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The Reads: Reinvention for a New Era

Today is Tom Osborne's Last Day as Athletic "Director" at Nebraska, in case you forgot.

A new era for Nebraska athletics starts tomorrow.
A new era for Nebraska athletics starts tomorrow.
Eric Francis

All I can say is that I'm glad Tom Osborne was able to come back and save Nebraska from implosion. (We cover some excellent longform tributes to Tom from the LJS and OWH below.) That being said, the burden of not screwing up falls firmly on our shoulders now - Tom isn't coming back to save us from ourselves next time.

With that in mind and a new year coming tomorrow, I'd thought it'd be a fun exercise to make some New Year's resolutions as Nebraska fans. While there will be plenty of time for retrospectives and analysis on the 2012 Nebraska football season later, this isn't about what Bo Pelini can do in 2013 and beyond.

No, this is about you and I, the fans. There has been a somewhat toxic atmosphere around the team this season, earned or not. And while we should be able to adjust on the fly and become better people without arbitrary calendar dates and so forth, we hold a great reverence for calendars and the New Year stands as a powerful symbol of renewal and reinvention.

So as a fun little exercise, I'll ask how you resolve to be a better fan of Nebraska athletics in the coming year. If you have other New Year's resolutions you'd like to share, feel free to share those below as well.

Two things:

  • First, I said Nebraska ATHLETICS, so not just football. (Cop out and say you'll watch one Nebrasketball game or something.)
  • Second, this is not about Bo Pelini. NOT ABOUT BO PELINI. Not about Bo Pelini. Or his staff. We'll cover that in the coming weeks.)

I'll hold each and everyone of you to them. You'll owe me one article about how awesome Ross Els or Barney Cotton are for every infraction.

I'm kidding there. I won't make you write that many articles. Just one.

For myself, other than becoming more dependable in delivering links to all of you, I'm going to be less aggressive towards the Negative Nancies.

Oh, and I want to run a half-marathon this fall.

Capital One Bowl

It all comes down to a major failure in the recruitment approach of the program over the last five years. While there are some prognosticators who indicate that the classes of 2012 and 2013 should turn out better, it means lean years on the depth chart while those players grow into their roles.

As for the Big Ten's affiliation with the Citrus Bowl, I think the biggest problem for Orlando is the cost of travel for the Big Ten teams, not the dumpiness of the stadium. (As I understand it, the Rose Bowl isn't exactly a beauty either.) The proximity to DisneyWorld is great for "things to do" but it also jacks up the price of flying into that airport for the average fan, especially during the holiday season. Without any sort of discount on air travel, it's almost a non-starter for the majority of Big Ten fans under the current economic environment.

I only live eight hours away and I can't justify the expenses. That's why the new playoff system is stupid and that's why bowls will always be poorly attended corporate exhibitions.

Finally...when did the muzzles come off on the assistants? And why are they being so aggressive with the media?

I really hope Nebraska's focus is real this time.

An excellent review of Nebraska's offense from Smart Football. Nebraska is going to have to find a discipline they haven't shown all season to find a win on Tuesday.

The fact that the Gator Bowl, Outback Bowl and Heart of Dallas Bowl are all on at the same time is evidence enough that the Big Ten needs to reassess their bowl arrangement.

Don't get too excited about Murray's pocket presence - their offensive line is pretty decent and we're still starting a DE at DT.

Tomorrow's game will require Nebraska to play out of their minds. This is the toughest game of Bo Pelini's tenure, hands down.

Yes, teams are thin at this point. But most teams playing a defense whose success is dictated by the defensive line playing their gaps don't have to play two defensive ends at tackle to fill up holes in the roster. And with Bradley being chased away from Nebraska by family concerns, it seems unlikely for Nebraska to pick up two JUCO DT commits.

"They still have their opportunities to kind of go out and do some things," he (Bo Pelini) added. "But I’ve noticed you see a lot more guys in the hotel earlier as the week goes on. Curfews a lot earlier (Saturday night). … They know the game’s right around the corner now."

Oh, I assure you Florida fans will be watching other games. Nebraska's dismantling of Spurrier's Gators in the 1996 Fiesta Bowl and Georgia being Georgia are more than enough reason to hate this game.

But if forced to choose, Florida Gators will be singing "There is No Place like Nebraska".

My co-workers here at CN answered some questions for our new friends at Dawgsports. Go check them out!

Georgia Bulldogs

Our first opponent of 2013 - who are these Dawgs anyway?

