Nebraska must battle momentum again

Nebraska really can't catch a break, even on its schedule.

In each of its last four games, the Huskers have had to line up against a team playing its best football of the season.

That won't change on Friday, when Colorado comes to Nebraska towing a two-game winning streak after going winless in its first five games in Big 12 play. An afterthought just weeks ago, the Buffaloes are now within a game of bowl eligibility.

All the talk about Nebraska getting treated fairly this season has revolved around officiating.

"You just trust the integrity of people and you hope that your football team is getting a fair shake," Huskers coach Bo Pelini said on Monday. "Our team is excited about this weekend, about the game on Friday and all the things that come with it. We’ve moved on past Saturday and we’re excited to go out and play. We have a lot to play for and we’ve moved on."

But outside of officiating, the Huskers have been unlucky when it comes to opponents. They faced an undefeated Oklahoma State team coming off its first road win in Lubbock since 1944 and won.

A week later, undefeated Missouri came to Lincoln fresh off a win over then-No. 1 Oklahoma, the Tigers' first since 1998. Nebraska led 24-0 early and the result was never in doubt.

Nebraska had to travel to Iowa State and play a Cyclones team that beat Texas for the first time ever and followed it up with a win over Kansas. A loss for the Huskers would have meant the Cyclones grabbed the inside track on a North title. It took overtime, but the Huskers survived that game, too.

Kansas scored 35 points in its final quarter before playing Nebraska as part of the biggest comeback in college football history. That snapped the Jayhawks' 11-game losing streak in Big 12 play, but they managed just five first downs and 87 total yards against Nebraska in a 20-3 loss.

Uncle Mo finally got the best of Nebraska last week, when Texas A&M added a fifth consecutive win and a second over a top-10 team in three weeks to its résumé. That's after a disappointing 3-3 start that had the Aggies wondering if they'd be home for the holidays.

It's a remarkable streak, and one that won't end on Friday. Iowa State and Kansas State have both fallen victim to a resurgent Buffaloes team.

"It's obvious what's on the line. If we win, we keep playing," Pelini said. "It’s the next step, and it’s an important step. You have to go out and earn it. That’s what’s lying ahead of us. That’s the challenge that’s lying ahead of our football team right now."

To answer that challenge and get a chance to play for the Big 12 title, the Huskers will have to beat momentum one more time.