Texas v. Nebraska - You never get a 2nd chance to make a LAST impression?
Preface: As in all end-of-season projections, we must assume that the teams in question run the table. Otherwise, this whole debate becomes a TON less interesting. But I am granting the fact that ANY game can become a big game if you lose.
The mighty Longhorns have the biggest test they have for the rest of the year coming up on Saturday against Nebraska. This is their last chance to "impress" voters and the "strength-of-schedule" part of the BCS formula with a convincing win against a ranked team. On the schedule for the remainder of the year we have a sneaky Tech team, along with an Aggie squad that I have no doubt will have 2 more losses and be out of the polls by the time they roll in to Austin on 11/24/06.
Even the Big XII Championship game is not guaranteed to help out much. Assuming a win (as all Texas Exes do), the most likely scenario is a Dec. 2 rematch with the Huskers. A series-split is the worst case scenario for both teams. The loser of the either game will likely drop out of contention for a BCS appearance.
Can the Horns do it? Early questions about Freshman quarterback Colt McCoy have been answered, but not conclusively. The kids is as cool as the other side of the pillow (thank you Stuart Scott) and has the numbers to compete with anyone in the nation (5th in QB Rating, 3rd in TD's, only 3 INT's in 147 attempts). Granted he's only 50th in yardage, but that is in a "run 1st" offense and considering that our average point differential is 39 pts and we are usually letting off the accellerator by the 4th quarter.
But McCoy does have his deficiencies. Anyone looking beyond the numbers will tell you that his decisions are not always the best. It's one thing to suggest that he just trusts his seasoned receivers to make plays...but some of those decisions were just bad. To be expected from a freshman, but bad nonetheless.
The defense has been a strength this year, as expected. Specifically, the D-Line. But with a balanced attack like Nebraska's, it is scary that the best thing you can say about the secondary is that they make big hits AFTER the catch. Linebacker coverage has been non-existent, and a freshman corner and safety have each been thrown into the mix. The good news is that gained valuable experience with the newfound offensive powerhouse of Baylor. They will be ready.
There's another side of the equation here: Nebraska kinda would like to win too...but that's for another post.