Interesting comparison between how Georgia could respond and how Nebraska could respond to the injury bug on the defensive roster.

No changes on their offensive line so scratch that off as a possible source of distraction for the Dawgs.

These days the hot-seat questions are about the other coach. On Saturday, a Nebraska writer asked Georgia head coach Mark Richt to weigh in on being criticized and how to handle it, alluding to some criticism that Bo Pelini is receiving. Richt said the normal sort of thing about trusting the program's overall plan.

As a follow-up, Richt was asked if he instructs his coaches to stay away from message boards. "No, I don’t tell them," Richt said. "They’re grown men, they can decide what they want to."

I don't think we should expect a distracted Bulldog squad on Tuesday.

Curious to see how much Georgia goes to their other freshman RB Marshall - I suspect it depends on how Gurley performs.

Georgia is the oldest public institution in the country so they're bound to have some traditions. Why don't you check them out for yourself, if you haven't already?

Hopefully SEC pride proves to be more hubris than help.

Dawgsports calls for Georgia partisans to black out the Capital One. Hopefully enough Nebraska and Florida partisans show up to make it a healthy mix of Red and Black.

UNL Football

With a big off-season, we could see Jean-Baptiste and Evans locking down the passing game next fall.

A justified increase in expenses. If only we could have a similar story for Papuchis' performance.

Unless Nebraska scraps the two-gap, I don't see much soul-searching happening on the defense. With several athletic linebackers and a couple of linemen sitting out this season for redshirts or medical issues, this defense should be far improved next fall. If anything, Nebraska should be focused on locking down some depth for the years to come.

When he becomes a high school coach, maybe he'll funnel players to Nebraska.

A few months ago, we shared the fundraiser with you. And now Budge Porter has a new home.

Recruiting is not for the faint of heart. That being said, some people like their families and we can't begrudge Bradley for doing his due diligence.


ATTN UNL Freshmen, currently in the midst of putting on the Freshman 15 and willing to go higher:

Are you interested in eternal glory? Are you a warm, living human body? Do you like football? Are you insanely strong AND/OR clever? If you answered yes to all of those questions, please consider coming out for the UNL AMERICAN FOOTBALL CLUB SPORT TEAM, sanctioned by the NCAA. We compete at the Division 1A-BCS level and are currently seeking bodies to help fill our needs at DEFENSIVE TACKLE.

Please apply for membership at One Memorial Stadium, Lincoln NE.

  • Oh, and I posed a question yesterday that I'd like some clarification on:

Tom Osborne

Q: What advice would you give Nebraska fans for the future?

A: By and large our fans are probably as well-educated and well-behaved as you're going to find and reasonably patient. I think if you look around the country, if you have a coach who can win eight, nine and 10 games a year, pretty consistently, you probably should hang with that guy a long time, because there's going to be some years where you jump and be 11-1 or 12 and 13-0.

A fantastic tribute to a great Nebraskan. Thanks, Tom.

The LJS throws down a beautiful longform piece on Tom Osborne. Just be careful, it's rather graphics heavy and might bog down some computers.

These are pretty much requirements for the athletic steward at Nebraska. Eichorst has a huge responsibility awaiting him. Best of luck.


The wins get tougher from here on out.

Big Ten Football

I don't like this. I rather like Iowa being stuck with Kirk until 2020.

Also, I don't see Kirk taking the job. He just brought one of his sons on as a coach and another of them is a redshirt freshman at Iowa. He has job security. Why risk all that for a possibly very short NFL career at Kansas City?

The difference between the 2009 Cornhuskers and the 2012 Spartans? We never allowed our offense to "try". Steel balls, Dantonio. Steel balls.

But hey, they got the Big Ten a bowl win against one of the stronger conferences of the season, so there's that.

National News

If Oregon State ran the ball, today would be a better day.

Texas' talent finally shows up at a critical point in a football game. Will this carry over into 2013? Probably not.

Great job by Solich at Ohio. Does Iowa go after Frank if Kirk leaves for the NFL?

What's sad is this was one of the most successful run plays of the day.

Everything is on your terms when you're winning. If Shaw only hits 14 wins over the last two seasons, you can bet the house that he has an agent.

TAKE THIS AT PURE ENTERTAINMENT VALUE. That being said, the Gruden rumors are priceless.


Check back in throughout today as we finish our prep work for tomorrow's bowl game and join us in today's open threads for the last bowl games of 2012.

And for those of you heading out to ring in the New Year, take care and make smart choices. We want to see you in 2013!


-Salt Creek and Stadium

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