Saturday, May 23, 2009

Would a Bowl Game in San Diego be a Holliday?

The closer the season gets, the more the predictions keep on coming.

For the Nebraska Cornhuskers, most preseason polls have them rated as high as No. 16 and as low as No. 24. Recently, did its early Bowl Game prognostications. The website pitted Nebraska taking on Oregon in the Holliday Bowl.

Predictions should always been taken for what they are worth, ehich at this point is not a lot. Keep in mind, most people were bullish about Nebraska having a breakthrough season in 2007 but a strange thing happened, the Huskers imploded to a 5-7 record, thus ending the Bill Callahan era.

Last season, most people tabbed the Huskers as low as 7-5 (for the pessimists) to as high as 10-2 (for the Kool-Aid sippers). Nebraska went 9-4 including a 26-21 Gator Bowl win over Clemson on new Years Day, capping a finish of winning six of their final seven games.

Most people seem to think 9-3 in the regular season is a reasonable expectation. Keep in mind, the Holliday Bowl has featured teams with nine or more victories the last three seasons. The last time the Huskers played in the Holliday was 1998 during a 9-3 regular season. The Huskers lost that game to Arizona 23-20.

We’ve heard the term “progress” mentioned so many times during the Callahan regime. The Huskers went 27-22 in that four-year span, failing to qualify for a bowl game twice.

Our friends at posed the question of is the Holliday Bowl something to get excited about? That question to me represents a double-edge sword.

I remember in 2006, my wife and I were expecting our first of now three children. I wanted to go to Nebraska’s bowl game. Depending on the outcome of our Big 12 title game against Oklahoma and how many Big 12 teams drew BCS bowl bids, our choices ranged between the Holliday Bowl in San Diego, the Cotton Bowl in Dallas or the Champs Sports Bowl in Orlando. My wife inferred that San Diego would be nice. I added that as a city I’ll take San Diego but as a Bowl Game I’ll take Dallas because it’s on New Years day when the whole nation is watching.

Five turnovers later in the Big 12 Title Game, we drew Auburn in the Cotton Bowl. I flew to Dallas and with the exception of watching Callahan’s blown fake punt on his own 30-yard line that led to a 17-14 loss, I had a good time, even though I still love to choke him for calling that play.

Where the Huskers land during the bowl season not only depends on the Huskers win-loss record but how many Big 12 teams get a BCS Bowl bid.

That said, if is right, a Holliday Bowl berth is a tough sell in terms of “are the Huskers back?” Right now, I’d view it as a lateral step. Meaning, it’s not the enormous step forward of last year but it’s not a step in reverse either.

Then again, I have to see the season in real time to make that assessment.

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