This year’s sponsor is Bridgeport Education, a start diversion from the Pacific Life legacy that we’ve grown used to. As a partner in the higher educational process, it’s interesting to see that this bowl game (a tax free educational endeavor) has picked up money from another (presumably) tax free educational provider. Wonder what we’ll learn?
Since this match up is a repeat of a game from earlier this season, here’s a repeat of part of my preview from last year:
I’ll be honest- of all the “pre-CS” games, the Holiday Bowl has always been one of my favorites. Sure, the Buckeyes have defeated anything Mormon that they faced in the game, but my formative memories of this clash are as follows:
This bowl has been to BYU what the Humanitarian Bowl is to Boise State- a rite of passage and a part of the traditions and holiday plans for the folks from Provo. Begun as a way to get the WAC some love by pitting their teams against national powers, the Holiday Bowl has been a part of the San Diego seasonal festival since 1978, with the WAC serving as host until 1994. In 1997 the ties switched to the Big 12, and the game currently sees the #3 PAC10 program against the #5 Big 12 team. This year, the Holiday Bowl is somewhat of a consolation game- for Nebraska, who’d rather (for the second straight year) be in a BCS game as the Big 12 championship; for Washington, who are the #3 team by default, since Stanford and Oregon received BCS nods, and Southern Cal gets to stay at home and watch the games over at Kiffykins’ house.
Looking back at the season, it was the game in Seattle that set the tone for the Huskers’ season, and was the coming out party for Taylor Martinez. After struggling on offense last year, Nebraska found their rhythm behind the legs and arms of the redshirt freshman from Corona California, who accounts for 210 yards of offense per game. He’s supported by Roy Helu’s 1200 yards rushing and a receiving corps that have given Big Red fifteen touchdowns on the season.
After replacing the defensive juggernaut that is Ndamukong Suh, the Blackshirts have seemingly become more of a cohesive unit without a leader of his caliber. Jared Crick does continue dominance up front, with 63 total tackles and 9.5 sacks on the season, while the leading hitter is Lavonte David who has 145 tackles for the year. Any review of the Husker defense could not be complete without pointing out the awesomeness of Baker Steinkuler’s name and Prince Amukamara’s hair.
The 2010 Nebraska team reflects both the tradition of Husker Nation and the personality of their coach, Ohio State alumni Bo Pelini. A fiery competitor who always lets it loose on the sideline, Pelini received some guidance from the University following the game in College Station earlier this year. Although, to be honest, he absolutely had something to be upset about. Although Carl may have gone too far…
Husker/Buckeye connections: Other than the fact that Big Red would not be successful without the Ohio State alum on their sidelines, there are few other direct connections. Woody managed a 2-0 record against the Huskers back in the day; but all bets are off come October 8 of 2011 when the Buckeyes travel to Lincoln. Of course, tBBC will have up close coverage of both the game and of the long walk home from the stadium after my wife refuses to ride in the car with me.
On the opposite sidelines will be Steve Sarkisian in his second year as the UW leader, and Seattle fans have found sunshine in their rain as he is currently undefeated against his former employer. This would normally be the point where I’d make fun of Southern Cal again, but that would be a bit too bush league of me.
Washington’s offense begins and ends with Jake Locker, a mobile quarterback who’s been highly touted but has struggled to live up to many of the expectations placed before him coming out of high school (gee, that sounds familiar somehow). Locker has been banged up a bit this season, which has impacted his numbers but hasn’t taken other teams’ focus away from him. And when that happens, running back Chris Polk benefits, to the tune of 1200+ yards rushing on the year.
While Locker is the recognizable name, linebacker Mason Foster is someone that west coast football fans are more than familiar with. An All-PAC10 linebacker and a third team All American, he’s achieved 151 total tackles on the season- the most in the conference since 1989 (another Husky, by the way). He has forced two fumbles, recovered two fumbles, and has 4.5 sacks on the year.
UW/Buckeye connections: Ohio State has an 8-3 record over the Huskies, with the last meeting coming in 1997 2007. Interestingly enough, yours truly was able to attend that game with the Nebraska fan in his life; maybe she was on a scouting trip…
Who Are We Picking?
Let’s see… it was 56-21 in Seattle, and Nebraska has gotten stronger as the season has progressed, while UW is banged up. Yeah, this one has the possibility of being the ugliest thing in San Diego this holiday season. If you’d rather spend time with family, you can probably just watch this: