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Cotton Bowl Pre-Game Thoughts

I can only describe my feelings for this bowl game as "Hopefully Pessimistic." I think that we will have a tough time winning the game, but I think that we have a good shot of upsetting Auburn. Here are my predictions.
  • Look for Zac Taylor to have a good game. He played terribly against Oklahoma, but I think that he just wanted it a little too much. I think that he will step up for a big game tomorrow, but he won't have the pressure of playing against his childhood team and wanting to win his team a Big 12 Championship.
  • Expect our Defensive Line to have a better day stopping Auburn's run than Auburn's D-Line will have trying to stop our run. We have Brandon Jackson back; Auburn had their #2 running back (their #1 touchdown scorer and main short-yardage runner) suspended. We lost our D-Line coach, but the replacement (who has been working with the team for the last few weeks) is from Alabama, who faced Auburn earlier this season. Hopefully, we can give us a few tips at how to beat Auburn's offensive line.
  • Look for trick plays. I think that Bill Callahan, having had so much time to prepare, will have some gadgets up his sleeve. We didn't really run any against Oklahoma after running seven against Colorado (our last two games), and so I think that Callahan is going to try to work in some funny business.
  • Related to the last point, recognize that Bill Callahan has not lost a game in which he has had at least two weeks to prepare since his first season in 2004, when he lost to Colorado, leaving Nebraska with a 5-6 record. (Still, I blame that one loss more on the lack of West-Coast-Offense players to implement the West Coast Offense than on coaching. Case in point: in that game, we brilliantly ran a trick onside kick, giving us the ball with great field position. Unfortunately, we then went three-and-out.) Also, Bill Callahan was reeling at his poor coaching at the Oklahoma game--he will have his team ready to play for a win tomorrow.
My concerns:
  • Brandon Cox, Auburn's quarterback--especially against our shaky secondary. Apparently, he played terribly in his last several games (I didn't watch them), and most sports analysts think that he never really recovered from a mid-season injury. This long break, though, has apparently given him a time to recover. Will he continue to play poorly, or will he be the game's MVP?
  • Good focus on Auburn's part. One of our advantages last year against Michigan was that Michigan felt they got shafted in being placed in the Alamo Bowl rather than a better bowl. (By the way, this is the reason Michigan is going to get dominated by USC in the Rose Bowl this year.) Last year, when Auburn played Wisconsin in the Capital One Bowl, they were the better team, but they were really focused in their preparations, expecting simply to beat the Badgers with ease. Instead, they got embarrassed. So, Auburn has vowed not to be caught napping. Still, I think there are hints that they don't respect Nebraska as a football team, which could definitely be to our advantage.
My prediction: Nebraska 24, Auburn 17. (That's my hopeful side winning out over my pessimistic side.) Watch for me on television (Fox, 10:30 Central)--I'll be sitting beside my brother, who will be wearing a cornhead.

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Well hey, you were somewhat right: Auburn got 17. And Nebraska sucked it up at certain points, which means I was right.

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