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The Reads: Measuring Up the Talent

When you say the talent isn't there, how do you know?

The future of Nebraska football?
The future of Nebraska football?

I'm asking this question out of pure curiosity. I think it's obvious that I'm in the minority on things as I'm not freaking out over the state of the program. While I think some staff changes would be beneficial to Pelini, his teams' ability to win more than most of his peers gives him the leverage to stick with the status quo. I hope he doesn't, but that's his right and his burden as the head coach. But this isn't about my views on the subject.

A common theme I've seen among your comments and my fellow writers' frustrations is a critique on Pelini's recruiting. For the most part, people are unimpressed and have a downright bleak outlook on the state of Nebraska football, at least under Bo Pelini. (We'll leave discussions about how people think COACH OTHER GUY can do a better job to the comment area.) Whether or not this is merely an over-reaction to the butt-whooping Nebraska received from the Badgers or a fair critique, that's hard to say. At least to me.

So with almost three weeks to kill before the bowl game and a significant lack of Nebraska athletics before then (outside of basketball), I've decided that maybe I would try and break-down each of Pelini's teams and classes and try and see where the problems are. (*) Maybe it'll give us some clarity on what the heck has been going on at One Memorial for the last five seasons. My eventual goal here is to objectively answer the question of how our recruiting has impacted the performance on the field, on either side of the ball.

But before we can start that assessment, I need to know the answer to the question I started with. When you look at these teams, how do you measure performance, from an objective point of view? Why are we seeing the defense take a step back while the offense is taking steps forward?

It's very important that we consider this objectively. I realize that subjectively these teams have been disappointing. Anything less than a conference championship should always be disappointing.

So, offensively, what statistics are truly relevant? I realize yards and TDs are an easy pick, but they can be misleading. And what would we look at for the defense?

Again, I'm not trying to stir up a debate about recruiting. I'm trying to ask how best to assess the players that did sign with Nebraska so that maybe we can get a better understanding of what has happened at Nebraska since Pelini took over. If possible, I'll go back as far as the internet has data.

Your thoughts in the comments section, please!

*NOTE: There is no guarantee that this will be done before the bowl game. It depends on my schedule, mostly.

On with the Reads themselves:

UNL Football

Congrats to Spencer Long on his second team pick!

I'd ask what y'all think...but I think y'all have made that clear. I think we're best served giving Pelini the time if he wants it, but I'm a small fish in a very big pool.

What it all comes down to is that we're just too nice and too alike to be hated.

I don't doubt Nebraska's players' resolve to get back in the game. It's the fans I'd be more worried about if I'm Nebraska.

UNL Volleyball

A tough, tough end to a season which saw a lot of uncharacteristic lackluster play by the Husker women. Look for Nebraska to come back strong next fall.

UNL Basketball

With the PBA nearly completed, the LJS takes a look back at how it all came to be. (Pretty fantastic piece here - well worth a read.)

A fantastic win for the Husker women. Their next game is this Sunday at 1pm CT, where they'll take on undefeated South Florida.

In case you missed the link from our front page.

With the students on holiday, help pack the student section for Nebraska's two holiday season home games vs Jacksonville State (Dec. 18th) and Nicholls State (Dec. 29th).


Before we beat our chests too much, this is only for teams finishing in the top 25. Still, we're not doing too badly.

Danny O'Brien could be the next Brett Favre!

To quote Ted Glover

"The great thing about the B1G's bowl season is that if they actually win a game—any game—it will be considered a success. We’re playin’ with house money, woooo!!!"

/sad trombone

At least the fans are still showing up.

National News

Was Colorado was never committed to Embree? Good luck with the fire, MacIntyre.

Bo Pelini's options for assistant coach reassignment are drying up. Also, the game in Lincoln next year just got a little more interesting.

Did this a while ago. Way to catch up, Notre Dame.


Actually, two barriers. They don't talk about the one where the player has to be either in the SEC or on the only team ESPN thinks can beat an SEC team with a month's time to prepare (where SEC team is Florida, Alabama, LSU, South Carolina or Georgia).

Or the player that Bob Stoops lets have a record day AND score the game winning touchdown in primetime with everyone watching.

(For the record, they got it right with RGIII.)

Interesting deal. SI and CNN tried this once. Keeping their brands separated might let this be successful.

Nice of them to set up their rules so more SEC teams can get in. You may notice that I hate every one of these things or anything related to post-season selection processes. I think they're all hogwash, especially because of the preference they give to the SEC*. My god, it's like none of them actually watch SEC football.


* Also because of the insanity involved in trying to pick the best team based on 12 or 13 games played by 124 programs with an insignificant amount of crossover.

**This is my opinion and it will not change.

Nothing but respect for Steelman. He's got something started at Army - it'll be up to his fellow Cadets to keep building it.

Best description of Texas beef ever.

(DO NOT READ BEFORE OR AFTER MEALS. It's kind of like swimming.)

Amazingly not a merger of the Big East and Mountain West.

Big East is falling apart. Is there anyone left in it that the Big Ten would take? I don't think so.


That's all for today, folks. Please take a moment to share your thoughts on what statistics are relevant to gauging performance below. And if you have questions you think I could address through an analysis of the numbers, feel free to pose those below.

Oh, and I apologize for the lack of Reads. News is a little slow right now. Hence my little project.

-Salt Creek and Stadium