As always, we're blessed with some great communities here on SB Nation. Corn Nation is a great one that has totally embraced Nebraska's move to the Big Ten. For this week's Q&A they took a roundtable format to answer my questions about Nebraska's first Big Ten visit to West Lafayette in football.
T-Mill: How will Nebraska overcome the large historical advantage Purdue has over the Cornhuskers, especially since they are winless in Ross-Ade Stadium?
Aaron: It's been rough. Purdue has definitely had Nebraska's number overs the years. We're hoping to get that first win against the Boilermakers this year. If not this year, though, eventually we will get you guys now that we are in the same division come 2014.
Brian: Nebraska will bring in their own portable lights, but leave them in concrete when they leave, rendering your airport useless HAHA YOU FOOLS!
Salt Creek and Stadium: We're going to wrap Taylor Martinez' knees in bubble wrap and hope that the Purdue curse doesn't touch him. But in all seriousness, I don't know what to think here. In addition to our historical success (or lack thereof), Bo Pelini also seems to struggle against first year coaches. Hazell might get himself a Big Red Scalp. My only request is that he grows a mustache in exchange.
Jon Johnston: We're winless in Ross-Ade? Crap. I had such high hopes for this season. You can't beat history, dammit. I learned that from Nikita Khruschchev. Hey have you ever seen that RussianBrides.com web site? Those are women waiting to be stalked right there.
T-Mill: Okay, a more serious question: How do Nebraska fans feel about the addition of Rutgers and Maryland, especially since Nebraska was welcomed with open arms and Rutgers and Maryland have received lukewarm welcomes at best?
Aaron: Meh. I didn't really care much for that expansion but Nebraska (and Purdue) will mostly play the schools from the midwest anyway. Trips to the east coast will be few and far between. Now if I were a fan of one of the older Big Ten schools in that eastern division, I might have some reservations about playing Maryland and Rutgers every year while missing the Iowa's and Purdue's and Illinois' of the league.
Brian: Well, I think most people get why the TV thing matters, but you're right, it seems like especially Maryland is getting the cold shoulder. However it feels like a big bailout for Maryland with the B1G money and such, but have you heard another reason? I mean, Rutgers, okay then, but Maryland was about moving on up to the East Side there, Jefferson.
Salt Creek: I don't think we're special any more. Of course, by expanding Nebraska has no shot at your friends in Bloomington, who still hold a two-game lead over us. Apparently we're simply not allowed to win in Indiana, even if that means the Big Ten has to keep expanding.
Jon J: I am so excited about the prospect of going to new places such as Rutgers and Maryland and it's always best to have an excuse to go there, like to attend a game, otherwise people might think you're doing that stalking thing again. I know not much of this Rutgers and Maryland you speak of, but they're on the east coast so they must have great seafood and I love great seafood. I'm sure the people there are very fine and they have pretty girls, which you can stalk, but you probably shouldn't because it's not good behavior and may be against the law in those states.
T-Mill: After getting stampeded by Wisconsin in the Big Ten title game (they did it to us too) is there a sense of unfinished business this season?
Aaron: It's put up or shut up time this year. That's the motto that came out of spring. No more talk of the Rose Bowl or National Titles. Just shut up and do your job. Nebraska has had some great offenses and some great defenses during Bo Pelini's tenure, but never during the same season. Eventually, the stars will align.
Brian: Well, it's like this.. have you ever seen Groundhog Day? Well, this is what it's like being a Nebraska fan the past few years. A 9-10 win season, followed by a postseason embarrassment or two. But then, hopes rekindle anew in the summer months, followed by some good wins and WTF losses, then one game to forget about 15 years of no conference titles and WAIT WHO CALLED THE JET SWEEP WAIT AGAIN WHY DOES THIS KEEP HAPPENING.
The Huskers have been good but not good enough the last few seasons (and a vast majority of the Bo Pelini era) and it gets maddening. It has divided the fan base a little bit; one side celebrates 9 win seasons and the other throws eggs at that parade with the reality that there hasn't been a bowl win in 3 years. So if 2013 has a non-BCS game or no conference title, you may see some people go into the fetal position at the bowl game.
Salt Creek: Bo Pelini will have new assistant coaches in 2014 if Nebraska's defense doesn't get it done in 2013.Or, you know, Purdue will be facing a first year coach. As my colleagues indicated above, we've been here for about five years. We're insanely consistent, all the way down to our flaws.
Jon: This question hurts me to think about and I am not answering it because I have not had sufficient alcohol. Some day I will have sufficient alcohol.... actually, no, I won't. I can drink a lot, but I cannot drink that much. I hope Bret Bielema fails miserably at Arkansas and he wrecks his motorcycle while stalking a blonde woman who does not want anything to do with him. You'd think that I might sympathize with him, but, if I can't have her he can't either.
T-Mill: Purdue has heard of the famous Blackshirts but obviously hasn't faced them. What should we expect defensively?
Aaron: Who knows how they will be this year. If Nebraska has the playmakers, they are a more aggressive defensively and can be very lights out. If they don't have those players, they play very conservative defensively. Historically, Pelini's defenses have been designed to contain and prevent big plays. Stop the run and let the other team make mistakes in the secondary. The past couple years they haven't had the big name playmakers and have had more of a bend-but-don't-break approach. Unfortunately, they broke last year against the better teams.
