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Corn Nation: It’s An Actual GAME WEEK Roundtable!

What does the Corn Nation staff see in store for the 2020 season?

Ohio State v Nebraska Photo by Steven Branscombe/Getty Images

Before getting down to the game with Ohio State lets get some thoughts about the season coming up as a whole.

You wake up on Saturday morning a few hours before kickoff against Ohio State. What are you thinking? What are you feeling? What’s for breakfast?

Brian J: I’m feeling good, I’ve got my Monster Ultra Sunrise and a Jimmy Dean’s sausage biscuit sandwich. We have Husker football and this team has added a bunch of pieces that could really lead to a successful season.

Patrick: I am getting a haircut. Probably thinking about said haircut. Felling like it’s time to get a haircut. I’m guessing eggs for breakfast.

Nate M: Excited to get some questions answered to a certain extent. I don’t eat breakfast so that will have to wait. Depending on the game I might not have lunch.

Andy: Just hoping to pick up the iPad and Saturday sports sections and see a chunk of our starters are inactive due to “undisclosed medical reasons”. Also, to read Urban Meyer was assaulted by a gang of escaped zoo chimps and beaten senseless by a confused game warden. Yeah, I know he’s not in Columbus anymore and I don’t care.

Jll: My kybrd is brkn. Cn’t typ vwls. Wll fx sn. Brkfst shld b prtn flld. Bcky’s hv prtn, rght?

Mike: Not taking a lot of time to eat, so it’s probably some sort of Sugar Frosted Bombs and milk.

Bri: I’m ready to go. Getting my game day food ready and wondering how early it’s acceptable to crack open a beer. Let’s get this show on the road.

Jon: Coffee. Maybe in a fruit smoothie. With some kale and spinach and a scoop of powdered protein.

Great answers! Now how are you feeling about the season as a whole?

Brian J: As I whole I feel pretty confident in this season. We have two quarterbacks that are capable of success, added weapons on offense and a team that is hungry to go out and make an impact. I believe that the Big Ten West is down from previous years and the Husker have a shot to finish towards the top.

Patrick: Still wondering if we should be playing football in the first place. I’m about 50/50 on that right now. I hope OSU doesn’t blow us out along with other teams.

Nate M: It really depends on the day. I feel excited that this is going to be the year we turn things around, but there are also plenty of reasons to expect the same ole thing that we have been getting.

Andy: Besides the fact it’s dumb to be playing it but money talks and of course I’ll watch it anyway? Not so bad, thanks for asking.

Seriously, I get the vibe the coaches think they may be sitting on the breakout year as messed up as it is, but are keeping quiet about it. I also won’t buy in till I see it happen. Anything from 2-6 to 7-1 is on the table.

Jll: Nt typng vwls z hrd. Cvrng tght nds z hrd. My kybrd wll b fxd qckr thn hskrz.

Mike: I agree with Andy; Nebraska and Ohio State want to play this season for a reason. It’s a rough schedule, drawing the two big dawgs from the east. I’m leaning towards 5-3 for a record. And I do agree with Patrick that while Nebraska probably has good football reasons for pushing to play, it may not be a good thing for the campus to do this.

Bri: A little nervous, but mostly hopeful. This could be the year we see things click.

Jon: Like we are going to do better than nearly anyone thinks. Scott (we’re on a first name basis) has had time to build some depth. I feel like we’ll be rowing the boat all in the same direction this season.

What about this football team fills your heart with joy and hope for the 2020 Nebraska football season?

Brian J: I’m very anxious to see the added weapons on offense. If Omar Manning is healthy and motivated he may be the best receiver we’ve had in years. Mix in Alante Brown at receiver, Travis Vokelek at tight end and depth at running back gives the offense the firepower it needs.

Patrick: It seems like the coaches and players are all on the same page. I like team unity and positive energy and that’s what seems to be coming from this years squad. If they believe, they will achieve.

Nate M: The offensive line and the secondary. Depth at inside linebacker is getting better I believe. The quarterback situation makes me feel pretty good as well.

Andy: Mainly two things - 1) the roster seems to have been purged of the last of the commitment-challenged, training-optional crowd (Riley lovers feel free to howl - sprinkles & gold stars to the loudest!) and 2) the line play down the stretch last year

Jll: Cn Hzkrs fx cmptr trbl? My hrt wld B flld wth hpe n jy wth kybrd tht typz vwlls.

Mike: Andy nailed most of it, but I’ll point to one more thing that Brian touched on. For as pass-happy of a coach that Mike Riley was, his recruiting of receivers was borderline negligent. I think we’re going to see a huge upgrade in the offense now that Frost has restocked the roster at that position.

Bri: I agree with Andy and Mike, we are now playing with a mostly Frost roster. There seems to be so much potential in many positions. I’m ready to see a couple players have a break out year.

Jon: Cameron Jurgens learned how to play center last year. We have 34 kickers, chances are at least one of them is pretty good. We have two seemingly capable quarterbacks. We have a good defensive secondary. And WE HAVE WILL.

What about this football team fills your head with grief and despair for the upcoming 2020 Nebraska football season?

Brian J: Pass rush. Since Randy Gregory left the Huskers have struggled to find a true edge rusher. Frost and the coaching staff focused on bringing true edge rushers at the outside linebacker position rather than just good coverage athletes. The secondary has speed and talent, but that won’t matter if opposing quarterbacks can sit and wait for their receivers to get open. Nebraska needs one or two of their newcomers to step up in a big way.

Patrick: The big thing that sits in the back of my mind is that this this program is a bigger project than anyone realized and is still a work in progress. Depth and talent is still in question across the board until the first snap. So, I hope this years team took enough of a step forward to pull off some quality wins.

