Travis KriensSports Genius
Growing up as a Nebraska football fan, I highly anticipated the Jacks trip down to Lincoln this past Saturday for nearly three years, even before it was publicly announced in December of 2007 that the two schools would play.
Like everyone else, I knew that SDSU didn’t have a shot of winning, let alone competing against a football powerhouse that had five national championships, including three in a four year span during the “90s.
Even if Nebraska had just completed their second losing season since 1961 (5-7 in 2007), I thought that the Huskers would have things turned around by the time the 2010 season rolled around. And they did, coming into the game ranked sixth in the country and having a reasonable shot at a sixth national title.
I had never been to a Nebraska game before, but I knew I was making the trip south even if I had to pay nearly double the face value for tickets. This was possibly a once in a lifetime type of game that may never happen again. After the 17-3 Husker victory, I wouldn’t count on SDSU being invited back anytime soon.
FCS teams, especially those that start the season 0-2, are not supposed to come into Lincoln Memorial Stadium in front of 85,000 people and actually give Nebraska a competitive game for a half, let alone well into the fourth quarter.
If not for two blown calls that went against the Jacks (just look at the replays), SDSU would have had the ball late in the fourth quarter, tied at 17, with a chance to pull off the biggest upset in college football – if not sports – this year.
You ask any SDSU fan before the game if they would be satisfied with a two touchdown loss at Nebraska, the overwhelming majority would have said yes in a heartbeat. Is playing one of the top 10 teams in the country close for four quarters something to be proud of? Absolutely. Should people be satisfied with that, just knowing how the actual game played out? Absolutely not.
Moral victories don’t count in the standings. SDSU doesn’t get any less of a loss because they played a more talented team closer than expected, just like you don’t get more than one win for upsetting a team that no one thought that you could beat.
If you asked the Jackrabbit players or coaches if they consider the Nebraska game a success, I would be shocked if one of them said yes. They didn’t step on the field to have it be close at the end. They stepped on the field to win.
One could argue that what SDSU did to Nebraska is more impressive then what USD did a couple weeks ago at Minnesota just based on the huge difference in talent between the Huskers and the Gophers. One team is in the national title hunt (Nebraska) while the other would struggle to finish in the top three of the Missouri Valley (Minnesota).
Who’s to say that the Coyotes won’t go down to Nebraska and beat the Huskers just like you can assume that the Jacks would have beaten Minnesota this season? It really comes down to one thing, one team lost (SDSU) and won team won (USD).
You don’t know how the game is going to play out until the game is actually played and the SDSU/Nebraska game didn’t follow the script that so many had already written for it.
One team’s fan base is happy with how things turned out, while the other’s are asking what went wrong and it has nothing to do with who won or lost.
With the Nebraska game now a nice memory, the Jacks playoff hopes are on the line this week at Northern Iowa and pretty much every week here on out.
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