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Explanations, Era by Era

treeplanter

Recruit
5 Year Member
Nebraska football lends itself into 4 separate, highly distinct and easily discernible eras:

1890 - 1940
51 yrs
The Huskers recorded just 3 losing seasons and ranked as the nation's 8th winningest program {73%}

1941 - 1961
21 yrs
The Huskers recorded a shocking 17 losing seasons and ranked dismally as the nation's 126th winningest program {36%}

1962 - 2003
42 yrs
The Huskers win 82% of their games vs just 75% for 2nd place Ohio St and secure 415 victories while co-#2 Alabama and Penn St manage only 366 ea

2004 - present
16 yrs and counting
The Huskers have slipped to winning at a rate of just 59% and rank behind no less than 37 other programs including such college football heavyweights as Toledo, Northern Illinois, Iowa, and Navy


I have my theories, but I'm interested in hearing what all of you have to say...

How and why did our Huskers fare as they have throughout each of these different eras?
 

treeplanter

Recruit
5 Year Member
I don't know, but I'd guess we had better administrators, coaches, and players during the years we were good.
We've had some great players over the years - no doubt about it, but I don't think there has ever been a time wherein we had the best overall talent in the country...do you?

Without doubt, at least as far as I am concerned, we DID enjoy the best overall coaching in all of college football from 1962 to 1997

Administration plays a part in success, to be sure, but it seems to me that a poor administration does more to harm a program than an adequate {or even good one} does to benefit it
 

Fort Husker

Recruit
Interesting stuff. I didn't realize NU won so regularly from 1890-1940.

I would say the third era ended 2001. I know it's all subjective but that was the end of the dynasty and the aura of invincibility. Though I know 2003 is viewed as the end of an era as we cut from the old guard that year.

I think it shows that Nebraska can't make due with an ordinary or good coach. It has to have a great coach to be great. Some schools can be great without an elite coach. Larry Coker won a title at Miami. Gene Chizik won a title at Auburn. Ohio State has great success no matter who's coaching.

I think that good coaches at NU have shown that they can get Nebraska to 9 wins a year but we need a great coach to win rings.
 

treeplanter

Recruit
5 Year Member
Interesting stuff. I didn't realize NU won so regularly from 1890-1940.

I would say the third era ended 2001. I know it's all subjective but that was the end of the dynasty and the aura of invincibility. Though I know 2003 is viewed as the end of an era as we cut from the old guard that year.

I think it shows that Nebraska can't make due with an ordinary or good coach. It has to have a great coach to be great. Some schools can be great without an elite coach. Larry Coker won a title at Miami. Gene Chizik won a title at Auburn. Ohio State has great success no matter who's coaching.

I think that good coaches at NU have shown that they can get Nebraska to 9 wins a year but we need a great coach to win rings.
Yeah, I've never crunched the numbers and I'm not even sure I would know how anyway, but I suspect that had the Huskers managed to be just mediocre as opposed to downright awful in the 40s and 50s then we might well have turned out to be the winningest program in the history of college football - at least, up through 2001 / 2003!

As to 01 rather than 03 marking the end of an era, you make a good point. That IS the year that we lost our mystique.

The Black Friday debacle was absolutely unprecedented throughout, what was to that point, 40 yrs of Devaney / Osborne / Solich football.

Never before, in those 4 decades, had Nebraska been blown out by anything less than a blue blood program i.e. {Oklahoma / Alabama} and/or a national championship level team i.e. {Miami, Florida St, 1990 Georgia Tech}

I think you are absolutely correct in that Nebraska needs a great coach in order to win championships.

Unfortunately, we never have and never will be able to recruit on par with our peers - at least, not on a consistent basis...
 

treeplanter

Recruit
5 Year Member
Strength and conditioning + steroids helped us a lot during phase 3.
The strength and conditioning program, of course, was a key component and huge part of the system that Nebraska rode to dominance in the Devaney / Osborne era, but I think the role that steroids may have played therein has been exaggerated.

Where performance enhancing drugs are concerned, I don't think anything that was happening in Lincoln didn't also happen in Norman and Tuscaloosa and South Bend and every other big time college football locale...

I might be wrong, but wasn't Nebraska, at the behest of Dr Tom, one of, if not the very 1st, school to implement mandatory testing for steroids?
 

Fort Husker

Recruit
The strength and conditioning program, of course, was a key component and huge part of the system that Nebraska rode to dominance in the Devaney / Osborne era, but I think the role that steroids may have played therein has been exaggerated.

Where performance enhancing drugs are concerned, I don't think anything that was happening in Lincoln didn't also happen in Norman and Tuscaloosa and South Bend and every other big time college football locale...

I might be wrong, but wasn't Nebraska, at the behest of Dr Tom, one of, if not the very 1st, school to implement mandatory testing for steroids?
Steroid use fizzled out at NU by the late 80's. There was a Sports Illustrated article about how it was reflected in the weight lifting numbers. So when people say steroids boosted the Huskers to their past heights, I'm like yea, in the 80's. But not the 90's.

NU was one of the first programs to use the Creatine supplement if memory serves. We were always on the vanguard of S&C. Now I don't know that there's anything people do that others don't know about.
 

Greatest Fan of All

The Legend
10 Year Member
I think it shows that Nebraska can't make due with an ordinary or good coach. It has to have a great coach to be great. Some schools can be great without an elite coach. Larry Coker won a title at Miami. Gene Chizik won a title at Auburn. Ohio State has great success no matter who's coaching.
The guys you mention, just like Frank Solich, inherited great players. Those players got them their NC's...Frank should've won one as well. You are right that great coaching is what you want, but that applies to every program.
 
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Fort Husker

Recruit
The guys you mention, just like Frank Solich, inherited great players. Those players got them their NC's...Frank should've won one as well. You are right that great coaching is what you want, but that applies to every program.
That's true. My point is just that I think it's a little harder to win at Nebraska than a school like Miami or Auburn so we can't make due with a good coach. I think we've seen some pretty mediocre coaches win big at schools where it's easier to win. Tommy Tuberville is another example. Had a 12-0 season at Auburn but couldn't do jack at Texas Tech or Cincinnati afterwards. Nebraska needs its next Osborne or Devaney. I'm hoping Frost is that guy.
 
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