Cornhuskers on Confident Roll

Wednesday, October 25th 2000, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) _ Nebraska coach Frank Solich isn't concerning himself with where the top-ranked Cornhuskers are in the Bowl Championship Series ratings.

Being No. 1 in the BCS as well as the polls certainly helps, but Solich said he won't worry about it at this point in the season because there are at least four more games to go, starting with No. 3 Oklahoma on Saturday.

``I've got really no control over the BCS. If we play well, if we win, the BCS takes care of itself. If you don't play well, it (also) takes care of it,'' Solich said Tuesday.

The BCS, designed to bring college football a national championship game, will see its top two teams paired against each other earlier than expected this season. Oklahoma is ranked No. 2 in the BCS. Saturday's loser will need some help to get back into the national championship race.

``Losing sleep over where you're at in the BCS rankings or losing sleep that you're at the top of the BCS rankings probably doesn't do you any good,'' Solich said. ``There's a lot of things in this profession that you lose sleep over, and so you don't really try to throw any more into that.''

Solich has probably been sleeping pretty well lately. His team is playing better than it has in a year and has the confidence that goes with that.

Nebraska is coming off a 59-0 shutout of Baylor that could have been a whole lot worse if Solich had not pulled most of his starters by halftime. That game followed a 56-3 victory at Texas Tech. The two-week point total is the most for the Huskers since they scored 122 in wins over Missouri and Iowa State in 1997, the last time they won a national championship.

``It took a few games to get all of the kinks out and really feel comfortable, but I think you're really seeing the team now that we knew we could be,'' receiver Matt Davison said.

Davison, a freshman on the '97 team, said the team's attitude is a lot like it was three years ago.

``Right now, we feel like we're almost indestructible,'' Davison said. ``It's not a cockiness, it's just a confidence that we've gathered. It doesn't mean that we can't be beat. It just means that right now we're confident, and that's huge going into a game like this.

``We believe that we're going to get the job done.''

Nebraska-Oklahoma goes back to the days of the Big Eight Conference, which routinely came down to the Huskers and Sooners in a game to decide who would play in the Orange Bowl.

The conference has expanded to the Big 12, but Nebraska-Oklahoma again has Orange Bowl ramifications. The Jan. 3 game is the BCS title matchup.

The rebirth of the old rivalry is not lost on Nebraska quarterback Eric Crouch, who grew up in Omaha and remembers the previous Sooners-Huskers games with national title implications.

``With the schedules changing year after year and not being able to play the same teams again and again, that makes it kind of tough. And it makes it to where the rivalry can kind of get lost,'' Crouch said. ``You want it to be the biggest game of the year. You want it to be that rivalry matchup.''

The Huskers haven't played the Sooners since 1997, a 69-7 Nebraska victory in Lincoln, and Nebraska has won the last seven in the series. But Nebraska hasn't played Oklahoma since Bob Stoops took over last season and quickly brought the program back to prominence.

Solich said he's glad to have the rivalry back at the forefront of college football again and even more happy that the game is finally here. The Huskers were heavy favorites against both Tech and Baylor, so Solich has answered questions about Oklahoma for a few weeks now.

``I guess finally a group of local media and myself are probably on the same page,'' he said. ``We're finally focused on the same game, which has not been easy this year.''