On we go! I’m tired and not entirely sure what day it is, but I think it’s the day where our writers give you their way-too-early takes on how the Nebraska Cornhuskers will finish in 2019.
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Question #1: Baked Goods
In homage to Nebraska’s Czech and Bohemian influences (read some Willa Cather, you pricks), Jesse suggested that we honor the kolach today.
A pastry with a fruit or cheese filling surrounded by puffed dough, the kolach is a staple of the Wilber, Nebraska, the “Czech Capital of the USA” which hosts Czech Days each August. Discussion of the kolach prompted some heavy reminiscing among our Nebraska writers...
BRT: In the early 20th century, something like 25% of all Czechs who came to the US settled in Nebraska
Jesse: All I know is they’re delicious. Sweet or savory. Prefer sweet because that’s what I grew up on but have discovered savory in Texas weirdly.
BRT: Poppy seed is most traditional. Prune also favored by the olds. I personally prefer apricot or cherry. Any Farmers Market in Nebraska will have them sold by a little old Czech lady. They’re tough to make—the dough rises like three times so they’re easy to dry out too much.
With that in mind, writers, do you have the redeeming quality of being a capable or competent baker? What’s your specialty?
Townie: Baking ain’t my thing. I can make a good brownie. I can make decent pie crust. My pizza dough works most of the time...but my biscuits look and taste like saltines.
WSR: I am a mediocre baker, but that’s a huge leap up from the godawful baker I was at the beginning of the offseason. I can now whip together cakes, muffins, and bread with relative ease, but still struggle a bit with my pie crusts. That being said, I shall not accept defeat and will continue to make food to foist upon everyone around me until I am very good at it.
LPW: I’m not a good cook. Luckily, my fiancée is and I like learning from her. She loves baked goods. If I have to bake something, I’ll make some chocolate chip cookies. Ooh, here’s a funny story: a few years ago she and I bet on who would win the MSU/NU game (she’s a MSU alum). If the Spartans won, I’d have to take her out to a restaurant we haven’t been to before, if the ‘Cats won, she’d have to bake me chocolate chip cookies. The ‘Cats won, but my fiancée made me cookies shaped via a MSU spartan logo tin she bought off etsy and sprinkled with green sprinkles. Serves me right for not being specific on how I wanted my cookies.
BRT: I’m pretty hit or miss bakin-wise, but generally a better baker than I am cook. I do well with basics--I have not one, but two, excellent chocolate chip cookie recipes. I do less well when I see some ambitious food blogger production and decide I need to make tiramisu cake or something. I still think I want to try to make a Prinsesstarta from THAT episode of Great British Bake-Off though, because I am delusional (and because I had them many times in Sweden last summer, and they really are yummy.)
Stew: I think I could be a good baker, as baking is a lot of following directions, good measurement, lots of focusing on details and process. These are things I do pretty damn well at. Unfortunately, baking also requires the liberal use of eggs in everything, something which would be quite detrimental to my personal well being, as I’m severely allergic. So no, I’m not actually any damn good.
Beez: I don’t bake very often, but I’d like to change that given my endless supply of eggs. I’ve been known to make above-average banana bread (no nuts of course, because nuts in a dessert/treat?!? Gross) and Nutella-stuffed brown butter chocolate chip cookies. What I lack in kitchen creativity or imaginativeness, I more than make up for in my ability to follow recipes and instructions and/or watch Youtube videos about how to bake. I’m growing carrots in my garden this summer, so I’ll probably take a crack at carrot cake even though it’s a completely garbage food.
Creighton: I’ve never been a baker, so instead here’s a list of the things I wish I could bake:
- Bagels- It would be awesome to have an unlimited supply of bagels at home
- Crostatas- I can tell you right now that I don’t have the time required to make one of these, but they’re tasty as hell.
- Baklava- I actually did make this once and it was delicious. Would do again.
- Grape Pie- I don’t think anyone has invented this yet, I could be the first!
- Croissant- I love a good croissant.
- Cinnamon Rolls- OH MY GOD I ALMOST FORGOT CINNAMON ROLLS
Question #2: PREDICTIONS
How does Nebraska fare in 2019? Show your work.
Bonus: The Huskers welcome the Indiana Hoosiers to Lincoln on October 26, with the chance to rectify a shameful losing record to the all-time losingest program in NCAA history. Writers, give us your Indiana-Nebraska prediction if you must, but, more importantly, tell us one surprisingly-good or surprisingly-bad head-to-head record in your program’s history.
LPW: I see the Huskers going 2-1 in non-con, and 4-5 in conference play for 6-6 overall. Losses against Colorado, OSU, Northwestern, Indiana, Purdue, and Iowa. Wins against South Alabama, Illinois, Minnesota, Maryland and Iowa. It’s going to be a screwy season.
Given that Northwestern football basically gave up for 20 something years, our overall record against everyone is just bad. I know we passed the crown of crap (losingest program ever) to Indiana at some point, and we have a winning record against them. At some point we’ll have a winning record over Illinois. Progress!
Townie: This is a sneaky tough schedule. I think they go 2-1 non-con with a loss to the Buffs. I see one guaranteed win against Illinois. I lean Nebraska vs Minnesota, Indiana, and Maryland. I think they win 2 of those 3. That’s four wins.
I think Nebraska will be in the games against Purdue and Iowa, but I don’t know if you win them.
Ohio State, Northwestern, and Wisconsin will exploit the defense. They will run the ball, run the ball, run the ball and kill you.
I think Nebraska will get another win in this group, for five wins this season. I’d be thrilled it they got two...maybe Iowa and Minnesota. That’s six wins for the season...but I’m not comfortable with much more than that.
This will be a good team, but I’m not ready to say that it is right now.