Brian: Aaron is right, Nebraska is cream corn up front but gets more stout in the back 7. The secondary will be led by Ciante Evans and Mohammed Seisay with a little Josh Mitchell here and there (no kidding, he's a small one). The linebacking core is very young but awash in players expected to compete big time, such as David Santos and Jared Afalava. That D Line though, that's where the issues were last year. There is hope that guys like Randy Gregory (if he qualifies, knock-knock) and Vincent Valentine can lift what was a very underwhelming group last year to a level where the back 7 doesn't have to do everything. Ed. Note: YOU STOLE RANDY GREGORY FROM US YOU BASTARDS!!!
Salt Creek: Get drunk on your favorite beverage and throw some darts. It'll be just as easy to predict this defense. The defensive line, due to their cream corn-like nature, is wide-open and will be filled with young players who may be agile and athletic but may not know the defense as well as Pelini would prefer. If our secondary has the same mental flaws as last fall, expect another season of huge busts against the Nebraska defense. This team will live and die by the play of the back seven.
Jon: 11 of our young men will take the field on defense to counter your 11 young men on offense. My hope is that our 11 young men are better than yours.
T-Mill: How happy are Nebraska fans with the Taylor Martinez experience and how does he compare to other Big Ten QBs?
Aaron: Nebraska fans can be very hard on their quarterbacks. Everyone expects them to be a Heisman Trophy winner. Taylor IS one of the better quarterbacks in the Big Ten and he will leave school with almost all of Nebraska's QB records. Whether he can win a conference title this year or not, people in Nebraska will likely welcome him back with open arms when he visits Memorial Stadium in five years.
Brian: Aaron is right, but this is my biggest quandary about Taylor. A lot of QB's have come and gone in Lincoln over Taylor being a four year starter. Some were alright (Cody Green) and some were not (Brion Carnes, nephew of one Tommie Frazier). The fact that Taylor has had to go to QB guru Steve Calhoun in Cali the last couple summers for tutoring is helping me warm up to him, and the knowledge that Taylor wasn't the main reason for Nebraska's four losses last year help me, but at the same time Martinez still doesn't have a conference title or bowl game victory in his career. He's going to have the numbers when he leaves, but at the same time if he went 0-3 in CCG's and 0-4 in bowl games, is it truly a successful career as some are going to say? Who really knows.
Salt Creek: Taylor Martinez is the least of my concerns. If the defense could hold good teams to below 30 points, Nebraska wins a few more games and gets Martinez that elusive championship title. This is a team sport and unfortunately for Taylor, just as he's hitting his peak as a collegiate player, his defense decided to check out. If he's to be remembered for being more than a statistical phenom, he may have to get Kenny Bell to play linebacker.
Jon: Taylor (we're on a first-name basis, he and I, really we are even though he never admits it) is much faster than all the other quarterbacks in the Big Ten and they are very jealous of him because of that. He is much faster than most other quarterbacks, although he may be slower than some receivers.
It is sad that some Husker fans think Taylor is a curse because he's a really good person first and a really good football player second. I wish he would play defense and then we would win all of our games because he is so fast he could actually throw a pass and intercept it himself and therefore eliminate all of his turnovers kind of. When Taylor leaves I will be sad. I hope he gets drafted by a NFL team I like so I don't have to buy new stuff.
T-Mill: Finally, it is year three of the Big Ten for you, but year one of playing what will be a Divisional rival soon. What is the Nebraska perception of Purdue football?
Aaron: Well, fans of both schools know that there really isn't any history between us. Growing up a fan of college football, I can remember rooting for the non-Michigan/Ohio State Big Ten teams of the past 20 years that had legitimate shots at making the Rose Bowl. A few of those years, I cheered for Purdue. When Nebraska was winning a National Title in 1994, Joe Tiller's Wyoming Cowboys gave Nebraska all they could handle. I'll be honest, though. Your average Nebraska fan is probably pretty neutral when it comes to Purdue. If the games between us are like the two we've had with Northwestern the past couple years, then Husker fans will get to know the Boilermakers fairly quickly.
Brian: I think Husker fans view Purdue as a basketball school, something very similar to an Indiana (DON'T THROW THINGS). I remember off hand that Ross-Ade isn't friendly to mobile quarterbacks, but I also remember that Purdue has underachieved under Danny Hope the last few years. Hazell could be the man to bring them back, but an outsider wonders how much patience the fanbase will have with him.
Salt Creek: I know you guys like to annoy the Buckeyes (always a plus) and that your ACLs aren't exactly world-class. I also know that you own the Moon and for that, you guys are pretty cool.
Jon: Whenever I think of Purdue football, I automatically think of Bob Griese, who was a fine quarterback and somewhere I still have his Miami Dolphins football card, but really incredibly annoying as an announcer. He wasn't horrible when he was a sidekick for Keith Jackson, but after Jackson retired and Griese was announcing with other people I wanted to kill him, ergo I hate Purdue football and I hope we crush you all into the dust so badly that women weep openly upon hearing the term "Purdue football" much like I weep openly whenever someone says "stampeded by Wisconsin in the Big Ten title game" and I'm sorry I can't finish now you bastard.