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Nebraska Potluck: Frost...bitten?

Wherein we discuss Expectations vs. Reality

Welcome to Nebraska Week, aka Iowa Fan Christmas! However you choose to celebrate, we’re glad you’re spending this magical time of year with us.

Wow, Nebraska Week already? That’s because our football team was SUPER TERRIBLE last season, which of course is not a point that will be dwelt upon at all this week. Chances are good you already know all about this and greeted last year’s execrable season with giddiness and glee. To which I say... Merry Christmas. You are a terrible person.

But in case you missed it, the Huskers went 4-8, finishing 3-6 in the conference, thanks to Rutgers, Illinois, and Purdue (the latter of these actually seeming really surprising by the end of the season.) A list of notable, but not exhaustive, beatdowns includes scores of 56-14, 54-21, and 56-14 a score so nice, we earned it twice.

Anyway, AD Shawn Eichorst and Head Coach Mike Riley both got the boot, and the Huskers, by managing to behave themselves with more decorum than VolNation and by paying a shit-ton of money, got what they wanted—shiny new golden boy, native son, and undefeated coach of UCF, Scott Frost, as Nebraska’s new head coach.

If you’re familiar with Nebraska fans at all, you already know how the intervening months have unfolded—to put it succinctly, with zero chill whatsoever. Perhaps never before has a coach started his job with more grandiose expectations. However, as we all know, Expectations do not always resemble Reality. In fact... it is perhaps rare that they do. Which brings us to our first question:

“What should Nebraska fans expect this season? What is it you think they actually expect?”

I just realized I in no way related this to food, but this intro is already super long. Um, it’s like how a potluck sounds like it will be a great idea full of an array of exciting dishes (EXPECTATION), but then everyone just brings potato chips and napkins and it’s kind of a letdown (REALITY). Boom. Look at that.

WhiteSpeedReciever: My prediction? Pain.

BRT: Ok, but if you could expand that into a real answer, we’d be much obliged.

WSR: I think a gif of Mr. T should suffice, but OK.

I think Nebraska fans should probably expect around a .500 football team, even though I think that may be a bit optimistic with their schedule. One other big concern should be that you just don’t replace NFL draft pick QBs without a bit of a letdown while the replacement gets up to speed.

Boilerman31: A sane and rational fanbase would give Frost some time to build the program back up. But this is Nebraska. Anything short of a mythical national title will likely be a disappointment.

I’m just sitting here trying to figure out how to place at least 4 L’s into a name with no L’s in it. What’s Frost’s middle name?

WSR: “Andrew.” So if he goes 1-11, it’d be perfect since there’s only one W in there too.

Candystripes: A rational expectation for a new season with a new coach (and the schedule you’ve been given) would be 6-6, in my opinion. There’s a couple of games that you by all rights shouldn’t win, but generally a schedule full of possibility. I don’t pretend to interact with a lot of Nebraska fans on a regular basis, but given the kind of treatment that I did see of Scott Frost coming to coach, I’m pretty sure a not-small portion of the Husker fanbase won’t settle for anything less than 10-2, and even then might be a bit disappointed if they lose to anyone besides the Buckeyes.

GoForThree: They should expect to win one game they shouldn’t and lose one they shouldn’t. They actually expect that Scott Frost is going to literally take the field, throw a TD pass, and declare Nebraska national champions after a fast food bowl game.

MNWildcat: On the list of things we _all_ should expect, I think offensive improvement would top the list. That’s obvious, but I like the potential that Frost’s pace-and-space approach brings to a squad with, what, 4 returning running backs and a talented transfer incoming? Obviously, though, the quarterback play will determine how far that offense goes. I’d circle the Colorado game as dicey if the Huskers haven’t found a good starter yet, because if Nebraska is only able to spread the field horizontally, not vertically with the passing game...well, then they’re red Minnesota.

If we’re going by what Husker fans should expect, I’d say 6-6 is reasonable, but with a crossover of @MI, @OSU, and MSU...oof. The games are there to get to 6 or, maybe, more (3-0 non-con, Purdue, @NU, MN, IL), but 5-7 wouldn’t stun me. I’d tell an analytics-based Huskers fan to look for 5-7 but a top-50 S&P+ rating, an offense in the top 35-40, and a defense hovering around top half.

I like this question, most of all because it allows for careful, rational examination of the differences between B1G observers and Husker fans, which is, of course, what the internet exists for, along with cat videos. I think expectations among Husker fans (I’m half-guessing here, as my browser gets cancer I try to log into the latter two) shake out this way:

*OTE* Huskers: 6-6/7-5

*CornNation* Huskers: 8-4

*HuskerMax* Huskers: 9-3 or better woooooooooo GBR Scott Frost at the helm Big Ten West contenderzzzzzz otherwise Husker football is dead as we know it

That about cover it?

StewMonkey: What they should expect is to win about 7-8 games a year, with a few above that and a few below that. Specifically this year, I don’t think they should focus on the wins, and just expect to see how the changes that give a glimpse into how they’ll be playing in the future. But they should probably expect to struggle to get to a bowl game.

What they probably do expect is to compete for championships (conference and national) perennially; to reload, not rebuild; to bring back the 90’s, Zima, Zubaz, and all. But seeing as this is the savior’s first year, I’m sure they’ll settle for 9 wins, a game or two out of the division, and a bowl win in Florida. The greatest fans in college football, after all, pride themselves on being humble.

BRT: I think this clip pretty much sums it up for me. There will be a lot of disappointed Huskers this year, even though there probably shouldn’t be. I don’t think I’ll sweat the W-L record too much, but I’d love to see areas of improvement, and a general increase in competitiveness—I’ll refer you back to the opening paragraph if you’d like an example of what I’d like to stop seeing.

Dead Read: I think Nebraska will find a way to win six or seven games (maybe five). I will be thrilled with eight wins. Nine wins is the ultimate ceiling, requiring an ascendant quarterback and a pass rush. Nine wins would also require a few opponents to help us out by fumbling a lot. What do I think some believe? I honestly think there are some fans who think that Scott Frost is going to take the newly inspired Big Red into the Horseshoe and Big House and win. This year. Really. Sad!