RMN: What is the confidence level of Husker fans heading into this game?
"Most Husker fans think we're going to lose but have a chance to win.
This is in striking contrast to an alternate universe in which I've spent most of my life where with few exceptions we've crushed Missouri. Husker fans are happy throughout the entire season until we run into Oklahoma around Thanksgiving. It's rather disconcerting here, and while I still have hope I can make it back to my own universe, I wlll continue to root for this Nebraska team with every fiber of my being because that's how foolish I am.
I understand their anxiety It's difficult to have confidence in a Husker defense that doesn't seem to have a lot of confidence in itself. Still, there is hope."
RMN: Assess where both these teams rank in the Big 12 North and where you think each team belongs nationally.
"They're the two best teams in the North, despite what anyone in Kansas thinks. No one respects either team nationally, so a win in this game will knock one of them out of the national spotlight.
They'll be banned, ostracized and the other one will continue to fight for another week.
Missouri will take a step towards becoming something more than ornamental corn."
RMN: Has Nebraska cured any of the problems that plagued them towards the end of non-conference play?
"Against Wake Forest and Ball State we did not tackle well, which allowed both opponents to gain first downs and stay in the game. In the Iowa State game, we tackled well, but we let the Cyclones catch the ball before we tackled them.
All of this bodes very badly for Mizzou. We're clearly working our way up to one of two things:
- Tackling the other team before they catch the ball, which would be pass interference.
- Doing something about stopping the Tiger receivers from catching the ball.
Which will happen? Who knows, but my legs tingle with enthusiasm that the plays will go 70/30 for the latter."
RMN: If the Huskers are somehow able to shut down the Missouri offense, how wlll they do it?
"- Keep them off the field. Run the ball for 13 minutes a quarter. No, wait, 14 minutes a quarter because most of Mizzou's scoring drives are around two minutes. Then we'll win.
- Trick them into giving the ball to the Huskers. Just like liberos in volleyball and goalies in soccer wear a different color jersey, Nebraska will have a player slip into black (or gold) and steal the
ball away from the Tigers just as they are about to score, causing much frustration and gnashing off teeth in Columbia. It we cannot do that, then we'll make sure to get a fifth down or kick the ball high in the air in the end zone as time expires to score a winning touchdown.
- Steal their clothes before the game. I love that one."
RMN: How important is this game to the fans, to the team, and in the grand scheme of things, to the tenure of Bill Callahan?
"The Big 12 North is so fickle that one loss could mean losing the North title because of a tiebreaker, so it's not so much a loss to Missouri that could be disastrous, it's that there is no longer room for error. That makes the Husker fans I know crazy because we're not so used to in-certainty. Husker fans in this universe will bottle up everything inside, so much that if we don't win the Big 12 North and go to a good bowl game, I'm afraid for what might happen to the coaches.
Husker defensive coordinator Kevin Cosgrove is in more trouble this year than Bill Callahan.
If we win, then everything will be fine for a week. The harvest will continue as planned and we will not have to invade Colorado for the traditional human sacrifice that must be offered to the gods when we're beaten by Missouri. If I were Coloradan, I'd be very nervous this weekend."
RMN: And a prediction:
As I have previously described we will run the ball better, consuming much time. We will do more of the tackling as required. And we can kick the ball farther and truer than your team. We will kick the ball through the uprights from a long ways away with very little time left for your team to score. Therefore we will win. Let it be written, therefore let it be done.
In case you're wondering, yes, I was wearing a helmet when I wrote this. I'll be wearing it again Saturday night."