Taylor Martinez put on a brilliant show last night in Manhattan as seventh-ranked Nebraska (5-0) picked up a conference victory on the road against previously undefeated Kansas State (4-1). The Cornhuskers blew out the Wildcats 48-13 to help support the idea that Nebraska is one of, if not the, best teams in the Big 12. Everybody knows that Nebraska would love nothing more than to win a Big 12 championship this season, and to do so this season as they prepare to switch conference allegiances would be like adding a cherry on top of a hot fudge sundae.
That would leave one less cherry for programs like Boise State and TCU if things continue to develop the way they are. Now that conference play is all but in full bloom from coast to coast, Boise State and TCU are going to fight a public opinion battle against schools that excel in conference play, including Nebraska. Add Oregon to that mix as well. The Ducks have already passed Boise State, and if Nebraska continues to win look for the Huskers to pick up votes as well. In other words, prepare for a rematch between Boise State and TCU in a BCS bowl without national championship implications riding on it.
Last season the Broncos and Horned Frogs met in the Fiesta Bowl in a match-up that was criticized to be a sham or an easy way out for the BCS committee. The two programs, from non-BCS automatic qualifying conferences, were not given a chance against a BCS conference champion in the bowl lineup last season. Instead of having a chance against Cincinnati, Georgia Tech, Alabama or Texas, they played each other. Pairing up one school against Florida or Iowa would have been preferable to seeing them play each other, and it is starting to look as though we are heading down a similar path this season.
The latest AP poll has Boise State at fourth and TCU at fifth. TCU has Oklahoma starting to breathe down their neck with 67 votes separating the two. Nebraska is a little farther away in seventh in the poll, but after Thursday night’s nationally televised game it would be logical to expect the Huskers to start picking up some steam. The pressure is on now for both TCU and Boise State to start piling on the points and shutting down their opponents in order to maintain their current rankings. Wins over Wyoming and UNLV will pale in comparison to wins over Texas — even though they are in a down year — and Kansas State.