Saturday, October 29, 2011

Nebraska Cornhuskers: pre-game thoughts

I finally am able, this morning, to get one of the kids off the computer to write my thoughts about the game against the Cornhuskers, which is just a little more than an hour away.

So let me cut to the chase.  I'm nervous.  It's in Lincoln, where the last time the Spartans played (in the first game of 1996), they were mauled 55-14.  Granted, those were different times.  It was Saban's second year as head coach and the Spartans were talent-depleted.  Tom Osborne had the Nebraska machine going strong, with a team that would go on to finish 11-2 and #6 in the nation.  MSU was simply the first of several teams the Huskers would demolish that season.

The 2011 Michigan State team has considerable more talent than that '96 squad, and Nebraska doesn't seem quite as daunting as Osborne's team.  Still, the nervous Nelly, glass-is-half-empty, expect-the-worst MSU fan that I have been conditioned to become after years of disappointment is concerned about this game.  I have flashbacks of the Iowa game last year, and am reminded that the Halloween weekend has not been kind the Spartans the last few years.  Last season's Iowa road debacle took place the day before Halloween, and the heartbreaking (and poorly officiated) '09 road loss to Minnesota was on Halloween.

Well, haven't the last few years under Dantonio been all about defying expectations?  Why can't MSU beat Nebraska in Lincoln?  Of course they can!  After all, last season the Spartans clinched their first Big Ten title in 20 years by defeating Penn State in Happy Valley for the first time since 1965.  This year, they knocked off Ohio State in Columbus for the first time since 1998. (Granted, it was a depleted OSU team, but I digress).  MSU has now beaten Michigan for the fourth consecutive year, a feat I never thought I'd see in my lifetime.  And as further icing on the cake (to borrow yet another well-worn cliche) the Spartans beat the #4 Wisconsin Badgers on a hail Mary pass.  Yes, the last few years have been about defying expectations and killing old demons.

I can't be expected to give an unbiased prediction regarding the outcome of this game.  With this in mind, I will say that the Spartans defeat the Cornhuskers, 27-24.

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