Hot Reads: Upsets old and new
SOMETHING OLD >>> Bob Devaney’s final season as head coach at Nebraska didn’t get off to the start he would have liked. In 1972 Nebraska was the preseason No. 1, two-time defending national champions, and riding a 32-game winning streak when unranked UCLA beat the Huskers at the L.A. Coliseum 20-17. The Los Angeles Times has a look at that game, including this quote from then quarterback and future star of “Summer School,” Mark Harmon:
I put my chin strap in my pants, because I didn’t want to lose it with all the people on the field. By the time I got back to the locker room, I barely had my shoes on.
The chin strap seems to be an odd thing to worry about after a win the Times says is bigger than any other outside of the USC series.
But the real interesting piece of information from that story, might involve this year’s squad: The Bruins haven’t been ranked in 78 weeks.
RISING AND FALLING >>> The Sporting News released its latest Big Ten power rankings and Nebraska is No. 2 behind Michigan State. More surprising than anything they say about the Huskers is how harsh writer Steve Greenberg was on Michigan:
No matter how good—how great—Alabama is, there’s simply no way to regard the Wolverines anymore as a team that might take meaningful strides in 2012. If Brady Hoke somehow manages to squeeze another 11 wins out of his program this season, Michigan should reward him with a lifetime contract.
“Simply no way.” Seems pretty tough for an opening week loss to the defending national champions.
TOP 10 >>> Speaking of rankings, Tommy Tomlinson has Nebraska in his “True Top Ten” at SportsOnEarth.com. (Sports On Earth is the new web arm of USA Today featuring writers like Joe Posnanski, Leigh Montville, and Will Leitch.) The rankings are strictly resume based, meaning 1) there will be wild fluctuations week-to-week and 2) teams like Texas State and Duke can actually crack the rankings here as opposed to the real polls. Nebraska checked-in at No. 9, one spot ahead of Duke and two spots behind Frank Solich and Ohio U.:
Nebraska was one of the few big-name teams that scheduled a worthy home opener; Southern Miss went 12-2 last year, won Conference USA and beat Nebraska in 2004. But this time, quarterback Taylor Martinez, known for his running, threw for 354 yards and five TDs. If he’s that good the rest of the year, Nebraska will be politely insufferable in Lincoln again. (OK, it’s been politely insufferable the whole time — you just haven’t paid attention in a while.)
SOMETHING NEW >>> ESPN Big Ten blogger Brian Bennett ranks Nebraska’s game against UCLA as the second-most likely upset in the Big Ten this weekend. Michigan, taking on Air Force, earns the top-spot which…wow…an unranked Michigan squad after week two? That would make things interesting. Check out the video here.