerged. While there have been struggles in the first half of games, halftime adjustments have been made, and we’ve been over the fourth quarter strength ad nauseam at this point.
HuskerOnline.com recently put out a piece asking, “Can Nebraska handle the expectations of a top 10 ranking?”
Last I checked, the expectations of this Nebraska team are the same of any other, Top 10 or otherwise, and that’s to win.
I’ll admit that before the season kicked off that Indiana stood out to me as a game that could offer some trouble. The Hoosiers are physical, but four players including All-American guard Dan Feeney are questionable for Saturday.
Back to the DIYDDIYD Alert. Nebraska opened as an eight-point favorite. That line has now dropped to three. Vegas loves them some Hoosiers.
Let’s take a look at how BTN.com views the Nebraska-Indiana matchup as a potential upset:
“While it wouldn’t be a stunner if Wisconsin beats Ohio State, let’s go with Indiana over No. 10 Nebraska. The Cornhuskers are unbeaten and coming off a bye week. Mike Riley’s second season in Lincoln is going swimmingly on both sides of the ball.
“And a big key has been a positive turnover margin (plus four) and an ability to finish that has seen the Huskers outscore foes 78-6. Indiana is a rising program under Kevin Wilson, already knocking off Michigan State and pushing Ohio State last week.
“The offense is as potent as ever behind QB Richard Lagow and RB Devine Redding, along with WRs like Nick Westbrook and Mitchell Paige. And new coordinator Tom Allen has the defense playing well. This is a very deadly game for NU.”
Yeah, about those wins…
I’m not trying to diminish Indiana as a worthy opponent, even at 3-2. Last week, the Ohio State Buckeyes essentially sleepwalked through a 38-17 victory (if you’ve got a spare 30 minutes, see for yourself), but I brush that aside when considering a loss to Wake Forest that included five interceptions thrown by the Hoosiers. Yes, they did defeat Michigan State, but this isn’t the Michigan State we’re used to, and that pains me to say — I kinda like Sparty.
On one hand, Indiana is (was?) supposed to be a speed bump in Nebraska’s eventual 7-0 record heading into Madison, Wisconsin. Now, it seems like the Huskers are the ones playing a Top-10 team in its backyard.
If the Big Red wins, will the headlines say “No. 10 Nebraska Upends Indiana in Stunning Fashion?”
All I know is Nebraska’s supposed to win one way or another, and the Huskers will get little credit if they do.
That’s okay. Better to be damned if you do win, than if you don’t. Winning is always the better problem to have, no matter what the critics might say.