Survive and Advance
Fans should feel fortunate for Husker escape
The phrase "survive and advance" is most associated with tournament play, particularly the NCAA basketball tournament. But, it feels like an apt description of the current college football landscape. On the Sunday morning following losses by nine teams ranked in the top 25, Husker fans can take a certain measure of solace and even pride in having survived the week without a loss. Even with a narrow overtime victory, they were able to advance toward a possible conference title game and stay alive among the ever-narrowing field of teams in the BCS hunt.
Separation in the Conference Races
It may be easy for some fans to be upset about Nebraska's narrow escape at Ames. There is a lot for the Huskers to get fixed. But a victory, no matter how close, is better than what Missouri is looking at now. The Tigers went to Lubbock, squandered a lead, and lost to Texas Tech, 24-17. The Husker win coupled with the Tiger loss creates a bit more breathing room for Nebraska as it tries to finish out the season and capture the North Division title.
Meanwhile, things are starting to shake out a bit in the South too. Saturday started with three teams - Oklahoma, Baylor and Oklahoma State - trying to get some traction in the race for their division. The Cowboys put themselves in the drivers seat (for the time being) by popping Baylor's bubble - 55 to 28. Down in College Station, Oklahoma got wrecked by Texas A&M 33-19.
The implications are getting clearer. Nebraska's date with A&M in two weeks looks quite a bit harder. And, should the Huskers manage to capture the North, their opponent could likely be determined by the winner of the "Bedlam" game between Oklahoma and Oklahoma State.
On the National Scene...
As with every November in recent memory, the BCS is a mess right now. That's just how it should be during the stretch run. It feels like a tournament ("survive and advance") because that's how it is when ranked foes from the same conference get together.
Saturday was a bloodbath, except at the very top of the rankings. Oregon and Auburn managed to hold serve and stay in good position. After that, TCU made it clear that they will be a force by humiliating Utah by 40 points. Thanks for dropping by, Utes.
Boise State overwhelmed another mediocre foe, while a couple of the "one loss" crew of BCS contenders got tripped up by tough conference games. As mentioned before, Oklahoma went on the road and got beat. Alabama couldn't survive a trip to LSU, losing 24-21. (Don't count the offensively challenged Tigers out of the mix quite yet folks.)
When you step back and survey the carnage of college football's 10th week, the Huskers' 1-point win looks so much better than the alternative. Survive and advance, Huskers. Survive and advance.