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Nebraska Closing Arguments: 2021 Season Preview and Predictions

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Fourth Verse Same As The First?

NCAA Football: Minnesota at Nebraska Dylan Widger-USA TODAY Sports

I. Case History and Opening Statement

Between the years 1969-2001, the Nebraska Cornhuskers won at least nine games every season. Now, for the fourth consecutive year (and fifth of the last six), Nebraska is coming off a losing season. This is no longer a phase, it has become a habit. Is this THE YEAR that things finally get turned in a positive direction?

A. Case History

Your honor, once again Nebraska failed to meet what had once been established standards.

Amid a season marred by COVID and all its knock-on consequences, Nebraska was unable to put together a cohesive running game, downfield passing game, or functional special teams.

However, after a season opening throttling at the hands of the Buckeyes, there was improvement over previous years. Apart from the total disaster of being blown out at home by Illinois and the Fightin’ Lovies, Nebraska played everyone else within ten points. Go Big Red! There were, however, losses to anyone on the schedule who was not named Purdue, Penn State, or Rutgers.

Nebraska declined to be considered for a bowl game after the Championship Week win over the Scarlet Knights—they could have been invited under last year’s rules. It may be telling that there were reports that many players did not want to play a bowl game.

We saw the first QB controversy in years, with Luke McCaffrey and Adrian Martinez battling to lead the Husker offense. That storyline ended this year after McCaffrey transferred out - and then tried to transfer out of that transfer. Needless to say, everything continues to come up Milhouse.

Athletic Director Bill Moos was abruptly retired this summer, and replaced by former Blackshirt Trev Alberts, who had been serving as AD at Nebraska-Omaha. There is a new sheriff in town, and there appears to be real pressure for the Frost regime to provide positive results.

B. Opening Statement

Your honor, we get it. We can take a hint.

Nebraska is the team most everyone loves to hate, or just...hates. The swagger to success ratio has been all out of whack. Swagger means you are wearing your success, based on actual...you know...accomplishments. In light of recent won-loss records, preening self-regard might convey something more akin to onanism.

Every year we get the same stories coming out of the Husker Industrial Complex. The linemen are bigger. The defense is hungrier. The QB is in greater command of the offense. The talent level is improving. There will be greater focus on special teams. They are working on minimizing turnovers. Nebraska will establish an interior running game. Frost has found a go-to short yardage back.

Every year we get similar results. The linemen cannot actually move a legit B1G D-line. The defense is left defending short fields. The offense muddles (between floundering and wallowing). Talent gains do not manifest on the field of play. The special teams look like they were designed in the previous day’s walk through. Negative turnover margin quashes several chances of victory. In November, the coaches discover a downhill runner and lament the fact that they did not use him in that capacity all season.

But, hope upon hope, Nebraska fans yearn to earn that swagger back. To revisit days when beating Minnesota or Iowa was not an “upset.” To wake up one morning and shove all of the scorn heaped upon our beloved program down your quadrangly Minnesconsin throats. One fine day...

Coach Scott Frost is running out of opportunities to make this happen. It may happen. It may not. It will be entertaining, on some level, however it turns out.

You see, Nebraska plays an essential role in this conference — schadenfreude is a treasured regional resource, and Nebraska is its bottomless font.

II. Discovery

What We’ve Written About Nebraska This Off-Season

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III. Schedule of Events

IV. Emotional Plea

DR: I am feeling a wee bit cynical about this season and the whole Frost thing. I’m sure you are shocked....shocked! I think neither the season nor the Frost Era will end well. What are the best points for optimism?

Jesse: I think the optimism is maturity perhaps?

Like, the ONLY way that this season - and thus Frost - doesn’t end in disaster is that he shows that he’s learning to be more of an adult and less of an entitled baby who believes the world will conform to his wishes.

DR: I think Frost is imploding on a lot of levels, personally.

Jesse: Scott has—for better or worse—managed to be quiet. His major quotes—the transfer shit—have been clips that aren’t actually nearly as bitchy as his normal fare (the hoodie thing, for example).

I think that the transfers are generally good signs—inbound, that is—and I do actually like what the defense is doing.

Frost is like many other coaches who come through Nebraska. The margin between good and awful is razor thin. Getting the locker room in shape, not making too many waves, shaking hands, convincing recruits... It’s all REALLY fucking hard and he wasn’t ready for the big show. It is what it is, but now we gotta see if he can grow and be a real coach or keep being a pedantic asshole about dumb shit.

But, I’m optimistic nonetheless. He’s not been a bitch about COVID, and has actually fought to be pretty good about rallying the team around vaccinations. He’s tried to push for more accountability for not being safe - proponent for forfeitures for COVID reasons. And, I think Trev is actually going to be a net-positive in that for all of the reasons people hate him, his overall UNO track record is one of decent oversight over coaches and their programs.

Does this mean this year turns out great? lol probably not. Still, the hill isn’t a massive climb to get to decent.

Will Nebraskans settle for decent? A lot of them will not, but I don’t hate progress and if we can get there, I’m calling it a win.

V. Verdict

DR: Recent history has taught me that there is always the potential for something good....it just never comes to fruition.

It sorta....transfers out.

Jesse: I can try and be positive!

If you squint hard, this is the most athletic team we’ve had since maybe... I dunno, 2009? I do like our WR depth and TE depth. I like our young OL depth.

DR: Yeah. All looks good on those fronts, but how will it play?

Jesse: Probably terrible! But, I also do wonder if this isn’t a dead cat bounce year.

DR: We have had no real coherence in the last 4 years. But, if you wanna look at it like baseball...hey, we’re due.

On the other hand, if the rebound were destined to happen, it should have already occurred.

I WANT TO BE WRONG!

I fear I will not be.

Jesse: Oh, this is gonna be a shitshow. But I’m trying to not be cynical.

GBR!

Poll

Will Nebraska finish with at least a .500 record this year?

This poll is closed

  • 28%
    YEP
    (64 votes)
  • 62%
    NOPE
    (138 votes)
  • 8%
    MOTE
    (19 votes)
221 votes total Vote Now

Poll

Which is a better coping strategy?

This poll is closed

  • 72%
    Being cynical
    (130 votes)
  • 27%
    Not being cynical
    (49 votes)
179 votes total Vote Now