Monday, October 4, 2010

Nebraska Is In Control of it's Destiny: Humility is the Key

By Kraig Lundberg
Eric Francis/Getty Images
A week off probably did the Huskers some good.

After a dishearteningly weak win over South Dakota State, the Cornhuskers learned a valuable lesson: stay humble, even in victory.

After a 56-21 beatdown of Washington two weeks ago, which is looking gorgeous after a 32-31 Huskies win over 18th-ranked USC at USC, the Huskers got overconfident and lost their focus against a severely over-matched opponent.

Now, the Huskers enter the October gauntlet. The past two seasons, the Huskers sputtered and stumbled during the 10th month, and with the way the schedule is aligned, this season has the ability to play out the same way.

The Huskers face Kansas State in Manhattan this Thursday, and will get a serious test from one of the best running backs in the nation in Daniel Thomas. Nebraska has been leaky at times against the run this season, and KSU is very well coached.

This game will set the pace for Nebraska's season. If they can beat Kansas State, and stay humble, they have a shot at an undefeated regular season. Lose at KSU, and hopes of a BCS game are all but dashed.

The next Saturday, the Huskers host the stumbling Texas Longhorns in a matchup that was supposed to be a possible preview of the Big 12 title game. Instead, UT will be coming off a two-game losing streak and will do all it can to take down Nebraska.

How will the Huskers fare in October?

Beat Kansas State, Texas, and Oklahoma State
Beat Kansas State and Texas but lose to Oklahoma State
Beat Kansas State and Oklahoma State but lose to Texas
Beat Oklahoma State and Texas but lose to Kansas State
Beat Kansas State but lose to Oklahoma State and Texas
Lose to Kansas State, Texas, and Oklahoma State
Total votes: 907
Texas will have a tough time generating any offense against Nebraska, but the same might be said about Nebraska's offense against the Longhorns. It all depends on which Texas defense shows up: the one that stopped Texas Tech cold, or the one that got run over by UCLA. My bet is on the former.

A week after that, the Huskers must travel to Stillwater to take on the Cowboys of Oklahoma State, a surprisingly good team with a ton of offensive firepower that will provide a stiff test for the Husker defense.

OSU's defense isn't incredible, but it is definitely better than, say, Washington's. This matchup has all the makings of a trap game. The Huskers have not won in Stillwater since 1995, and Nebraska may be vulnerable after an emotional game against Texas the prior week.

This stretch will be much more difficult than each of the opponents' rankings suggest. To get through October unscathed, the Huskers will have to hang onto their humility and will have to show a consistency that they have not yet shown under Bo Pelini.

Nebraska needs to sustain the level of play they found against Washington throughout the Big 12 schedule. And that will be extremely difficult. The Huskers have a shot, however.
Cont'@ Source

Sunday, October 3, 2010

NY Yankees An Imperfect Team

This year's team has a weakness at starting pitching and maybe now in the bullpen with middle relief. I don't think you will really know if this team is actually good until the playoffs start in a few days. Joe Girardi has been running the last month of the season, like it was Spring training. He seemed to be determining, who would make the post-season roster and who would stand under the pressure of the post-season experience.
With the Yankees it is all about winning the World Series, whether they actually win the division or get in as the wild card is in-material. I have no idea, how many division titles they have; that sees to be badge of honor for the braves, who seem to win it every year and then get whacked in the playoffs. The Yankees are strong only in their first two starters; CC Sabathia and Andy Pettitte. Phil Hughes is a very weak third starter and AJ Burnett, who knows if Girardi will even let him pitch.
I still believe it or not have faith in Burnett. He has the stuff to compete with any of the top tier pitchers in the league as he demonstrated last year for the Yankees in the playoffs. That is it in the nutshell; Burnett has won in the playoffs and world series; something that Vazquez has never done or will never do. Time to shoot Vazquez thank him for putting up some innings, give him a pat on the head and cut him. He has no use in the playoffs and I would not give him the chance. The man that broke the curse of the Bambino, does not deserve a second chance. Ivan Nova on the other hand, does deserve to be included on the playoff roster. This kid has lights out stuff, although he was miserable in his lone relief appearance on Saturday in the Nightcap of the doubleheader, I saw it as a result of the unfamiliarity of the role and he was over-throwing trying to be more than he needs to be.
I see the Yankees fortunes resting on the shoulders of A.J. Burnett to repeat his playoff performances of last year. The Yankees have the lineup to beat anyone on any given day and they do have excellent, late in relievers in the trio of Wood, Chamberlain and Rivera, but the starting pitching. It always comes down to pitching come October.

Detroit Lions and Victim Consciousness
I sat here and watch the Lions outplay the Packers and then lose by 2 points. It is not that this team can get a break, it is that they actively do exactly the wrong thing at the wrong moment. Let's forget the dumb-ass penalties and the unforced turnovers. Let's take Shaun Hill who had an excellent game, he threw for 331 yards and 2 touchdowns, but when it came down to a chance to score in the Red zone in the 4th quarter, Hill chose to throw the ball rather than run in it for a Touchdown. This is a function of victim psychology. The Bears are 4-0 only because the Lions threw away the first game as a result of a bad call by the ref, but the truth is that game, they outplayed the Bears and it was only turnovers and penalties that did them in.
It’s our job to get over the hump. We’re right on it, we just can’t get over the hump.” Jim Schwartz Lions Coach It is my prediction that the Lions are going to upset quite a few top tier teams this year when Stafford gets back, they need his positive frame of mind. Stafford is a leader and Hill has not shown that quality up to this point; although he is a very competent quarterback. You could almost say that the Lions fans themselves are the liability here.
They expect their team to fail, they are great at creating self-fulfilling prophecies. This team is a lot better than their 0-4 record represents. I would even say that they still have an outside shot at the playoffs this year. Green Bay did not impress me that much, nor do the Vikings with creaky old Favre, who is one hit away from the nursing home eating gerber food.