I'll start by saying that I love the matchup between Nebraska and Arizona tonight in the Extenze energy drink Holiday Bowl tonight. I've thought Arizona was underrated most of the year and had them ranked higher than any of the major polls throughout the year. I was pretty shocked to see that Arizona started as the favorite(now underdogs), expecting something more along the lines of the 73% of America that picked Nebraska to win via ESPN. Let's take a look at how I see this one playing out.
Arizona- All the talk is about two stingy defenses playing in this game, but I'm not really seeing it. They gave up the following point totals: Iowa(most similar offense to Nebraska-very basic)-27, Oregon St-32, Washington-36, Stanford-38, Oregon-44(2 overtimes at least). I don't see it. The majority of those high scores are running teams similar to Nebraska. They have a better pass defense but who knows if that will even matter much against Nebraska. Their offense is led by their 7 foot quarterback Nick Foles who resembles Matt Jones from Arkansas a few years back (minus the Coke problem hopefully). My biggest fear is running back Nic (finally someone who spells their name right) Grigsby, who is finally healthy after an injury plagued year. Quarterback and overall offense advantage-Arizona. My other biggest worry is the Stoops connection. I'm sure Mike was asking brotha Bob all kinds of questions over Christmas dinner, so lets just hope that Bobby did the honorable thing and refused to gossip.
Nebraska- My first thought is that Ndamukong Suh is under a lot of pressure going into this game. The Big XII Championship is fresh in every one's mind and all eyes will be on him tonight-including Arizona's. I expect him to be as dominant as he has been all year, but to put up paltry stats compared to his last outing. He will go down as the best defensive player in Nebraska history, if not Big XII history(can't think of anyone better), if not NCAA history(too hard to judge).
My next thought is how big a game this is for "The Wildman" Zac Lee. We know he will be amped up for the game for better or worse, lets just hope he hits his peak in the 4th quarter. I think the Wildman is playing for his job going into next year. If he struggles like he did in the Big XII Championship, I think the Cody Green era starts in the first game next year. However, Nebraska has a chance to compete at a very high level next year and might not want to go through the growing pains of a first year starting quarterback. That's why I think if he can play well in this game then he will go into next year as the starter. Green is supposed to see some action tonight as well, but has been unimpressive so far, otherwise the job would probably already be his.
Prediction- I feel very confident about Nebraska winning this game. I think they boast the best defense in the country, and I don't think Arizona will be able to score much unless Grigsby is able to regain his form to the tune of over 300 yards in the first two games this year. I envision Nebraska shutting down the run and then pressuring Matt Jones Lite, who is pretty immobile from what I hear on the streets. I think Zac Lee plays well throwing mostly from playaction along with Helu cracking the 100 yard barrier, and Sexy Rex Burkhead chipping in for 50 yards. Nebraska should be extra motivated after getting screwed against Texas, and I think they take it out on the pretty boys from Arizona.
Nebraska 24, Arizona 9