Welcome to Closing Arguments! Dating back to our Rivalry, Esq., days, we conclude B1G 2019 and our preview series with a final “how should they finish?” from each team’s writers, with record predictions from the whole staff. There’s no order here, so stay tuned each day for new Closing Arguments!
You can practically smell the not-so-warm Runzas in the air.
With hype at arguably an all-time high for a two season 8-16 team, the Nebraska Cornhuskers come into 2019 with a lot to prove. Questions abound everywhere except (a) at Head Coach where Scott Frost looks to take the second year jump like he did at UCF, and (b) at Quarterback where True Sophomore Adrian Martinez looks to make a statement that he is an elite QB.
We aren’t here to tell you that Nebraska is winning the CFP, but it’s getting more and more difficult to not get caught up in the hype. Follow along as our Nebraska writers try to figure out what is happening in 2019 and build some sort of case for what we have going for us.
I. Case History/Opening Statements
(A) Case History: What in the world happened this offseason that convinced everyone that Nebraska is going to be the team to beat in the West? When did that happen, and why isn’t everyone off their rocker? Did we all miss something in the national landscape that changed the defense magically overnight?
DR: What happened in the off-season? Stuff that old-timers like me call “normal things.” Lots of competition in the weight room, the recruiting of new talent, the turnover of the roster of guys who are not “all in,” and a meticulous effort to build the program. I see a lot of football players just off campus, and they just look different. The talk out of camp is (at least by my lights) confident, but not brash...we have not seen that in a while. I say this knowing that this IS the preseason, and everyone’s off-season was above average.
Is everyone just off their rockers? I freely admit that there is a non-zero chance that people are completely off their rockers.
What changed the defense over night? I don’t think any changes we will see in the defense occurred overnight - positive change is a grueling process. The players have been in the system longer, Nebby got a grad transfer 3-technique (Darrion Daniels) from Okie Lite, and there may be some playmakers in the crop of newcomers. To sum up, there is more strength and less fear. We’ll see how it goes.
Jesse: See, I hear what you’re saying, and I’m going to be the other side of the coin for a second despite my other browser windows being filled with Scott Frost paraphernalia and tickets to New Orleans in January. But seriously, I do expect Nebraska to make significant gains this year, but I struggle to buy into the entire hype of the offseason. Sure, maybe it’s because I’ve been burned before but mostly because this team does not deserve the benefit of the doubt.
I do not hate the Scott Frost effect, and while there will be a large amount of shade thrown towards his ability to turn around a team in a Power 5 conference, I think he’s probably about as good as we could have hoped for so far. The 4-8 season was a disaster in many ways, but seeing strong attrition, a little more buy-in, and good recruiting makes me think the talent will match the scheme. So long as the defense is serviceable, I think Nebraska makes a jump. How far? That remains to be seen.
(B) Opening Statements: So, dear friends, what exactly is it we’re expecting this year? As the voice of the Nebraska fan, what are we putting on paper so we can look back and be like, ‘hey, I didn’t predict 15-0’
DR: I have been on record saying that and eight win season is the goal. I am expecting the team to be a lot more competitive in all three phases. I expect Nebby to both win a game it shouldn’t, and lose a game it shouldn’t.
Jesse: Great question. I’m also of the belief that 8-4 is the goal here. I would not be disappointed with 7-5 if we’re competitive in all 5 losses, but I think 8-4 is definitely manageable. I’m also going to go out on a limb and say Adrian Martinez is All-B1G first team this year which isn’t the most insane thing I will say this year.
(A) What we’ve written about Nebraska this off-season
- The 2019 Nebraska Cornhuskers Preview: Football is good again in Lincoln
- Nebraska Week, B1G 2019: A Big Redaissance?
- What constitutes “progress” for the Huskers in 2019?
- Nebraska Football 2019: The Coach is still the story
- Nebraska Declension Narrative: Tracing Nebraska’s Decline through the Worst Losses in Program History
- How much better can Nebraska’s offense get?
- Bull Testicles and Base 3-4: Is Nebraska’s defense nuts?
- Jello Salad, Red Beer, and F*** Iowa: An Interview with Corn Nation
- Predicting the Huskers’ 2019 Record
- Nebraska Football isn’t Just a Has Been... It’s a Never Was
- Nebraska Corn Stars 2019 Football Preview: Are They Glad They Left The Big 12?
(B) What we can learn from Pop Culture
Jesse: Man, I generally just assume that this is the question we give BRT because she’s better at this than we are.
Who am I kidding?
Jesse: When ‘The Office’ aired in its first season, it was kind of a strange phenomenon. Looking back at ratings, it started out great, but there were more downs than ups. Sure, as we evaluate the merits of the show as a whole, there were glimmers there of what it would become - Diversity Day is an all-time episode of comedic television - but we weren’t quite sure the complete product was there yet.
Then came Season 2. Office Olympics, The Dundees, The Injury, and an actual plotline that would take you into the rest of the series. It was just pure hilarity and you knew how great the cast and writers were. Why do I bring this up? Well, partly because the Office was amazing and I miss that early chemistry, but also because this is Season 2 of the Scott Frost experience and I am here for some cohesion and possibly hilarity. Let’s do this thing.
III. Emotional Plea
(A) What say you? Is this the year that Nebraska is, in fact, back? Can we wax nostalgic about the greatness of 1994?
DR: Despite my shitpost earlier this summer, Nebraska is not yet “bakk.” I think that Nebraska is doing the right things to put the program back on track - everything has been derailed here for quite a while. Will Nebby be back in the not-too-distant future?
In spite of everything...yes.
A Big Redaissance is coming.
We can always wax nostalgic about ‘94 (which I think might be only the fourth-best Husker team of the 90’s), but focusing on that would mean doing ourselves a disservice - we would be looking in the wrong direction. It is time to look forward, at long last.
Jesse: I remember the early 90s, when liking Nirvana was cool, Weezer’s Blue Album was one of the most interesting things out there, and Tonya Harding was possibly attacking Nancy Kerrigan. Anyhow, seriously, I don’t know if Nebraska is actually ‘back’ to anything, but I like the way we’re going. I’m not here to ask everyone for sympathy in this ridiculous pursuit of the past, but understand that we’re working through some stuff and while we’re a little cynical these days, just let us kind of digest things and wait it out. As for those who are all-in, they can go be optimists somewhere else thank you very much.
IV. The Verdict
Jesse: I’m pretty sure I said 8-4 above with something like 7-5 being really possible, which is more or less the consensus here. I think 6-6 is probably a bit too low with everyone suddenly believing in Colorado and NIU after both teams required insane things to beat Nebraska last time. We’re a firmly better squad and both of those teams are uh, not. That said, them’s the rules.
DR: Nebraska has sure helped its opponents a lot over the last four years, and I think that starts to turn around with more disciplined and confident play. I would be pleased with 8-4, disappointed with 6-6, and thrilled (also more than a little amazed) with 10-2. I think ten regular season wins is the absolute stars-aligned ceiling. Four wins is the Stygian floor. Clearly, I have decided to let BRT or Jesse be the sane one this year. This team will be fun to watch. GBR.
How many regular season wins will Nebraska get?
This poll is closed
5 or fewer