A Palatable Prediction
Already on newstands you can pick up 2012 college football preview magazines. While it wouldn't be a bad way to spend Father's day, some of us just couldn't wait that long. There are a number of choices available, but Athlon has became a favorite because of the way it presents a nice digestible one-page snapshot of each team that crams a lot of good information in. Athlon projects each team's performance over the course of the season and finishes with its bowl predictions. Last year, they correctly forecast Nebraska in the Capital One Bowl. This year, they have NU headed to the Fiesta Bowl to take on Oklahoma. It may not be the Rose Bowl, but that's an outcome most Husker fans could get excited about.
The whole slate of bowls they predict is intriguing. Michigan would face off with Oregon in the Rose Bowl. Who wouldn't want to watch that game? Then Alabama takes on Texas in the Sugar Bowl, which could actually make some of us root for Nick Saban. The national championship game would feature USC against LSU. That could be a good one. Then the Orange Bowl would be stuck with Florida State and Louisville. Even in June, that one doesn't sound very appealing.
The mechanics of the prediction certainly make sense. Nebraska goes 10-2 (6-2 in the Big Ten) and Michigan goes 11-1 (7-1), to set up the Rose Bowl appearance. They don't spell out where the wins and losses come, but you could guess that NU loses at home to Michigan and on the road against Ohio State while the lone loss for Michigan comes in Columbus. OSU drops a game on the road at either Michigan State, Penn State, or Wisconsin. They aren't in competition with Nebraska or Michigan in the postseason as part of their penalty for the year.
For some fans, sitting out another conference game might be a tough pill to swallow, as might losing to Michigan at home. It's hard to ignore what a rare and special athlete Denard Robinson has been though. The good news is that he's a senior, so October will be the last time Nebraska has to contend with him (as an added bonus OSU's Braxton Miller comes off of the regular season schedule in 2013). The consolation prize of breaking the BCS bowl drought and getting to face off with a historic rival in Oklahoma is a nothing to sneeze at. Who wouldn't want a ticket to that game? The rankings by Athlon would tell you that the Sooners would take the victory. But it's not like Athlon gets everything right.