From David Malinky's Point Blank column on Thursday:
Today the focus shifts to the latter, with the Florida Atlantic/Nebraska clash on Saturday afternoon in Lincoln a setting that brings one of those potential “unfactored” edges.
Nebraska is available at -21 at some of the key offshore precincts, although -22 is more common in Las Vegas. It is a fair price for the pedigree of the programs – the fifth-year F.A.U. seniors have played nine road games against teams from power conferences, with the average line at 32.1, and for further perspective the Owls were +18 at East Carolina, +12 at South Florida and +14.5 at Rice LY, and +16 at Western Kentucky, +17 at Navy and +23 at UL-Monroe in 2012. In terms of scheduling dynamics there is an edge to Nebraska, with a game vs. McNeese State up next that creates no look-ahead, while F.A.U. must play at Alabama, which forces Charlie Partridge to manage his personnel in a different fashion, having to survive eight quarters while being badly over-matched.
There is something else that favors Nebraska, and it may be significant.
Bo Pelini is entering his 7th season as Cornhusker head coach. For the first four seasons, his brother Carl was the defensive coordinator, before leaving in 2012 to take the F.A.U. head position. It did not turn out well, with Pelini and his DC Pete Rekstis having to resign abruptly last October amidst charges of drug use, an incident the remains murky 10 months later. Of particular issue is just how “voluntary” those resignations were.
In April, Pelini made the media rounds and began to tell his side of the story. Among the more meaningful comments was this, from CBS Sports - "I trusted him (Athletic Director Pat Chun). He looked at me over the desk and said, 'If you sign this paper, I will take care of you. I'll explain what went down. We want to be clear about why you resigned.' And then he wasn't. He went back on his word and it really disappointed me."
Now fast forward to Saturday. Carl Pelini lives back in Nebraska again. If he harbors anger over what happened in Boca Raton, one can only imagine how that would make brother Bo feel. And while the elder Pelini has been extremely quiet about this leading up to the game, it would be difficult to imagine that neither the motivation, nor the fact that game-planning can be enhanced by his brother’s knowledge of the Owl personnel, has not come in to play at some point. In this pointspread range (which is actually down from a higher opener), that can matter, especially since McNeese State is actually a step-down next Saturday, which makes this a meaningful dress rehearsal before a challenging trip to Fresno in two weeks. In other words, Bo is allowed to go for the jugular here.
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