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Improbable Expectations for Husker Football Can Be Found Everywhere Except in Nebraska

It is unusual for national expectations to exceed local expectations

Big Ten Football Media Days

The national media cannot seem to help themselves. They continue to place expectations on this Nebraska season that I feel are at a level which is setting Nebraska up to fail in Scott Frost’s second season.

If national expectations for Nebraska’s 2019 season continue to rise at this rate then we should expect a member of the national media to say that Nebraska will win three National Championships in 2019 by the time Nebraska plays South Alabama on August 31st. I’m joking of course, but I hope you get my point.

The latest comes from Dan Orlovsky, an ESPN College Football analyst, on Get Up . As reported by Brad Crawford of 24/7 Sports:

Former NFL quarterback turned college football analyst Dan Orlovsky believes the preseason Big Ten West favorites are a legitimate national championship contender this fall, acknowledging Nebraska as his darkhorse Playoff pick during Wednesday’s appearance on Get Up!.

”Give me the frosted tips of the Nebraska Cornhuskers, they’re back,” Orlovsky said, before Booger McFarland picked Texas and Marcus Spears landed on Oregon. “They started 0-6 last year, but in that start, they had four really close games that ended up being losses. They’re quarterback, Adrian Martinez, should be on the short list for the Heisman Trophy, 2,400 yards passing, 800 rushing. They got six starters back on defense.

”And guys — I don’t find a tough game on their schedule on the road. Ohio State comes into them, Iowa comes to them, Wisconsin comes to them. Folks, Nebraska can be a national College Football Playoff contender.”

If I were a player, coach or fan of another Big Ten program like Wisconsin or Iowa I would laugh. Here we go again. Nebraska getting preseason love from the national media.

I am looking forward to the year when Nebraska gets some postseason love.

In this moment I am reminded of comments from many of those in the national media about Nebraska fans’s unrealistic expectations for this football program. I vehemently disagree with that conclusion. We hear from Husker fans every single day about their various thoughts about the state of the program. If anything, the expectations in the state of Nebraska for upcoming football season starkly contrast to those of the national media.

This contrast is also reflected in our local media that covers Nebraska football. I expect the average prediction from our local writers and radio friends for this upcoming season will be in the seven to eight win range. When it comes to Nebraska fans, I expect the average prediction will be in the eight to nine win range when the season rolls around.

This morning I tweeted out the following poll and I believe the results are proving my point. That is, that unlike most fan bases, it appears that Nebraska fans have lower expectations for this upcoming season than some in the national media.

At the time of writing this, only 13% of respondents have expectations for a college football playoff or a conference championship.

It isn’t just Dan Orlovsky. Remember that Tim Brando dropped his top 10 for the upcoming season, and unlike most top 10s, this is where he believes things will be at the end of the season.

There are others, but unfortunately I do not compile them in a list for moments like seeing somebody pick us to possibly be a national title contender after winning eight games in two seasons.

During Big Ten Media Days, the Cleveland Plain Dealer published a poll by Big Ten media members which had Nebraska as the pick to win the division. Nebraska received 198 points while Iowa was in second place with 194.5. Both Nebraska and Iowa received 14 first place votes. Wisconsin was third with 172.5 points and last year’s division champion Northwestern was fourth with 142.5 points.

Picking Nebraska to win the division is not unrealistic nor improbable as the division race could be wide-open all season long. I actually have no problem with that result.

For what it is worth, my vote would probably go like this:

  1. Iowa
  2. Wisconsin
  3. Nebraska
  4. Minnesota

Scott Frost said they welcome the expectations but they need to earn them. I agree with the second part. I do not welcome the expectations. In fact, I would feel more comfortable if we had none. My comfort doesn’t matter of course. In a perfect world, these rising expectations would come after a season where we did something to earn it.

Winning four games in a season for the second season in a row does not earn it.

However, going 4-2 in the last six games during the hardest part of the schedule does say something. So does having Adrian Martinez running Scott Frost’s offense. I believe Martinez’s hype is warranted and earned. Also add a very favorable schedule especially when you compare it to the prior year.

The questions along the offensive line as well as a defense which was sub-par at best last season is why I think Nebraska will fall short of national expectations. However, meeting expectations from the local media and fans is a different story.

It will be quite the season.