I am pleading with the Cornhusker faithful about expectations for 2019.
With all the national top 20 predictions (and better) and winning the Big 10 West, I’m telling Husker fans not to drink the KOOL-AID!
We all know how the Solich era crashed in 2002-03, despite so many resources and taking over the top program in the country in 1998. Who could forget the 2007’s season preseason Top 10 ranking, Sam Keller and the goose egg Oklahoma State gave us?
Or how about Bo saying, “Nebraska’s back” after blanking a good Pac- 10 team in a bowl game, but then Bo got mad at the world and was a part-time coach his last few years.
And then the latest hype-fest with the Huskers in 2017 with Tanner Lee’s “big” arm and DC Bob Diaco’s big microphone-phobia (still one of the odder things I have ever seen).
So, forget drinking the Kool-Aid Husker fans in 2019…I’m telling you to SNORT that damn stuff, Dawg! Get turnt!
Snort it like tobacco snuff as NU has a 99.9% chance of winning 9+ games in 2019 as nearly ALL of “the markers” are there for a 9-10 win season.
Forget adding water, take the Kool-Aid granules straight from the round container and go to town like its 1995! (Or 1971, or 1970, or 1994, or 1997!)
And if NU gets some bounces, the Huskers could be in the 10-2 or 11-1 range, as they will likely be favored in all games come kick-off time, and could be playing for a CFP spot in the Big 10 title game.
Now Biblical bad luck happens (see 2018) but not two years in a row sucka! Fire up the t-shirt business!
There is a decent chance Nebraska ends up with 10+ wins and Wisconsin and Iowa fans are sitting around with five to six wins with coaches they know will never be fired because their ADs know who they are and they know they have limitations.
Why am I suggesting to take Kool-Aid this way?
Because in the college football realm when big jumps happen there are usually markers that it was coming like flatulence before…well, you get the idea.
Also, I added the percentages on the obvious markers.
*All-American Candidate at QB (33%)
Not real complex here, the most impactful position at quarterback has stud-boy in sophomore Adrian Martinez. He will improve from being one of the ten best players in the country in the second half of the season as a true freshman in 2019. He is on most Heisman pre-season lists making fans of other Big 10 teams fans pout as they realize NU is till relevant when they took one of the top recruits out of California over any SEC team that offered in December of 2017.
*Second year jump with new staff, new schemes, culture & strength/conditioning (25%)
Any coaching staff get this bump, let alone for one of the best coaching staffs in the country. People forget that when UCF went from 0-12 to 6-6 in 2017, the defense was seen as the stronger side of the ball after UCF’s horrid 2016 season. And yes, it is a big deal to go 12-0 versus the same level of programs and throw in two P5 teams, which included the SEC champ in Auburn. Also, Zach Duval is considered one of best S&C guys in the galaxy.
*A high number of first-year and non-senior starters/contributors in 2018 (20%)
Similar to the above but this is about the players specifically, same coach or not. NU was not a senior-laden squad in 2018, especially on defense. The Husker did lose some OLs and an RB and WR but nobody near the impact of Martinez. Also, you could consider RB Maurice Washington a starter, or JD Spielman as NU’s most dangerous WR last year anyway. However, RB Devine Ozigbo and WR Stanley Morgan were weapons last year and OLs Jerald Foster and Tanner Farmer did push some foo’s around last year.
*Weird 2018 gives highly inaccurate look at NU In 2018 (20%)
Usually season records don’t lie, but 2018 would be the expectation to that rule with the aforementioned “Biblical bad luck.”
Yes, on record Nebraska was 4-8, but it took loco events with getting a game cancelled, which greatly affected NU’s first month of the season, and then the Martinez injury with no second scholarship QB, which impacted two losses at least. All pie in the sky, but with a second ‘ship QB like 100% of other college teams, the Huskers hold on to beat Colorado and beat Troy handily. Let alone build momentum for two winnable games versus Purdue and Wisconsin, two teams that ended up 5-4 in the Big 10 in 2018.
*Quality losses (15%) (If you don’t like that term, you probably were known as a buzzkill at the two parties you went to in high school.)
When you lose games like NU lost in 2007 and 2017, hope is not easy to come by. However, when you lose games like Nebraska did in 1998 or 2018, except Michigan, it gives you the “If we can just get a bounce,” feeling.
