Nebraska has no delusions of gradeur.

The Cornhuskers know they are out-manned and will need help Friday if they are to beat Oklahoma to win the Big Eight title and a trip to the Orange Bowl.

Meanwhile, out in Los Angeles, UCLA will try to prove it is the king there by beating Southern California. If the Bruins pull it off, they will go to the Rose Bowl to face Big 10 champion Michigan. If USC wins, Washington goes to the Rose Bowl.

Either Washington or USC will play in the Astro-Bluebonnet Bowl against Texas or Texas A & W, whichever is the Southwest Conference runner-up.

"If Oklahoma comes out and plays its type of game, it will win, no matter what we do," one Nebraska player said.

Oklahoma should be favored," Nebraska coach Tom Osborne added. "If both teams come out and play as well as they can Oklahoma will win, it's that simple. But that doesn't mean we are awed. If we put a good game together and they make a few a mistakes, we can win. It'll be tough, though."

Indeed it will. The once-beaten Sooners, still run the wishbone and they have the horses to make it go. The main man is quarterback Thomas Lott. He is indispensable.

He has rushed for 617 yards at 5.3 yards a carry and has scored 11 touchdowns. As a wishbone quarterback, Lott has thrown only 31 passes this season, completing 14 for 302 yards and four touchdowns. He has been intercepted once.

Legs, not arms are what makes the wishbone go and the Sooners would just as soon never pass. They seldom have to.

Their only defeat was a 13-6 setback to No. 1-ranked and undeated Texas.

Despite that game and battles against the likes of Ohio State. Missouri and Colorado, the Sooners have scored 35.7 points a game and are fifth in the nation in rushing offense.

Fullback Kenny King has gained 250 yards, a 5.7 clips, and halfback Elvis Peacock has 572, also a 5.7 average. Billy Sims has 352 yards and David Overstreet 301 yards.

The Oklahoma defense is not a pushover either. The Sooner play a 5-2 alignment and their linebackers, junior All-American Daryl Hunt and sophomore George Cumby, make most of the big plays.

Hunt has 143 tackles, two interceptions and two fumble recoveries. Cumby, a converted fullback with 4.5 speed for the 40, has 113 tackles and two fumble recoveries.

Oklahoma also has one of the best defensive backs in the country in four-year starter Zack Henderson at free safety.

"Their defense may not be up to what it was when they had the Selmon brothers, but it steadily improved," said Osborne of the Sooners. "And now it's as good as any in the Big Eight."

Oklahoma coach Berry Switzer feels the same way about the Ncbraska offense.

It is the best offense they've had since Johnny Rogers was there and the reason for that is I.M. Hipp, the marvelous walk-on running back who has been the Cornhuskers' savior this year.

Hipp has run for 1,268 yards, a seven-yard average, and has scored 10 touchdowns.

If it had not been for an injury to Rick Berns, early in the season, Hipp would probably have been I.M. Nobody.

Berns was supposed to be another Johnny Rogers, but sustained a hip pointer inthe third game that opened the door for Hip.

Now Berns is well and spells Hipp. They have not been in the same backfield together yet, but that possibly could happen Friday.

Berns, with his 626 yards this seasons, has gianed more than 100 yards as Nebraska rolled to a total of 550 on the ground.

This has been a trasition year for the Cornhuskers; they were not expected to be quite as good as their 8-2 record. Their losses were to Washingon State and Iowa State.

Last season, with Vince Ferragamo at quarterback, Nebraska was one of the best teams around, but depended on the pass a great deal. The Cornhuskers were No. 1 in the Big Eight in passing and seventh in rushing. They dropped back to throw and ran from the basic Pro I formation.

This season they run the option form the I, and don't throw as often. They are fourth in the conference in passing, and second behind Oklahoma in rushing.

The two quarterbacks, Tom Sorley and Randy Garcia, have completed 72 of 163 passes for five touchdowns total. Neither is a particularly outstanding runner.

Sorley has missed the last two games because of burised ribs, but is expected to start Friday because Osborne says he "seems to be able to move the hall better than Garcia."

The Sooners have one of the nation's best kickers in Ewe Von Schamann, who is 13 of 20 on field goals, with a long of 58, and is 42 for 42 on points after touchdowns.

Nebraska has unheralded but effective kicker Billy Todd. He is 12 of 17 in field goals, with a long of 55, and is 27 of 32 on extra points.

This is the seventh straight year the Big Eight championship has gone to this game.

The winner will face Arkansas in the Orange Bowl and the loser will play North Carolina in the Liberty Bowl.