Keeping with our five questions in five days theme, the Nebraska potluck is starting with a staple of Nebraska gamedays AND a staple of feeling like you're going to die. Sounds like solid Midwestern food if you ask me.
The First Course: Time for a Runza, and sketchy 'expectations'
Okay, let's just get it out on the table. Nebraska has been here for five years and football has been... interesting. Sure, they've been moderately successful, but they also let Purdue score over 50 points and that defense is about as good as... a Big XII defense. In your minds, has Nebraska lived up to expectations, failed expectations, or exceeded expectations? Moreover, do you see any way Nebraska wins a conference championship in the next five years?
C4B: Given that you haven’t actually won the Big Ten yet, I feel like you’ve disappointed at least a little bit. And Mike Riley seems like a nice guy, but I don’t know if he’s THE guy. However, I also don’t know if he’ll still be in charge 5 years from now, so maybe you’ll win?
Townie: I think the fans’ expectations for Nebraska’s success were certainly higher than the team’s performance. It’s true that Nebraska’s defense hasn’t been particularly good either. I thought Pelini would do a better job with the team than he did. With the new staff, I don’t see you guys getting it all together in five years.
Recruiting is critical...and while you guys land some great talent, you aren’t a consistant to 25 recruiter. If you look at a four year average, you guys were 29th in the country...behind Ohio State, Michigan, Michigan State, and Penn State. So you need to step that game up, before we start talking championships.
AlNamiasIV: I’m going to sound smarmy, but I didn’t expect Nebraska to come into the conference and do much more than Iowa or Wisconsin (i.e. 8-4ish). So I guess they’ve lived up to my expectations. I actually thought their recruiting would take a dive once the Texas connection was wiped out, so in that respect, they have exceeded my expectations.
A conference championship? No. In fact, I don’t see the West winning a conference championship in the foreseeable future. Nebraska has a good chance at a division championship, this upcoming season in fact.
LPW: I anticipated Nebraska coming in here as a contender for whatever division they’d be placed in, and they lived up to that quickly. Did I expect them to come in and dominate everyone ala OSU? Nope. They’re a tough and respected Big Ten West opponent.
Stew: Whose expectations? UNL fans or everyone else? UNL fans, almost certainly not. The best fans in the college football deserve better, right? Everyone else? Yeah, this is seems about right. Pretty decent, not great, capable of competing without threatening the top of the conference.
AK: Whose expectations are we talking about? They've been about what I expected them to be. A not great, not bad, but good program. One CCG appearance/loss, definitely in the top half of the conference until last year, not really even close to winning it. That said, I am clearly not a Nebraska fan, and as hard as Husker nation might try to backpedal about assertions of pending dominance before joining up, it's fair to say you guys expected more, is it not? As far as a CCG, who knows? I'd say the jury is firmly out on Riley, and his success pretty much determines your short- and medium-term prospects.
Aaron Yorke: You say "any way" like Nebraska is Purdue or something. Of course they can win a conference title. They only have to get lucky in one game. Now if Nebraska was in the East, it would have to get lucky in multiple games, but we're talking about the West. The Huskers are perfectly capable of competing with and beating Iowa and Wisconsin in any given year... assuming Mike Riley finds a way to improve a historically great but currently sad defense. Nebraska met expectations during their first three years in conference by competing for the league title and winnings its division. The last couple of seasons have been disappointing, but I don't see why the Huskers can't get to the level they were at before. They might even dominate that division for a couple of years once Riley gets used to his new recruiting grounds.
JC: Look, expectations are a really difficult thing to assess. A lot of Nebraska fans expected more success initially, but it was also coming off of back-to-back conference championship game berths in which they took Texas to literally 0:01 and Oklahoma to well, they should have won that game but had no offense. By all accounts, Nebraska had an upwards trajectory and then the defensive floor fell out, Pelini and Co. never quite figure out the run game, and Ohio State fans can tell you all about the Tim Beck experience. So yeah, it feels like Nebraska football has been disappointing. But uh, that could also be the 6-7 season last year.
All that said, Nebraska has picked up on recruiting - with five recruits committing in April including three 4* kids - and the West is incredibly wide open. Oh, and while I am with my esteemed* colleagues in the 'Well, the West probably isn't beating Ohio State in the near future' camp, one game championship scenarios have crazy endings. Let's be honest, much stranger things have happened. So yeah, let's go with Nebraska winning a conference championship within five years. If/when this does not happen, this article will be forgotten, so you know, whatevs.