Nate M: The wide receivers and the outside linebackers. I had a podcast published on Saturday about the wide receivers. It isn’t looking great and there is one big reason. Mike Riley.

Andy: The schedule is brutal. (Dry your eyes B1G, I’m not calling foul, it’s just the way it broke this year.) Also, is this the year we finally get that needed signature win which let’s everyone believe all the work is worth it and the mental barrier is finally cracked? In Year 4, it’s time to find a way and break through. If I can take the negative question and throw a positive spin at it?

Man...we’re gonna have a lot of opportunities.

Jll: Hzkrz hv sckd 4 yrs. Grf cmz wth Hzkrz ftbll.

Mike: I’ll agree with the worries about the defensive line. I’m hoping NU is on the right path here, but we’re going to have to start seeing some progress here.

Bri: I also have some concerns about the defense. I feel like we lost a lot more on our line that we did on offense. I’m not sure who’s ready to step into those positions.

Jon: Not a fucking thing. Despair? Fuck that shit.

What player or two is going to surprise Nebraska football fans in a good way? Or who might surprise us in a bad way?

Brian J: With all of the struggles that Adrian Martinez had during his sophomore season, it cause many to forget how talented he was as a true freshman and the potential he had. With an off season to refocus and get healthy he has an opportunity to have a breakout season. Omar Manning is someone that we are all hoping can become a huge impact player for the Huskers. But he’s missed time with injuries and there is rumor and innuendo of unhappiness. Nebraska has been cursed before with talented skill players failing to live up to hype or leaving before even playing. As optimistic as I am about Manning, we’ve been here before.

Patrick: Either Adrian for the reasons above or Omar Manning. The information coming out of camp regarding the receiver is not the most encouraging in regards to his health and ability to play. So, he could either come out and be a game changer or nothing at all.

Nate M: I think Levi Falck could be the surprise of the season. That would definitely make me feel better about that position group. He had 11 catches and 140 yards against Kansas State while he was at South Dakota so he definitely has the ability. On the bad side, Omar Manning could be the real deal but if you aren’t at practice then it doesn’t matter.

Andy: I’ll go with Adrian as likely to surprise just due to the way folks tur ned against him last year. From injuries to snaps to lack of competition and - to make no excuses - his mental approach. And if Frost chose him as a starter, then he truly is QB1 despite us fans screaming a more talented backup should be in there is a Husker exercise as old as the wishbone itself.
I’m going to pass on picking a disappointment. Sitting under the peak of Mt. Sopris, I just don’t have the heart today.

Jll: Ny1. Plz.

Mike: While I remain convinced that Adrian Martinez’s 2019 struggles were primarily not his fault (injuries and inconsistent receiver play), I do find it interesting that the coaches aren’t downplaying Luke McCaffrey. I think this combo is going to be a strength this season.

Bri: 2018 Martinez is coming back.

Jon: Surprise us? The defense. If they play average against the run, that’ll be a surprise, won’t it? There are no bad surprises. Expectations are low. Maybe the bad surprise will be when the joy-stealing doomsayers show up after the Ohio State loss and tell us all how bad a coach Scott Frost is because they’re miserable and they want everyone else to be miserable.

What is your prediction for Nebraska’s record after that first four game onslaught against Ohio State, Wisconsin, NW and Penn State?

Brian J: 3-1. I like Nebraska’s chances for the second half of the season. They may take some lumps early, but the talent is there and they can use it as a learning experience to finish the season strong.

Patrick: Until I see these players on the field, I’m going to be cautious. So, if they play well against OSU then I will most likely change my view. right now, 1-3. Nebraska could have the right horses to pull off at best 3-1 but at this point I am not so sure.

Nate M: 1-3. I think we should be happy with that record. If we go 0-4 then it might be rough.

Andy: 1-3 but in a weird way - We get that upset of OSU or Wiscy-dick but then fully infected by a strain of Coivd-95We’reBackBaby, fall to Northwestern. If that happens, I think the second half is the type which sees us going bowling.

Jll: Wn thm ll! jst kddng. Cn’t rd my typng.

Mike: 2-2, with a punchers chance of much better. We’ve seen a lot of craziness this season, so I’m not going to be fatalistic. NU will beat NW and get a home win against Wisconsin or Penn State.

Bri: 2-2, I’m not sure which two games will be wins or which two will be losses. I am going with Northwestern as a win, I’m just not sure which of the other three we will get the best of.

Jon: 2-2

Finally, what is your season record prediction assuming every single game gets played?

Brian J: 5-3. The Ohio State and Penn State games are going to be tough to get wins. Outside of those two opponents I think Nebraska has a great shot to win. The West Division teams are trending down in my opinion while the Huskers are pointed in the right direction. I believe the Huskers do drop one more game and that will either be to Wisconsin or Minnesota. But I don’t see them losing both.

Patrick: 4-4. I can see the Iowa or Minnesota games going either way right now.

- Ohio State - L

- Wisconsin - L

- Northwestern - W

- Pennsylvania State - L

- Illinois - W

- Iowa - W

- Purdue - W

- Minnesota - L

Nate M: Assuming we start 1-3, then I can see us finishing out 5-3 with four straight wins. Will that be enough to win the division?

Andy: Crap, I answered that above, sort of. 4-4. Upset of one of the first two, upset by Northwestern, loss to Penn St, 3-1 finish with loss to Purdue and upset of Minnesota who come too cocky after whupping up on the MASH unit last year.

Jll: 4-4 wld B prgrss. Cn’t prdct mr n-tl kybrd fxd.

Mike: Yeah, Andy, so did I. So I’ll elaborate on 5-3. Nebraska will lose to the east teams, but only drop one weird COVID game against the west. Could be Northwestern, could be Purdue.

Bri: 5-3

Jon: 6-2. We’re not losing to Minnesota again, Patrick, you dickhead.