Yeah kids, I got a feeling…
*An impact grad transfer and JUCO on the DL (10%)
If grad transfer Darrion Daniels and junior college transfer Jahkeem Green both start and play at close to all conference levels, I reserve the right to make a better NU prediction.
But to get as lucky as Wisconsin did with Russel Wilson’s grad transfer or NU with Randy Gregory or Lavonte David right off the bat, seems a longshot. But they would really change the look of the defense.
However, the Davis brothers, the younger Daniels and Ben Stille were gonna cause a ruckus up-front anyway, even if Daniels and Green never showed up being mostly fourth and fifth year guys in second year with a new staff/scheme.
Related a bit is the linebackers.
In 2019, NU looks to starts All Big 10 candidate Mohamed Berry, JoJo Domann, 2017 JUCO star Will Honas and Colin Miller. Those boys could end up one of the top two or three LB units in the Big 10.
In their favor right now, besides experience, will be speed/quickness with converted safety Domann at OLB and converted OLB Miller at ILB with making reads and then delivering a blow.
(Yes, right now I’m like Lloyd Bridges in “Airplane” sniffing dat glue!)
It’s possible for NU’s front seven on the D to be mauling Big 10 teams come October with the DL infusion, LB jump and DC Erik Chinander doing their thing with people pointing to the defense almost as much as the offense for the Husker turnaround from 2017.
Not a cakewalk line-up, like a schedule lowa has had now and again by design with no traditional top 40 program in non-con and then a light Big 10 set-up. Jim Delaney knows nobody around the country is saying “Gee…I’m itching to see Iowa play Ohio State and Michigan!”
But The Huskers have a slightly less than regular level of toughness in their 2019 schedule. They only face 1 of 3 Big 10 East teams with the most resources and it is at home. And they have the top two West contenders at home in Wisconsin and Northwestern. And no, the top two contenders does not include Purdue. It’s still Purdon’t to me.
Some years you should be bullish on your squad and this is one to be that for Husker fans.
Lastly, just stop with the trite “You have to beat Iowa and Wisconsin before you can talk Big 10 titles.” That is like aiming to date a “7” on the “10” scale. Get after that hottie you keep telling yourself that is looking at you at the bar or across the cubicle!
And this goes for a guy, girl or a bitter Badger (like my doggie-dog, Big Cat.)
Life is too short for modest goals, especially for a blue blood like the flippin Nebraska Cornhuskers, the only program, Alabama, Notre Dame and UCF included, to have played in a National Championship-type game in every completed decade since the 1960s.
Finally, because that comes after lastly, if it doesn’t add up to 100%, you get the general idea folks.
Call a Geometry teacher or sumthin’ and get that formula where you get the calculator out and then add and then subtract to get percentages. While Martinez is biggest piece of it, many other reasons to see a big 2019 for Nebraska. Even if the Boy Wonder from San Jose misses some games, NU still getting 8 dubs.
A media note…I will again be doing a weekly radio show in Omaha with one of the guys mentioned on those 1998 and 1999 Husker teams in All-Big 12 and NFL vet Jeremy Slechta on “The Cornhusker Insider” on BOOMER RADIO on their AM/FM signals simultaneously.
I started doing these seasonal shows in 2002 with Matt Davison and the knock-off Husker seasonal shows have followed like rappers trying to be the next Vanilla Ice. Other “Cornhusker Insider” hosts have included Tommie Frazier, Aaron Taylor, Rob Zatechka and Zach Potter.
Also, you can see the show in person. We will be live every Saturday at Starsky’s Bar and Grill on 78th and F from 10am to 11am, so come out for food, the college football games and meet some former Huskers as every week we will have an ex-player guest on the show in addition to Slechta.
All “the trophy” guys have been guests before on shows I have done, except Ndamukong Suh, so check social media the week of the game if you are looking for great Husker autographs.
Starsky’s is a family sports bar with quality XL portion-sizes that mean it will be finished the next day, unless Fred Pollack or Adam Julch is with you. They have unique items like Pig Wings and Cornnuts that I will NOT be trying.
The radio show will be on 1420AM/94.5 FM and the first show is Aug. 31. Also, another CornNation.com staffer will join us on-site or by phone weekly at the south central-ish Omaha sports bar to preview that day’s Cornhusker win, or game, I should say.
I wouldn’t want to sound bias or nuttin’.