Don't get me wrong, I think Texas will win on Saturday morning in Lincoln and may even cover the six point spread. But there are a few areas of concern that keep popping into my head.
The 11 AM start
I haven't uncovered hard data on this but I don't remember the Horns playing well historically early in the morning. Somewhere buried deep in my head are memories of slow starts in Dallas and in College Station when the kickoff has been before noon. A lot of you have better memories than I do. Am I way off or have we had trouble starting quickly with pre-noon kicks?
A Quick Nebraska Score
Recently the Cornhuskers have been scoring early and often. During their current four game winning streak, they have outscored their opponents 45-0 in the first quarter. Nebraska has scored touchdowns on their opening drive in each of the last three contests. Against Kansas: 2 plays, 80 yards, TD. Against Iowa State: 10 plays 80 yards, TD. Against Kansas State: 9 plays, 80 yards, TD. Lincoln is a tough enough place to play without falling behind early. A quick Big Red score will obviously energize the fans and produce an even louder and more difficult environment.
Health of Defense
From my seats against Baylor, I had a great view of three defensive starters: Tarell Brown, Marcus Griffin, and Roddrick Muckelroy. Unfortunately, none of them were in pads. Brown and Griffin are supposed to be ready on Saturday. Frank Okam also watched from the sidelines against Baylor. Even though Roy Miller, Thomas Marshall, and Aaron Lewis have filled in nicely and Tim Crowder has been a beast at defensive end, our chances of stopping the Cornhusker rushing attack will increase with Okam in the middle. With the new Hippa rules, coaches don't give regular injury reports. Sometimes we don't find out a player is out until warm-ups. It is unclear how healthy Brown and Griffin really are but clearly we could use both of them.
First True Road Game
This season we have played four home games, one de facto home game in Houston, and one at a neutral site in Dallas. This is our first true road test and our first trip outside Texas since last January. Only our fifth year seniors have ever been to Lincoln. This will also be Colt's first test in a hostile environment. He was certainly tested in Dallas but as tough as the Red River Rivalry is, at least half the fans are cheering for him. McCoy has answered all challenges up to this point in the season but this will be another big one.
Nebraska will need some help to beat the Horns, even in Lincoln. A quick start, a turnover fest, or a banged up secondary could prove to be enough. That said, I am not that worried. I think we win this one by a touchdown but these few areas do raise some concerns. Judging by our poll results, I am not the only one.
Are there any other areas of concern that I missed?