The Reads: Closing the Book on 2012

A field of broken dreams. Where does Nebraska go from here? - USA TODAY Sports

I'd say it was disappointing but not because we missed out on yet another championship under Pelini.

This is my take on the season, not to be confused for the opinion of Corn Nation as a whole.

Here's a link to our original thoughts on the season: CornNation Roundtable: Our Season Predictions - Corn Nation. Quite frankly, we were, if anything, more optimistic than the media. There was no media love for Nebraska. We were, at best, a black horse pick outside of Wisconsin, Michigan State and Michigan. So as far as reaching Indianapolis, Nebraska over-achieved.

And while we all anticipated some losses, we didn't anticipate blow outs, not in year five of Pelini's tenure at Nebraska. What's funny about college football is that for many other programs, they'd be satisfied. They'd think about what might've been but that would be it. They'd trust their coaches to turn things around.

But not for us. Why? Because we have those years under Osborne and Devaney. For better or for worse, we've known that this program can rise above its location and succeed.

Championships are great and you bet we'd be writing different stories if we'd beaten Wisconsin, if we'd gone to the Rose. If we'd beaten Stanford. The story would be different if we'd beaten Georgia. But we didn't do those things.

We lost and to some degree, it's the way we lost that bugs us. Some of you are suggesting Nebraska lacks an identity.

I'll submit that we have one, but it's very ugly. Nebraska is very feast-or-famine in its play style. While many of our wins were ugly, we still managed to win on brilliant play from BOTH sides of the ball (and somehow not making a mess of special teams). But if you look at our losses, it was failures in all three phases of the game that doomed us, whether it is the offense not clicking, the defense being out of position or really anything with the special teams.

This is nothing like Nebraska had under Devaney or Osborne. And that's what bothers us the most, I think. Nebraska is winning nine or ten games a season under Pelini, sure. You can quibble about strengths of schedule all you want, but we're winning at a respectable rate, even for this era. It won't win you championships or the adoration of the national media, but it also means you're not Iowa.

But it's the seeming lack of discipline in our losses that is glaring. The next phase of Nebraska's recovery isn't an infusion of talent. The talent is there, if you believe in star ratings. There's heart as well. But discipline*, that's what this team lacks. An uptick of discipline should theoretically decrease our turnovers as well as our procedural penalties. Like Coach Beck, I have no idea how to address this. But unlike Coach Beck, I'm not being paid upwards of 400k a year to solve that problem.

As for the defense, from where I sit it looked like Nebraska's defenders played timidly to a degree, especially once Nebraska's depth disappeared by late September. To move forward, not only will Nebraska need to get their talented youngsters on the field and develop depth, but they will need to get rid of that fear. It will take a philosophical change from "Don't screw up" to "Win every play".

The challenge for Pelini and his staff is to get their players to make that change. I want to point out that Pelini did this before, between 2008 and 2009. Will he do it again? I honestly hope so.

There's no clock right now but there's so much potential for this program that it's downright agonizing to see it fall short. That aggravation can lead to action down the line. I'd rather not think on that.

How about you? What are your thoughts on the season? On 2013? Do you know how they cure the turnover problems?

Comment below or if you're feeling verbose, why don't you try your hand at penning a "FanPost"?

-Salt Creek and Stadium

*On the field, at least. Their off-field discipline has been, for the most part, admirable.

Capital One Aftermath

I'm sorry.

Curiously, the team admits they let Ameer's fumble push them off their game. Championship teams have short memories. Another hump.

All we can do now is wait for next season to come.

Pelini and his staff have a lot of questions to address. Pelini may have to reassess whether his defensive philosophy matches the talent that Nebraska can realistically attract - it seems to be feast or famine so far. To keep his job in the future, he may need to get it closer to a consistent performance.

Pelini needs to consider a change in defensive philosophy to something which allows him to get his current players on the field. Nebraska isn't going to get the linemen Pelini needs for the two-gap, not frequently. Other teams do more with less, like Northwestern, so why can't Nebraska?

UNL Football

Big questions loom for Pelini and his staff.

Then decrease the curve. Talent is king in college football. Talent erases mistakes. With big-timers rushing the passer and playing corner, you don't need to call the all-out blitz that Murray ate for lunch.

Ultimately he arrives at the same conclusion as the rest of us: complete and utter confusion, exasperation and frustration.

I think Pelini needs to simplify the defense to get his younger, more athletic players on the field sooner. And who knows, maybe a simpler defense allows the players to act rather than react.

Nebraska isn't as far off on talent as you think, at least if you follow Rivals. Of course, they don't break it down by position which may tell a bigger story.

There's good energy but it'll be up to the coaches to put that energy in a position to succeed.

Dadgummit, Rex. We're gonna miss you.

The sad part is that all indications are that Taylor will have to spend another couple of thousands to work with Steve Calhoun this off-season to get any QB development.

A very good point. Above anything else, Pelini needs to find a way to make the Blackshirts something to be feared, not the butt of jokes.

Embrace the potential!

