ESPN “College GameDay” analysts Kirk Herbstreit and Lee Corso often disagree on their predictions on the popular show, but they both are predicting that Oklahoma and Nebraska will meet in the Big 12 football championship game.
And Herbstreit thinks the winner of that game will play for the BCS championship.
Corso, in Oklahoma City on Tuesday, said he thought OU would face Nebraska for the championship after going undefeated through the regular season. “They are loaded,” Corso said. “Landry Jones is going to be a Heisman candidate.”
In a conference call Thursday afternoon, Herbstreit agreed with his broadcast partner.
“I definitely like Oklahoma to win the South. I think Landry Jones is going to have a great year. I think it’s pivotal if you think about their schedule. Four of those first five games, if you exclude Utah State, will be challenging. You have Florida State, Air Force, at Cincinnati and then Texas in Dallas. If they are able to get through those five games, then take their bye week, this team should be unbeaten going into the Big 12 championship game. I don’t see another team on paper that can play with them. They go to A&M with Jerrod Johnson, who can score points. I think those first five are going to tell you everything you want to know about Oklahoma.
“And I think Nebraska is the real deal. I think we want to find out who emerges to be their quarterback. A lot of people nationally think their defense can’t be as good without (Ndamukong) Suh. I beg to differ. I think this defense is still going to be dominant. I think they have an outstanding secondary. Right now, Bo Pelini and his brother Carl are kind of on the cutting edge on the way they are utilizing seven defensive backs, then six and five. They are kind of using safeties as slash linebackers, kind of a hybrid guy. It creates a ton of confusion for an offensive line as we witnessed against Texas. Suh got most of the attention from that, but if you went back and watched the film, it had as much to do with confusion of Colt McCoy and not being able to get rid of the football, which allowed Suh and company to get to him. And they do that by mixing up their looks in the secondary with five, six and seven defensive backs constantly evolving and moving.
“I think Nebraska is real, and I think Oklahoma is real. I think they will eventually end up meeting in the Big 12 championship game. One day I think Nebraska is going to win that game, the next day I think Oklahoma is going to win that game. I will say this, whoever wins that game will go on to play in the national championship.”
Herbstreit said he the Big 12 will be hurt when it drops its conference championship game in 2011.
“Very different from the SEC, I think a lot of times it really matters who the matchup is and how much buzz is created in that region for the game. I have enjoyed watching those games. I have enjoyed calling them and being a small part of it. I think it hurts the conference because it’s fun to be able to play in a prime-time game on the last Saturday, for everybody to kind of watch your two best teams compete against each other. So I think you lose that. I’ve heard a lot of talk from (commissioner) Dan Beebe and others that they may be they are going to move some of the regular-season games around and still try to take advantage of that window late in the year. Maybe they can still be out there and be recognized late in the year. I think that’s important when you’re trying to sway votes and be part of the BCS standings.”