"They should get the distinction of the vote," he said. "Based on the fact that they decisively beat us."
This wasn't easy for McCartney to admit. Ever since 1982, his first season at Colorado, McCartney has treated the Nebraska game with a certain reverence. Much to the amusement of Nebraska, he announced that the Cornhuskers were his team's biggest rival and then promptly lost six of the next seven games against them.
Equally infuriating to Colorado was the attitude of Osborne, who said he didn't know the Cornhuskers had a rival until McCartney said so. Even this week, Osborne acted as if he were preparing to face Pacific. He does it every year, and every year McCartney and the Buffaloes steam at the perceived slight.
Meanwhile, back in Boulder, Colorado players were treated to their annual red-fest. The Buffaloes' scout team wore red. Makeshift signs with the day's practice schedule were written in red magic marker. Red chalk found its way onto the team blackboard. And if the color overload wasn't enough, McCartney made sure to mention Colorado's visit to Memorial Stadium two seasons ago.
This time, though, Colorado arrived in Lincoln with the nation's fourth-best running attack, not the 100th, as it did two years ago. Salaam, a little-used freshman in 1992, entered Saturday's game as the NCAA leader in rushing yardage. Stewart, who sat the bench for three quarters in 1992, started this time around.
Also different was Colorado's defensive line, called one of the best in the country by Nebraska assistant George Darlington, who has been at Nebraska 22 seasons.
Of course, Darlington was the same guy who mocked Kansas State and Missouri players and coaches for picking the Buffaloes over the Cornhuskers. During a speech earlier in the week to a Lincoln booster club, Darlington said his most pressing concern "is whether to forgo preparation for Colorado and start getting ready for Kansas because we are facing a team that nobody gives us a chance to defeat."
Darlington had the last laugh. So did the sweat shirt vendor who peddled his stuff near the Nebraska bookstore hours before kickoff. For $15 you could have bought the silk-screened shirt and the pregame prophesy that came with it.
No Fifth Down No Hail Mary No Chance. * NITTANY LIONS LOOK THE PART:
Penn State makes a strong case for keeping its No. 1 ranking, handing No. 21 Ohio State its worst loss in 48 years, 63-14. C8