Happy trails.

UNL Basketball

It's been a vintage week for Nebraska, with the women steam-rolling their opponent while the men struggle to make a case for fan support.

Lindsey Moore scored 26 points and tied a career high with five three-pointers to lead the No. 25/19 Nebraska women's basketball team past Wisconsin, 70-52, in the Big Ten opener on Wednesday night.

While the men had a bad night, the women were able to win their conference opener. Great job!

Nebraska concludes its four-game homestand on Saturday when they play host to No. 14 Purdue at the Devaney Center. Tip-off between the Huskers and Boilermakers is set for 1 p.m. with live national television coverage on CBS. Tickets are available now at Huskers.com.

As we said, the wins will be far and few. The seniors want 8 wins in the Big Ten. Let's see if they have the effort to get it. More games like this won't do it.

UNL Athletics

A quick look at all the other programs Nebraska has to offer.

Things are looking promising for the Cornhuskers 2013 season. And we'll have expanded coverage of baseball this year, so check back later this winter as we get ready to cheer for the America's favorite past-time*.

*DEBATABLE

The Nebraska bowling program was well represented on day one of the Team USA Trials Thursdays. Three former Huskers and two current Big Red bowlers rank among the top 31 bowlers in the field.

Great job!

Sophomore Robert Kokesh earned Big Ten Co-Wrestler of the Week accolades with Northwestern's Jason Welch, the conference announced Wednesday.

Congratulations, Robert!

Shawn Eichorst

Hopefully the only time he's ever a story.

A quiet start is a good start.

"I don’t think you need to look at reinventing the wheel at Nebraska," Eichorst said. "I embrace the great history and tradition and will look not only to continue what’s already in motion but also for ways that we can do things even better. You’d be crazy not to look at Coach [Osborne]’s formula for success and do everything you can to keep that culture going. In many ways, our approach is similar. That said, I have my own way of doing things as I need to be my own person and lead accordingly."

Big Ten Conference

Blissfully quiet.

Well, as long as people make the terrible associations that they do, why not? Frankly, I like our bowl games. I just wish they weren't all on TV at the same time - I would've loved to have watch the Northwestern game. But fewer trips to Florida in a row will probably help improve travel interests.

Nebrasaka is close, I'll give them that. There are no such things as moral victories. We are not on Georgia's level, not at all. But we're making progress.

Bill O'Brien Drama

Or why I should only collect links at night.

This could effectively neuter any hope for Penn State for the rest of the decade. An interesting name I've seen attached is Al Golden from Miami. Not sure what the connection here is - doubt Golden would drop one potentially NCAA-sanctioned school for another.

Whelp...

Pulling at heart strings? Pay the guy, Penn State. Make it worth his while.

This is something I enjoy about my links gathering - stories develop all day and become non-stories by the next morning. Good save by Penn State - few alternatives.

National News

We hit the Fiesta Bowl, coaching origin stories and laugh at Iowa.

Interesting investigation worth keeping an eye on.

The game was ultimately rather anti-climatic, but I clipped this because I wanted to have the links to the Smart Football posts on K-State and Oregon football, places where I don't doubt Tim Beck has looked for inspiration.

Ron Cherry's call really makes this even better. "Unusual ruling".

All the one point safeties in history.

A fascinating piece of history. They recount the words of Henry Pritchett (then president-emeritus of the Carnegie Foundation) who lambasted Notre Dame and USC in 1934 for commercialization of college football.

A quote

"Football is an excellent game for college boys when played as a game. It is grossly demoralizing when developed into a commercial show for the public. To make a hundred thousand dollars by exploiting students before the public is no part of the work of a college that stands for intellectual ideals."

Sounds familiar, doesn't it? (H/T Andy Staples of Sports Illustrated)

Some very, very cool moments.

Somehow the author manages to both bring up a stereotype that doesn't exist about Stanford AND make Wisconsin out to be some behemoth of a program. Interestingly enough, it confirms my suspicions that Stanford fans are a lot like Wisconsin fans. They both have ENORMOUS inferiority complexes when it comes to their football programs.

Always fun to read about coaches who work their way up instead of fail their way up like Lane Kiffin.

How long before ESPN films starts churning out coaching origin stories?

Possible that Scott Frost will take over at OC? Who knows. Some interesting shuffles ahead.

Interesting. MWC clearly going with the Texas model for a conference. Given up a lot for Boise State already.

If he wins, why stay? Take the NFL's money to go flail about for a few years at the pro level and then some team in CFB will write a blank check for him to come fix their program.

Iowa's hopes slip through their fingers again.

---

And one last thing: the new site changes went live on Wednesday. What do you all think? How's the new layout hit you? Any questions or concerns? Share those below!

And join us tonight for the Cotton Bowl between Oklahoma and Texas A&M! (We'll also have some open threads over the weekend for the Compass Bowl and basketball.)

And a hearty welcome to Shawn Eichorst as he takes over as Nebraska's chief athletic steward.

Go Big Red!

-Salt Creek and Stadium

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