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Hot Reads: Last Stand

LAST STAND >>> I imagine the 2012 Blackshirts are ready to get back on the field again. For a senior-laden group, giving up 70 points isn’t a memory you really want to have hanging around for four weeks. Nor is 10.86 yards per carry Nebraska allowed in the Big Ten championship game.

While not nearly as severe, Georgia’s in a similar situation. Alabama realized in the second half of the SEC title game that the Bulldogs couldn’t stop the Tide on the ground either. Georgia gave up 6.86 yards per carry to the Tide, the most in a game since 2008. And, like Nebraska, this is an experienced squad. From the Atlanta Journal Constitution:

In total, defensive coordinator Todd Grantham is expected to lose 12 players who started games for him this season. Three of those are underclassmen who I expect will turn pro shortly after the Jan. 1 Capital One Bowl: outside linebacker Jarvis Jones, inside linebacker Alec Ogletree and defensive lineman Kwame Geathers.

Similar to Nebraska, Georgia will return most of its pieces on offense in 2013 but the defense will be a total rebuild. The Huskers lose eight players on defense who have started this season: Eric Martin, Cameron Meredith, Baker Steinkuhler, Will Compton, Alonzo Whaley, Sean Fisher (probably), Daimion Stafford and P.J. Smith.

That will be an interesting storyline to watch in the Capital One Bowl. It will also be interesting to watch after the Capital One Bowl as the preseason rankings roll out in the months to come. People will like Georgia and Nebraska next year offensively. Defensively, it will be tough to explain why either of them is a top 10, 15, or 25 team because it will be almost all guesswork on that side of the ball.

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ALL-CONFERENCE REDUX >>> ESPN’s Big Ten bloggers unveiled their own All-Big Ten selections this week.

We don’t claim to know more about football than the league’s coaches, not for a second. But after watching every Big Ten game all season long, we found ourselves scratching our heads at some choices that didn’t seem to jibe with what we were seeing.

I’m guessing these selections are closer to what many fans expected. For Nebraska WR Kenny Bell, OG Spencer Long, CB Ciante Evans and S Daimion Stafford all made the first team. I agreed with all of those selections except for Stafford. While he had the numbers that merited first team selection, if you watched every Nebraska snap this season you also know there were plenty of plays where that wasn’t the case.

HE’S BACK >>> Western Kentucky, after losing coach Willie Taggart to South Florida, hired ex-Arkansas coach/motorcycle rider Bobby Petrino to lead the Hilltoppers.

I don’t get it. It’s not easy pursuing football success at Western Kentucky. If you win there as a coach, you’re destined to not be there very long. That puts the administration in a tough spot. You want to have a good football team but you have to know that, if you do, you’re going to have to restart every three or four years.

There’s a lot of gray area with Petrino, but there’s one area that’s black and white — he can coach. Nobody disputes that but who was more excited here, WKU getting a former SEC coach or Petrino getting a head coaching gig. If Petrino only stays for two or three years, it seems like WKU is doing him a bigger favor than he is doing the Hilltoppers.