Thumpasaurus: Welp...I believe I have Nebraska winning the division at 9-3 (7-2) by virtue of losing to NIU quite stupidly, but then only losing two more games: one to Wisconsin and one to Iowa.
I have Nebraska beating Ohio State, but that’s less to do with Nebraska and more to do with the fact that Ohio State has to take a road trip where they forget how to play football. All their non-conference games are at home. Indiana is not going to happen and let’s not insult the intelligence and football acumen of Candystripes by suggesting it will. Northwestern has been conspicuously stuck below the Indiana Ceiling against Ohio State and Michigan; besides, all the blood magic that led last year’s ass-ass Northwestern to the B1G title game couldn’t allow them to hang in there against the Buckeyes. It’s not gonna be Michigan because they’re still coached by Jim Harbaugh, and it sure as SHIT won’t be Rutgers. By process of elimination, Nebraska beats Ohio State, setting up a Big Ten Title Game rematch where the Huskers get the living shit kicked out of them.
Illinois has some surprising all-time head to head advantages that will disappear just like the Cubs/Ottoman Empire historical footnote soon. Minnesota vs. Illinois had been a pretty even series until the Gophers gained the lead during Illinois’ Slapdick Revolution of the 90’s that saw the program turn irreversibly to shit. Wisconsin didn’t gain the advantage until winning their 6th straight against us in 2015. Illinois would still have a two-game lead on Purdue if they hadn’t lost two home games to Darrell Hazell, but that one is tied and will swing in Purdue’s favor this fall. Northwestern will own the head-to-head by 2022, and Iowa will join them a year later. Rutgers could gain the series lead in 2020 if they could get their heads out of their asses, but as we know, you throw out the records when you’re talking Illinutgers. Indiana won’t own the head-to-head until 2040, at which point they will be to Illinois what Ohio State is to them.
Outside of the conference, Illinois is 10-2 against Bizarro Illinois (Syracuse) and has been tactfully ducking them since 2007. The Illini are 1-0 against Oklahoma with a 44-0 win against the Sooners in 1917.
The Illini are 2-3 against Ohio and 0-2 against Louisiana Tech, Southern Miss, South Florida and Fresno State.
Candystripes: Hello, it me, writer for the all-time losingest program in NCAA history. Given that there are no surprisingly good head to head records for Indiana (save possibly for being 1-0 against Oklahoma and 2-0 against Louisville), how bad are you looking for to be “surprisingly bad”? Does it need to be 4-20-1 bad (vs. former Big Ten school Chicago)? Does it need to be 5-23-1 bad (vs. Chicago’s ACC team, Notre Dame)? Maybe 1-21 bad (Penn State)? Maybe 9-58 bad (Michigan)? 12-75-5 bad (Ohio State)? 34-47-1 bad (Northwestern)? 41-74-6 bad (Purdue)? 31-60-3 bad (Purdue with the Bucket on the line)?
Oh, and since I guess you want a Nebraska prediction, they’ll go 7-5 but drop to 8-10-3 against Indiana.
WSR: Let’s go with 8-4, 5-4 B1G. And as I’ve been saying all week, there will not be any boring Nebraska games. I’m convinced that the weapons on offense and self-harm on defense will be must-watch on a level we haven’t seen in these parts since Kevin Wilson was being a jackass in Bloomington.
BRT: 2-1 Non-con--but we beat Colorado and lose to NIU, for funsies. I’ll give us five wins in conference: Illinois (please God), Minny, Indiana, Maryland, and someone else. That last win is most likely Northwestern or Purdue. I also think we could achieve five wins by derping one of those first four likely wins, and randomly beating Wisconsin or Iowa. Honestly, I’d rather drop another one to Indiana because 1) who cares about Indiana, we play them like once every eight years, and 2) beating another Quadrangle team in their place would be way more fun and satisfying.
Stew: Last year I was the most pessimistic writer on UNL’s chances, given their incredibly tough schedule, dearth of high end talent and complete lack of depth at any position. I was labeled an Iowa hater (truth, I am!), but I was also right. This year, though, I really want to be a hater. All these top 25 projections of UNL after a 4-8 season? The hype is killing me. But damn, that schedule. And Martinez really is exactly the type of guy they need running that offense. I think they vastly improve, but a top 25 team? I don’t think I’m quite there, yet. Gimme 3-0 and 5-4 for 8-4 overall. A very respectable turn around.
BRT: But do they beat Iowa, Stew? ;)
Beez: 3-0 in the non-con, 6-3 in the B1G portion of the schedule. They lost to OSU and two of Minny, Purdue, Iowa, Maryland, or NW. They beat Wisconsin....unless Nebby’s decade-long inability to stop the run remains uncorrected, in which case they lose to one of Minny, Purdue, Iowa, Maryland, or NW.
MNW: Northwestern is 3-1 all-time versus the Oklahoma Sooners. That’s right: you are impressed. At 52-55-1, as Thump mentioned, the ‘Cats are three seasons of Lovie Smith away from tying their HATed rivals in Chambana, hold a delightful 47-34-1 record against Indiana, and to show I am not biased, are 14-62-1 against Ohio State.
Nebraska will win some games, lose some games, and generally not be “back,” but rather just another mediocre team in the West, bringing the total to anywhere from 5 to 6 (jury’s still out on if Minnesota belongs at the kiddie table with Illinois).
Jury’s back in: They do. Nebraska is one of the five mediocre teams in the West.
Creighton: I waited too long to contribute anything interesting that hasn’t been covered by everyone else, so let me offer my wild prediction that Nebraska will beat Ohio State, but then lose to either Indiana or Maryland. The transition into Iowa Light continues.
How do the Huskers finish in the Big Ten?
This poll is closed
2-7 or worse
How do the Huskers finish overall?
This poll is closed
5-7 or worse