Buffaloes Pose No Real Threat Curt McKeever Journal Star Staff Writer Welcome to the pressure cooker, Colorado. It's been far too long since we've seen you this steamed up about a football game the day after Thanksgiving. And frankly, since Bill Byrne made it clear a long time ago how much he loves Dallas in the months of December and January, it would be suitable if you ended nine seasons (10 if you count that numbing tie in 1991) of being the ****ers bag boys. Knock off Nebraska today, and you spare Biilly B and his hired hands a trip across the Texas border for the Big 12 championship. Beat the hated Big Red and give them a jump on Christmas shopping and the gift of a stress-free, Rose Bowl-free holiday season, while you figure out how to handle Oklahoma's defense. There's just one thing, though. That's about as likely to happen as Eric Crouch is to get the pre-game jitters. For all the bad luck and close calls CU has had against Nebraska, for all the hopeful Colorado media who say the Buffaloes will finally give them reason to wave their faded black and gold pompons, and for all the heart they've shown while erasing the nightmare of 2000, the Buffs can't possibly match the ****ers' penchant for a put-up-or-shut-up game. Say what you want about the battle with Oklahoma last month, but the bottom line is Nebraska never flinched against a team that's every bit as dangerous as last year's national champions. Yes, Colorado went to Kansas State early in the Big 12 season and won. Big step, too. Since then, the Buffaloes have played only one game they weren't supposed to win--at Texas-- and got squashed by 34 points. Sorry if we don't get too excited about the rebound victories against Oklahoma State, Missouri, and Iowa State. What you'll see today will remind you of nothing of the Cowboys, Tigers, and Cyclones. Consider that Nebraska will be guided by the Heisman Trophy front runner. Eric Crouch has been there, done that so many times that he could finish his career with 38 wins as a starting quarterback. That would rank him in a tie for second on the all-time on the NCAA Division I list. Colorado on the other hand, has slow-footed (but gutsy) Bobby Pesavento pulling the strings. Nebraska thrives in big games, Colorado has yet to experience one. The Buffs have consistently played the ****ers like no one else in recent memory--losing the past five contests by a combined 15 points. And in both games that Gary Barnett has called the shots, CU should have won. Then again, he's been sending in plays knowing his team is just playing to take some of the sting out of a disappointing season. Now, Colorado is in the Super Bowl, and it's fourth down and goal with five seconds to go. "Is it easier to call some of those plays when everything's not on the line? Probably," said NU coach Frank Solich, who's seldom had the luxury. "but they're a proud football program and, from that angle, there's no change (in making calls). Maybe not, but Solich still has way more seasoning in that department. Colorado might have the nation's top punt returned in Roman Hollowell. But you know Solich is smart enough not to kick to the guy. Colorado might have the most potent set of tailbacks the ****ers will run into. But after 11 games, there hasn't been one who was able to run them over. Colorado might have a mental edge in knowing it's outscored NU 38-0 in the fourth quarter of the last two games held in Boulder. But Nebraska is much deeper now, especially in the defensive line, which is where the ****ers melted in most of those games. Solich also has learned from the past shootouts in the altitude. This last week, he's given his top players more reps and less rest. Barnett might have wanted to do the same, but the fact is his team is so beat up--mainly on the defensive line--that he had no choice but to lighten the load. We hear the Buffs are a physical bunch. But you don't exactly want to come limping into a game against the ****ers--a team that is playing with all the terror of a runaway train. "Nebraska's always been a team that's responded well, and I think you'll see the same on Friday", said rush end Chris Kelsay, looking mean and convincing. Colorado tailback Cortlen Johnson, who has made his career off big performances against Nebraska, has similiar feelings about the Buffs, and said he almost expects the team that has the ball last today to win. Given that's how the past two games have ended, how can you blame him? Given how CU has come after Nebraska, no one should doubt the Buffaloes will give all the have again today. Sometimes, though, even your best isn't good enough to change what's been. Sorry Bill Byrne. I think you're going to be needing a 10-gallon hat and some cowboy boots next weekend.