Colorado Buffaloes (+18) at Nebraska Cornhuskers
1:30 pm MT, ABC
Nothing is better than football the day after Thanksgiving. It's always a special day to wake up and know that you are in the midst of four straight days of football. CU has a daunting task today when the Buff's take on the Nebraska Cornhuskers (Game time: 1:30 pm MT, ABC Regional). Nebraska is going one direction and the Buffs are going another. The Huskers have already clinched a bowl berth under first year coach and maniac Bo Pelini. They're a very senior laden team starting with quarterback Joe Ganz and an experienced offensive line. Nebraska has won the games they were supposed to from a schedule that set up favorably for a return to a bowl game. The only impressive win this year was against Kansas and it is hard to call that "impressive" anymore as the Jayhawks have clearly regressed from the beginning of the season. Who else has Nebraska beat this year? Western Michigan, San Jose State, New Mexico State, Baylor, Iowa State and Kansas State. The Buffs would have six wins with that schedule. But Nebraska also should have beat Texas Tech. With the teams the Huskers have played, they have shown growth on both sides of the ball being ranked in the top half in both total offense and total defense in the Big 12. The offense has been the breadwinner of the team. The unit is currently ranked 9th in the nation and have put up 30+ points nine times this year. CU has only reached that mark twice against Colorado State and Eastern Washington. The first two games of the year!
Now for our beloved Buffs. Clearly, this year has been a struggle. You name it, the Buffs have probably been through it this season. Today, though, CU has a chance to make it all better...mostly. Can the Buffs win? Sure. This is a rivalry game and the stakes are high. Crazy things have happened in the past when these two teams play. Who would have thought the Buffs would put up 65 last year? This year must be different from 62 - 36 or 65 - 51. The Buffs aren't scoring 60+ points today. It would be nice but unless the defense and special teams produce 3 touchdowns, it won't happen. So how do the Buffs win today? Let's find out:
Play Like You Have Nothing To Lose, Target Ganz
Because you have nothing to lose! The Buffs are 18 point underdogs. Nebraska is hot, Colorado is cold. Nebraska is experienced, Colorado is inexperienced. Nebraska is at home, Colorado is on the road. The Buffs are a long shot and have nothing to lose. So play that way. CU must come out with fire. The Buffs need to make an extreme effort to hit Ganz as many times as they possibly can. That means limit the three man rush and zone defense. Frustrating and rattling this offense will be the key. Physicality and excitement...be the aggressor. Blitz every play if need be, stop the run...defense is the key today! This will have to be everyone's best game by far.
Colorado Cannot Turn the Ball Over
I put up a preview earlier this week that showed the Huskers had one of the worst turnover margins in the nation. That's a good thing for the Buffs. But CU is not a whole lot better, ranking 88th in the nation in turnover margin. What makes matters worse is that for Nebraska, losing the turnover battle doesn't necessarily equate to losses. Nebraska defies the rule that says "win the turnover margin, win the game." The Huskers have played eight games since they ended their weak non conference schedule. In all eight of those games, the Huskers have lost the turnover margin battle. In that span, the Huskers are 4 - 4. Only when the Huskers lose the turnover margin by 2 or more, do they seem to suffer. In those four games against Oklahoma, Kansas, Missouri and Virginia Tech, the Huskers lost all except to Kansas. CU will be fortunate to turn the Huskers over 2+ times. Cody and the rest of the Buffs' offense can't give the Corn any extra positions.
Consistency Is the Goal
Youth and injuries have a tendency to wreak havoc on being consistent. No excuses today if the Buffs want to win. Against Oklahoma State, I concluded that the main reason the Buffs lost was their inability to capitalize. CU has been horrible this year in sustaining momentum. Colorado will need to "grow up" today and string together 4 - 5 consecutive successful series at a time. Something like this: CU Offense: Points. CU Defense: 3 and Out. CU Offense: Long Drive. CU Defense: Turnover. CU Offense: Points. The Buffs have not had a group of series like this all year. If Colorado can string this together early, CU has a great chance. What has been common this year is one unit will do something positive and the other unit would not keep the momentum. Can't happen today.
Kent Riddle has one more chance to win us all back. It would take a big day but for the Buffs to win, it is going to take big things. Touchbacks, no missed field goals, block a punt, Josh Smith changing the tilt of the field (with no fumbles). This unit needs to become a positive game changer.
Here is his chance to make us a believer again. Plain and simple, he will need to play the best game of his collegiate career today. The team will go the way Cody goes. Be the leader of this team, both on and off the field.
Go Buffs! Beat the Huskers - JOIN OUR LIVE GAME THREAD AT 1:00 PM!!!!!!!!!!!!