(2-0, 0-1-1 ATS)
(1-1, 1-1 ATS)
One year ago almost to the day, the Washington Huskies pulled off one of the greatest upsets in their school’s history when they beat the USC Trojans at home. At Husky Stadium on Saturday, they can rewrite their history once again if they can take out the No. 8 ranked team in the land, the Nebraska Cornhuskers.
Things aren’t quite at their best yet for the Huskers, and head coach Bo Pelini knows it. Nebraska has done enough to win two games, but not enough to really be impressive enough to start moving up in the polls for it. In order to compete with teams like Texas and Oklahoma in their own division, the Cornhuskers are going to need to do significantly better than this and win games like this one going away. So far on the year, the ground game has been amazing for Nebraska. QB Taylor Martinez is leading the way with 284 yards and five scores, though both RB Roy Helu (14 carries, 136 yards, 2 TDs) and RB Rex Burkhead (14 carries, 134 yards, 1 TD) have great numbers for two games of work as well. There needs to be a more balanced attack between run and pass though, as one passing TD in two games isn’t going to cut it. The Black Shirts have allowed more yards than they probably would be preferring at this point, as 289.0 against Western Kentucky and Idaho is probably a wee excessive.
Ok, QB Jake Locker. If you want the Heisman Trophy, go get it in this game. The stars are supposed to shine on the grandest stages, and with a national TV audience watching, Locker has a real chance to shine incredibly brightly. So far this year, his passing numbers are fantastic. Locker has thrown for 555 yards and five TDs without making the mistake of throwing an INT. He was especially solid last week, going 22-of-33 for 289 yards with four scores in an easy 41-20 win over the Syracuse Orange. Head coach Steve Sarkisian has to be worried about his defense. Facing teams like BYU and Syracuse is nothing like what he is going to see over these next two weeks against Nebraska and USC, so we only expect to see these numbers get worst. U-Dub is averaging allowing 243.0 passing yards, 129.0 rushing yards, and 21.5 points per game. All of those numbers rank in the bottom half of the nation.
The oddsmakers have made this line so sharp that it might be square. Had Washington not won that game last year against the Trojans, perhaps the perception would be significantly different. Still, let’s look at the bottom line here. Nebraska is a team that has a lot of room to improve and could clearly be a contender for the National Championship. Washington just isn’t at that level. Locker could come up with a career day and shock us all, but even if he does, we tend to believe that laying just three points is far too little to ask of a strong bunch of Cornhuskers.
Selection: Nebraska Cornhuskers -3