In May of 2007 a high school quarterback by the name of Blaine Gabbert committed to the University of Nebraska to play collegiate football. Bill Callahan was still the head football coach at UNL and Shawn Watson was putting the pieces together for his west coast offense.
However, the 2007 football season didn't go so well for the Big Red. Kevin Cosgrove's defenses became known as the "pinkshrits" and the offense wasn't able the team close in many of the big games. They lost five of their last seven games and that ended up costing Callahan his job. Some of these games were complete blowouts (Missouri 41-6, Oklahoma State 45-14, Texas A&M 36-14) including the drubbing by Kansas 73-31. At home. Needless to say, with Bill Callahan out and a lot of uncertainty about incoming coach Bo Pelini, Gabbert de-commited and stayed home to play for Missouri.
What if he had come to Lincoln?
He probably would have redshirted in 2008. Joe Ganz was a senior and led the team to a share of the Big XII north title with Missouri. The tigers had the head-to-head tiebreaker and represented the north in the conference title game that year, but this team made big strides in 2008.
Then came 2009. The woulda, coulda, shoulda year for Nebraska. This was the year Ndamukong Suh came into his own and started dominating college football. Nebraska ended up leading the country in scoring defense and lost three games by a combined four points, including the Big XII title game. Could Blaine Gabbert have been the missing piece for Watson's offense? Could he have led Nebraska to a few more points in those ever so close games? Would he have made a difference vs. Texas Tech or was that game lost simply because of our mistakes and Tech just playing better than we did that day. Of course, had this season produce more wins, Nebraska doesn't go to the Holiday Bowl and record the school's (and Holiday Bowl's) first bowl shutout against Arizona. Also, what happens in 2010?
Well, one things for sure. Had Gabbert come to Lincoln, this wouldn't have happened: