I am a superstitious guy, I can admit that. I believe in jinxes and that teams riding too high often come crashing down in some horrible regression to the mean that can happen at any time. Maybe not this week, or the next, or the next, or ever really, but the potential is always there, and the more you talk about how great a team is the more you increase the odds of catastrophe. It's something the Badgers know too well, unless we're still acknowledging that this never happened.
Which is why Bo Pelini freaks me out. His track record over the last two seasons indicates that he understands, as well as anybody, that proud teams are just as beatable as any other. Like when the Cornhuskers came within a point of edging Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, or No. 3 Texas in the 2009 Big 12 Championship game. Or in 2010 when Nebraska beat No. 14 Oklahoma State and No. 6 Missouri in consecutive weeks, and came within three points of defeating an Oklahoma squad that really doesn't look a whole lot different from this year's iteration.
Pelini has been eerily calm this season, almost zen-like for a man who has made sideline tirades an art form. This week he has kept reporters bay with waves of coachspeak platitudes. When asked about the historical significance of the game Pelini said, straight-faced, "The hoopla is all for you guys. It's just the next game on the schedule for us." To my conspiracy-addled mind he just seems like a man with something up his sleeve right now, who is doing a very good job of not showing whatever "it" is.
At the very least, he has shown that he is a man that won't go down unless he's swinging, much less lose any game by 10 points.
Excuse me while I slap the victory cigars out of your mouths. The five things I am most afraid of this week, in no particular order:
1) Bo Pelini is magic. See above.
2) Taylor Martinez is freaky fast. He can turn the game around in a hurry.
3) This guy returning kicks for NU.
5) I mean, how much do we know about UW's defense really? Just wondering.
Off Tackle Empire has plenty on this week's game. OBrienSchofieldismyHero runs down the Badgers. KennardHusker gets everyone jazzed about the game and the season. And the OTE Potluck includes plenty of delicious thoughts on the game. Oh, and Wisconsin still tops this week's Power Poll.
Nick Toon is on pace to become just the third Badger receiver to top 1,000 yards receiving. I'm feeling pretty good about this game if he is even within shouting distance of 100 yards against Dennard.
Peter Konz on meeting Russell Wilson for the first time: "It's the weirdest thing, trying to think, what is this kid going to like about our program? Do you fish? He's an East Coast guy, coming to Wisconsin. Does he eat cheese curds? Do you watch the Packers? What do you do."
The State Journal reminds us that the Badgers will be forced to play four quarters this weekend.
Mike Taylor is healthy, and on pace to finish with more than 90 tackles this season.
Barry Alvarez weighs in on Big Ten expansion, taking a quality over quantity stance.
The Huskers are still trying to settle on a cornerback opposite Dennard. Last week they started Corey Cooper, who had switched over from receiver just five days before the game. Just something to keep in mind, Jared Abbrederis.
Taylor Martinez thinks Camp Randall fans are soft. Okay, he doesn't think that. But he did say he wasn't worried about the crowd throwing him off his game.
37 years later, former Badger players still remember their big upset of Nebraska. Nice read from Jim Polzin.
Wrapping up: The Badgers somehow dropped a spot in TiqIQ's ticket price rankings despite the high demand for this week's game. Nebraska comes in at No. 2.